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What promised/rumored Las Vegas attraction that never happened... [Continued]





Blackjack

(return to complete list of casino games)

Which game is best for the player? Ask anyone with even a mild interest in gambling and they will probably tell you, 'Blackjack.' After all, everyone knows that 'playing the basics' will get you even with the casino. But what exactly are the basics? Ask 100 players and you'll probably get 100 different answers, which suggests that a lot of people are playing blackjack in a less than optimal manner. You see, for a given set of rules and number of decks, there is one and only one correct way to play any hand versus each of the 13 possible dealer up cards. These plays are delineated in a set of rules known as basic strategy. How important is basic strategy? It provides the means to reduce, and in some cases eliminate, the casino's advantage at blackjack.

The level to which basic strategy reduces the house edge depends on the rules and number of decks being used in the game. All other things being equal, the fewer the number of decks, the lower the house edge. Normally single and double deck games have rules les favorable than 6-deck games to make up for this difference. Most casinos have a house edge between 0.30% and less with basic strategy. There are some single and double deck games in Vegas that only pay 6 to 5 on blackjacks instead of the customary 3 to 2. These games have a significantly higher house edge. Stay away from those tables.

While the casino's advantage for slots and other table games runs anywhere from 1.5%-25%, in blackjack you can get it down to below 1% with basic strategy. In the best games (single deck, dealer stands on soft 17), you can actually play even with the house.

You must play basic strategy perfectly. An approximation won't do, as you'll see.

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