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The Thought Process Behind Blackjack

ByDave Stopher

Jul 15, 2020 #Gaming

Blackjack, like a lot of card games, offers a balance of chance and strategy. Naturally, the chance element comes with the turn of a card which can decide the destiny of the prize pot.

Nobody can accurately predict with complete certainty just what comes next and that’s why, anyone who takes the tables will realise that there has to be an element of risk. However, that risk can be a calculated one provided the player has been paying attention and that they have a basic grasp of probability. To be successful at blackjack, players must adopt a certain thought process if they are to leave after a profitable session.

A Numbers Game

Blackjack is a straightforward game to an extent. Two cards are dealt, and the aim is to get to 21, or as close as possible. More cards can be dealt following that initial round, but players mustn’t go over that limit. Exceeding 21 is known as ‘bursting’ and this will only forfeit the hand.

Additional rules such as splitting and doubling down can make blackjack a little more complex but it’s that overall simplicity that makes it appealing to most. Another key element is the fact that the contest is a straightforward one between the player and the dealer. Unlike most variants of poker, there are no other opponents at the table.

In Game Reactions

The absence of other opponents means that there’s no need to practice that ‘Poker Face’ but blackjack players will still react when certain cards are dealt. Both of the player’s cards are dealt face up while only one of the dealer’s cards is visible and that factor has a great bearing on gameplay.

Remember that the player has to beat the dealer’s score: Matching it is no good so the playing and betting strategy can revolve around that solitary upturned card at the other side of the table.

Let’s say, for example, that the dealer’s upturned card is an Ace. In blackjack, the ace can be worth either 1 or 11 and in many ways it’s the most powerful card in the game. If the dealer’s second card is worth 10, they’ve hit blackjack and are therefore unbeatable. The issue for the player is that the probability of this happening is relatively high.

In blackjack, all picture cards – Jack, Queen and King – are worth 10 points. In addition, the ten card is worth its face value. This means that in a standard deck of 52 cards, 16 are worth exactly ten points so the chances of ten points appearing are marginally more than one in three.

That higher probability has a significant bearing on gameplay and how a player reacts to the turn of a card.

Working to Your Advantage

In contrast to the above scenario, if the dealer’s revealed card is a five, then probability suggests that their hand may total 15. Drawing an additional card at this point is a tricky call as there is an enhanced probability that the dealer will burst.

The question of probability must also be taken into account when the player assesses their own cards. If they score twenty with their initial two cards, drawing a third would be foolish as it’s unlikely that an ace will be revealed. That’s an extreme example but it underlines the thought process needed by successful blackjack players. They must assess the cards on the table and calculate likely probabilities as to what might come next.

Where to Play

The surge in internet play has given blackjack players more choice than ever before. With online casinos doing battle to gain a share of a vast industry, new innovations help to gain an edge over the competition.

These innovations can relate to the game itself. Along with the classic version of blackjack, there are titles that offer twists to the rules while players can also play games with multiple hands and / or multiple decks.

Players also need to decide whether to play with traditional, automated casino software or at the live tables. Live blackjack is a popular choice and, for many players, it can help with the overall thought process behind the game. The objective of an online live casino is to mirror the experience that can be found in the outside world. Professional, live dealers are on hand and there are chat rooms where players can act as part of a community.

Many players find that the atmosphere created at a live casino is more relaxing and, as such, they can keep their thought processes intact without feeling under any great pressure. However, even if you are playing online, it is important that it still feels like a special experience. That’s why 777 casino have worked so hard to ensure their offering of online blackjack is completely different to anything you’ll find elsewhere, as you enter, you’re greeted with all of the glitz and glamour of 1950’s Vegas, meaning it is a truly special online casino and an ideal place to try out your blackjack strategies.

Casinos Fight Back

The practice of assessing cards that are down and calculating the probabilities moving forward is known as card counting and it’s one that casinos take a dim view of. If the process became evident at a bricks and mortar establishment then, in all probability, the player would be asked to leave. At an online casino, the option for anonymity is on the player’s side but there are ways in which the operators can fight back.

As previously mentioned, the chances of a card offering a value of ten is marginally higher than one in three. With that in mind, players can expect to see as many as eight decks of cards in play when they head to the blackjack table. Suddenly, those chances become much harder to predict.

Essentially, to guard against this edge, online casinos have made it impossible to count cards on their live games. 8 deck card dealer shoes are in operation with another dealer reloading, making it almost impossible to count cards.

The thought process is still valid and a dealer’s hand revealing an ace is likely to be stronger than one showing a five or a six. Implementing the strategy would be wise but, the practice of card counting has become almost impossible.

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