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Why is it Important to Learn the Basic Strategy Chart in Blackjack?
The simple answer to this question is that by memorizing the basic strategy chart, you increase your chances of ending any session in the winning column. The basic strategy in blackjack reduces the house’s advantage to about one half of one percent.
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Avoiding Sham Betting Systems
One of the biggest mistakes some online casino blackjack players make is to follow the sham betting systems or strategies. Two such strategies are to play as the dealer would play and to double your bet after every loss.
There is absolutely no reason to imitate the dealer’s forced plays when you go first. Some of the rules that apply to the dealer’s play are there to increase the player’s chances of winning. For instance, the dealer has to hit on 16 points.
Now, we know that 16 points is by far the worst hand the player can have because there is such a high likelihood that he or she will bust if they hit. The same applies to the dealer; 16 points is also the worst hand the dealer can get for exactly the same reason. So, since the player goes first, it makes no sense in most cases to hit with 16 points. Let the dealer do so and bust instead!
Mathematicians have proved that betting systems don’t work. However, if you have enough bankroll to cover a long string of losses in a row, you might be able to use a betting system to break even after a long gaming session. Breaking even is fine as far as it goes but these betting systems are always sold as surefire ways to win every time.
That they are not!
Additionally, a betting system such as the Martingale that tells you to double your bet after a loss can only work when you are making 1-1 bets. The bets in blackjack are never 1-1 bets in the sense that you have to make a decision on every hand. Since, no two hands are the same, doubling your bet after a loss in blackjack is a good way to lose a lot of money in a gaming session.
Basic blackjack strategy means that if you use it correctly, you’ll lose about one half of one percent of your total wagers in an average session and with just a smidgen of luck, you’ll come out ahead.
The Chart is Too Hard to Learn
This is the biggest reason most blackjack players don’t make the extra effort to learn the basic blackjack strategy chart. Since they don’t take the time to learn the basic strategy, these players are prone to many gambling mistakes which will increase the house’s edge against them.
The chart is not too hard to learn!
It is true that the chart is too hard to learn in one sitting. It takes more than just a casual look to get at the depth of strategy embedded in the chart. Now, a lot of blackjack players have read every Harry Potter book. We are willing to wager that very few people could read a single volume in one sitting!
A lot of blackjack players binge watch television series. We are willing to wager that no one has binge-watched an entire series in one sitting!
A lot of blackjack players drive cars. We are willing to wager that no one’s driving instructor said that the student was ready for the road after one driving session!
Yes, there are a lot of things that take time to learn, we take the time to learn them, and then we know them usually forever.
In fact, there are deep psychological benefits to learning something as mundane as the blackjack strategy chart. The most significant of these benefits is the increased self-confidence we have when we have mastered the chart.
When a person’s self-confidence goes up dramatically, they exude a sense that something special has happened to them.
The increased self-confidence can have a beneficial work effect as well. A person who seems to have developed a stronger sense of accomplishment may seem the better candidate to take on a big project at work. The increased knowledge that one can learn minute details may make it possible for a worker to volunteer to take on a big project where before that same employee may have shied away from taking on the responsibility of heading a team.
How to Learn the Chart
This is not elementary school memorization for its own sake. There are no teachers to test you on how well you’ve learnt the material. So, you can learn the chart at your own pace.
You also must not start in the top left-hand corner and memorize dry row after dry row. Heaven forfend that you might do this. In the monumental book, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” the teacher was teaching composition to junior college students in a small town in a large state in the American West. This is a 20th century story, not a Wild West story.
One young woman could not begin her writing assignment which was to write about her town. In tears, she went to the teacher who told her to sit in front of the courthouse and to begin by focusing on the top left brick above the mantel. She wrote thousands of words and had no idea how it all happened.
So starting at the top left does help in some situations but not in the task of learning the blackjack strategy chart!
Tips for Learning the Strategy Chart
- Use a deck of cards and the chart in tandem.
- Layout a hand as it appears in the chart. Decide how you would play this hand and then compare your answer to the chart. If the chart tells you a different course of action, write down that specific example for further research.
- Go through the chart hand by hand. In the end, you will have played every possible combination of hands. At that point, you will be well on your way to recognizing the best playing strategy for any hand that might come up.
- Do not memorize. See the cards directly and decide for yourself what you should do.
You will notice that there is a large set of possible hands that always seem to give you difficulty. These are usually when the dealer may have you beat if she has a 10-point card hidden. It may also happen when the dealer is showing 2 or 3 points.
You need to understand the chart, not memorize it. To that end, we recommend that you do some online research on the basic strategy chart. The internet is great for many things amongst them this type of research. You needn’t stay on any site that purports to explain the logic behind the chart but in reality, doesn’t do so.
Go on to the next site. There are several very good sites that explain in simple terms the logic behind the chart. Then you will be able to play online blackjack with complete confidence.