Blackjack is a good example of a game where skill can play an important role. While the shuffling of the cards produces a random deal, there’s still some element of decision-making that can affect a player’s results. Players who make good decisions will have better results over time than those who make bad choices in how they play their cards. Two strategies that some blackjack players use in an effort to maximise their results are explored below:
Basic Strategy in Blackjack: Blackjack is one of the very few casino games in which players can minimise the house advantage they face by using what is known as the “basic strategy.” The basic strategy is a set of rules that tells players the statistically, the best way to play a hand based on two factors – the up card of the dealer and their own cards. The basic strategy doesn’t ensure a player will win every hand. Although using the basic strategy, does give a player the best possible chance of winning and will help minimise the cost of play in the long run. Remember, using basic strategy does not eliminate the house advantage – it merely minimises it. Many casinos actually distribute basic strategy cards that players can use while they are playing. During a hand, players can also ask the dealer what decision they should make (hit, stand, etc.) based on blackjack strategy.
Card Counting in Blackjack: Players using a card counting system in blackjack try to keep mental track of the cards that are dealt, then alter their play based on the remaining cards to be dealt. Before a player can even attempt to use a card counting system, he or she must know the basic strategy for every situation. Using a card counting system does not guarantee that a player will win every hand (or even most of the hands) because the cards are still random. In theory, using a card counting system can enable players to tip the long term advantage just slightly in their favour, meaning that, over a period of time, they could come out ahead. In reality, casinos take steps to significantly limit the effectiveness of card counting systems (using multiple decks, shuffling more often, etc.) and make it nearly impossible for most players to gain any advantage by card counting.
Conclusion: In the game of BLACKJACK, there is some room for players to apply their skill. While skilful players may be able to keep their cost of play to a minimum, the gambling operator will still always have a house advantage.
The reason that skill can play a role in these games is that players must make decisions that can affect the outcome. Players who make bad decisions will win less often than players who consistently make good decisions.
It’s worth noting that when gambling operators calculate the house advantage on a game, they base the calculation on the perfect play.