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# Winning at Blackjack

21 January 2012

Why is it that the house always seems to win at blackjack? The fact is the house does have an advantage over the player when it comes to blackjack, just like most of the games in the casino. But there are some things a player can do to overcome that house edge. Here are a couple of facts and strategies that might help you the next time to do better when you play blackjack.

Fact: The house always has an edge.

Response: The house does have a small edge over the player; the reason is the dealer plays his hand last. Look at it this way. If all the players bust, the dealer is an automatic winner. The rule is all the players must play out their hands before the dealer plays out her hand. That is really the only advantage the house has. However, this advantage can be reduced to less than one percent, if, and it's a big if, the player plays the correct strategy. Here is one way to look at it. Mathematically if you were to play 100 hands of blackjack, the house would win 51 and you would win 49. Again, the reason is the house plays last. (Yes, there will be some ties, but let's keep to simple basic theory for this example).

Fact: You can win against the house if you play correctly.

Response: Remember, you can split, but the dealer can't. You can double down, but the dealer can't do that either. You get a bonus when you get a blackjack, the normal payout is 3 for 2, but the dealer only gets 1 to 1 when he or she gets a blackjack. What happens is you can win more money on the 49 hands that you win and lose less on the 51 hands that you lose. That is why you must split 8s and double on 11 even when the dealer has a 10 showing. That is basic strategy and you have to play that way each and every hand, even if you or your fellow players don't always agree. When the odds are in your favor, such as your 11 versus a dealer's 10, you want to get more money on the table. When the odds are against you, you would want to avoid doubling or splitting.

Fact: It takes more than basic strategy to win at blackjack.

Response: That is true; however, there are some things you can do without being a card counter. You can move from table to table if things are not going well. You can start at a new table with small bets to judge how "hot" the dealer might be or how hot you are. If you're not getting good hands -- move! If you are getting good ones, increase the size of your bet. The house plays 24/7, but you don't, so you should take advantage of streaks. We don't always know why they happen, but we should be alert for them and take quick action to ride with it when they do appear.

Fact: Card counters can always beat the house.

Response: By counting cards the player can gain a great advantage over the house; however, it is still based on odds. In a given situation you can have a large advantage with a good hand, but it is not a 100 percent edge. For example, let's say you have an 80 percent chance of winning a specific hand, but that still leaves a 20 percent chance that you won't win. Card counting is not a foolproof system. It is very powerful, but streaks affect basic strategy players and card counters.

Blackjack is a fun and exciting game in the casino. It can even be profitable providing you play and wager the correct way. Learn about the various rules and strategies and you will certainly do better than the player sitting next to you.

Bet You Didn't Know

• It's been found that most dealers know less about the game than a player who has read a good book about blackjack and knows basic strategy.
• The proper name for the game is "21"; the name "blackjack" was only added as slang in the early 1920s.
• A blackjack player in a casino can expect to play anywhere from 60 to 100 hands an hour depending on the number of players at the table.
• In some European casinos additional players are allowed to make bets on a seated blackjack player's box. These additional players, four maximum, are forbidden to aid the seated player in any manner.
• Some people believe blackjack is as American as apple pie and baseball. The reason is the table is like a half of a pie and blackjack is said to have a first and third base.
• At one time, insurance at blackjack could be taken for any size bet, even higher than the original bet.
Recent Articles
Best of John Marchel
John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

#### John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

#### Books by John Marchel:

101 Casino Gambling Tips: Affordable Strategies & Techniques for Maximizing Profits & Reducing Loses
John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

#### John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

#### Books by John Marchel:

101 Casino Gambling Tips: Affordable Strategies & Techniques for Maximizing Profits & Reducing Loses