Online Casino Scrutiny > Casino Strategy > October 2007

Blackjack Strategy - Introduction to the Simple Blackjack Strategy

It's common news that Blackjack is a card game that offers a pretty good chance of winning some money in the casino. Back in the day when the MIT Blackjack Team first hit the scene, card counting became the secret weapon for countless blackjack players. Remember Dustin Hoffman as Rain Man? He likes to buy his underwear at K-Mart, right? He also has a photographic memory. The scene where Tom Cruise takes him to the casino and they bring down the House playing blackjack is actually not that far-fetched. They definitely dramatized it for the screen, but the fact remains that card counting can actually give the player favor over the casino.

That was the 80's. Casinos have since found a way around card counting. Automatic card shufflers - the norm at online casinos - have essentially made it impossible for any advantage to be gained from card counting. The next best thing is the Basic Blackjack Strategy, which can still get the House Edge down lower than any other strategy for any other game.

If you've seen a basic strategy card (those little color-coded cards that tell you what moves you should make depending on what cards you and the dealer have been dealt), you are no doubt aware the basic blackjack strategy is really not that basic to somebody never having used it before. If you've lost a few brain cells over the years like myself, becoming a master at the strategy is definitely 'gonna take some time. The good news is that no amount of algebra, trigonometry or rocket science is required. It's just memorization. Repeated practice is the key. And a strategy card is a great reference tool while you get the strategy in your blood. But you will eventually want to take your training wheels off and ditch the card. If you don't, then you will use it as a crutch. Besides, you're not going to pull out your card sitting at a blackjack table in a Vegas casino. Playing online blackjack is a little different, because you can't count the cards with online casinos. The same basic blackjack strategy applies, you just can;t increase your wagers under favorable situations.

As much as some of us would like a crutch or two (especially those of us who continue to lose brain cells on a regular basis), I have found that really understanding why the card says to Stand or Hit on any particular hand combination gives me greater confidence and focus. There's no second-guessing myself. I do that enough in my relationships. Why do it when money is on the line?  The thing to remember is that really being a master of the blackjack strategy takes an understanding of the odds. So don't think you are going to become a master overnight. Unless you're Dustin Hoffman or slightly autistic, you're 'gonna need some patience. If you want to learn basic blackjack strategy, lot's of players advise to start off with the "simple strategy". It's a toned down version of the full thing and only requires a limited amount of memorization. Mastering the full strategy later will be that much easier.

So, here is what I propose: I am going to layout the steps for the Simple Strategy, put it to the test myself and report back - in true journalistic form - of my conquers, defeats and the amount of mixed beverages I take down during the process. The challenge is on. Without further ado, here is the Simple Online Blackjack Strategy.

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