The Worst Blackjack Strategies

Any serious blackjack player will tell you that it’s not just a game of luck, but one of skill, reckoning and arithmetic; and by arithmetic I don’t just mean the ability to count to 21. Some people may actually avoid the blackjack tables because of this, choosing to play something like a slot machine where the decisions are left out of the player’s hands. That could be a detrimental mistake.

In reality, all one needs is a simple blackjack strategy chart that follows the precise rules of the blackjack variation they intend to play. This can drop the house edge well below 1%, as low as 0.12% or better, depending on the specific game’s rules. Slots, on the other hand, have a much worse house edge, as high as 20% in some land-based casinos!

The best way to play blackjack is to get a strategy chart and follow it 100%; no deviations. If playing at a live casino, you can incorporate card counting to further reduce the house edge and, possibly, turn the odds into your favor, placing larger bets when a blackjack is more likely, smaller bets when less likely.

The last thing you want to do is incorporate a misconceived blackjack strategy. Many novice players assume that playing by house rules or never hitting a hand that could potentially bust will better their odds and profit potential. This simply isn’t true. The following is a description of the three worst blackjack strategies, and why you should never use them.

Playing the House Way
This is the most common blackjack strategy that players assume is a good idea. It goes something like this: If the dealer abides by specific rules, and invokes a house edge by doing so, then the player should use the same rules to claim a player advantage. Not true!

This would mean that you always hit a total of 16 or below, and stand on a hard 17 or above, maybe hitting a soft 17. It would also mean that you cannot split or double a hand. The problem is that the player has to act first. The dealer only gets an advantage because the player may bust before he acts. The dealer will never bust before the player acts. Thus playing by ‘house way’ rules, you could actually increase the house edge to as high as 5.48%.

Never Hit 12+
It’s true, if you never hit a hard total of 12 or more, you will never bust. We can’t argue there. However, a proper blackjack strategy is based on probabilities, and requires the player to take some risks according to the dealer’s exposed card. The concept of never hitting a bust-able hand will raise the casino’s house edge up to 3.91%.

Assuming Dealer’s Hand
The worst possible strategy in blackjack is to always assume the dealer has a 10 or Face Card in the hole. Yes, there are 16 10-valued cards in a single deck, but that leaves 36 other possibilities. The truth is, the dealer will most often NOT have a 10-valued card in the hole. If you always assume that he does, and play your hand – hit or stand - according to that theory, the house edge increases to an absurd 10.03%.