Have you ever wondered why, for the past 50 years or so, blackjack has been the most popular table game in casinos? These four factors contribute to its popularity.
1. You Can Reduce the House Edge to Less Than 1%
Most other casino table games have house edges greater than 1% (in some cases, much higher), and aside from a dice control technique for craps (which is difficult to master), there isn’t much you can do to reduce the inherent house edge.
However, with blackjack, all that is required is knowledge of and application of the basic playing strategy. It is possible to reduce the house edge to half a per cent by doing so (and sometimes lower depending upon the playing rules).
I know that most players despise learning the fundamentals of strategy. When they play, they want to have fun, and memorizing a bunch of strategy decisions seems like too much work. Furthermore, the most important tip is that you can bring a strategy card with you and refer to it when playing blackjack. They are legal in casinos.
However, for security reasons, do not place the strategy card on the table; instead, keep it in your lap or your hand and refer to it to make the correct playing decision on every hand. If you do this, you can reduce the house edge to less than 1% without much effort.
2. You Can Reduce Your Monetary Loss by Taking Advantage of Comps
This is how it works. Most casinos assume a 12% advantage over most blackjack players, and that’s close to most blackjack players who play by the seat of their pants.
The smart basic strategy player, on the other hand, faces a house edge of only 5% (or less). The difference between the casino’s perceived 12 percent advantage and your 0.5 percent disadvantage using basic strategy frequently results in the basic strategy player receiving more comps than the casino believes they will receive from the player.
All you need is a casino player’s card (which is free), which you simply hand to the dealer when you sit down to play. To determine the value of your comp, the floor supervisor will track how much money you wagered and how long you played. The bottom line is that most basic strategy players should be able to earn enough comps to reduce their overall return to almost zero.
3. Learn When to Bet More and When to Bet Less
I’m not talking about using a progressive betting system because it will make no difference to the house edge.
No, I’m suggesting a basic entry-level card counting system. Why? Because using the latter will let you know when the edge shifts in your favour on the next hand, and thus when you should bet more. Similarly, these simple counting systems will alert you when the advantage shifts to the dealer, allowing you to bet less.
By betting more when you have an advantage and less when you don’t, you can reduce the house edge to less than a half per cent and, depending on the rules, gain a small advantage over the casino. The basic card counting systems are not difficult to learn.
Once you’re comfortable with one of these systems, I recommend trying a more advanced counting system like Hi-Lo.)
4. You Can Get the Edge in Blackjack Tournaments by Playing Better Than Your Opponents Play
Unfortunately, not many blackjack players are aware of the above. Most casinos host blackjack tournaments; some are one-day affairs, while others last all weekend. The top prize for finishing in the money in a blackjack tournament can be substantial, and your risk is simply paying the entry fee.
So, how do you get a leg up?
The primary opponent in a blackjack tournament is not the casino but the other tournament players. Whether you win or lose bets against the dealer (i.e., the casino) makes no difference. Whether you win (or lose) more than your opponents matters, it is possible to gain an advantage over your fellow table players by being more skilled in how you bet and play your hands.
Tournament playing and betting strategies vary depending on how much bankroll you have compared to your tablemates, especially in the final few hands of a tournament round.
So there you have it, four reasons for the popularity of blackjack. Furthermore, it is a simple and enjoyable game to play. Try it out the next time you visit your favourite casino.