Blackjack is a very popular card game played in both live casinos and online. Here we will take a look at how different blackjack strategies affect the house edge, which is the proportion of money staked that is retained by the casino and which enlarges the casino bonus offers.
At the start of a game of blackjack the dealer shuffles the cards in an attempt to randomize the cards, however they are not really randomized in a live casino, as to do so would take at least seven riffle shuffles and there is never time to do. Of course in an online casino the cards are electronically shuffled and consequently we can assume that they are randomized. Generally in a live casino there are from one to eight decks which are shuffled together.
The players first place their bets and then the cards are dealt. Each player then attempts to improve his or her hand using some kind of strategy. When this has been completed it is the dealer’s turn to play; the dealer will always use a fixed strategy. Once the dealer has completed playing her hand all the bets will be settled.
The first blackjack strategy which aimed to optimize the return for the player was devised by a group of mathematicians, called the Baldwin Group, and was announced in 1956. When this was applied to a single deck of cards, it gave the player an edge of 0.1%. Note that this is a positive edge and this means that given sufficient time the players would always beat the casino.
Before the Baldwin strategy, the then recommended strategies gave the house an advantage of between 2% and 3%, so suddenly it looked as if the casinos were in trouble. They responded by increasing the number of decks that were used in the game as this had a significant effect on the house edge, and by modifying the rules slightly to their advantage;
Nowadays a slightly modified version of the Baldwin Group strategy is known as basic strategy. Using this to play with a single deck gives the player an advantage of 0.13%, but with four decks this falls to -.53%, which of course favors the casino.
Although at an online casino the cards are effectively shuffled after every playing round, at a real casino they are not, so the composition of the deck changes during the course of play. By modifying the playing strategy to take account of the cards that have been dealt already can considerably improve the player’s advantage.
Visit Sky Vegas for the latest online casino offers available on the net.