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Master the Odds and Choose a System that Suits You - How to Win at Blackjack

Blackjack Table
Blackjack has been one of the most popular casino games on the planet for many years, and although there are numerous adaptations of the game, the traditional version is still the most played. In fact, after slot games which are head and shoulders above the rest of casino offerings, with 61% of all casino visitors playing them, blackjack comes in second, with 19% of gamblers favoring the card game over roulette, poker, and craps. Other research has backed this up, with 16% of US casino visitors in 2014 opting to play blackjack, compared to 5% on roulette. Playing blackjack is relatively easy to get to grips with, but mastering it and knowing exactly what to do and when can take years of practice.
How Did The Game We Know And Love Come About?
The Flop
To understand the game of blackjack, it is important to know its history, and how it has stood the test of time to remain as one of the best-loved casino games on the planet. There is no definitive answer as to where the game originated from or who invented it, as written accounts of the game can be traced as far back to 17th century Spain and the novels of the author Miguel de Cervantes who is well-known for having written Don Quixote. In Cervantes’s work, Novelas Ejemplares, two of the characters play a card game that follows similar rules as blackjack. This game was called Twenty-One, and could have come about around 1601 or earlier.

It was when the card game travelled to America that it started to become known as blackjack. When Twenty-One reached the States, and particularly Nevada in 1931, gambling houses offered special odds to try to attract new players to the game. One example of these enhanced odds was when the player’s hand consisted of one of the black Jacks paired with the Ace of spades. For this supreme hand, some casinos would pay out a 10-to-1 return on the initial stake. The hand was called a “blackjack”, and although the game was withdrawn soon after, people continue to refer to the card game as such.
Know What to Do in Every Situation
Every blackjack player hoping to succeed at the game needs to familiarise themselves with basic blackjack strategy, and even consider reading some specialist books on the subject. When playing blackjack the game involves calculating your odds in order to make informed decisions in every possible situation. You need to have encyclopedic knowledge of when you should hit, stand, double, or split depending on what cards you are dealt and what the dealer’s card is. For instance, a popular school of thought is that if you are dealt cards that add up to 10 or 11, and the dealer’s card is lower than 10, you should always double. Another example is that if your hand equals 17 and the dealer is showing a 7 or higher, you should always draw another card.

Building on this, players should always know what to do when they have their two starting cards and have seen the dealer’s card. But they should also consider their odds after they have hit another card. For instance, if you find yourself on 17 after a third card has been dealt to your hand, and the dealer is showing an ace, you know you need to hit to give yourself a better chance of winning. But experts say that you need to take into account the value of the cards already in your hand. You need a four or a three to bring you closer to 21, but if you already have those cards in your hand, that decreases the odds of you being dealt the card you need.
Know the Different Betting Techniques
Players at the Blackjack table
Once you have mastered the odds, or got accustomed to quickly referencing basic strategy charts while playing, you can move onto some more general strategies in terms of how to bet. One of the most popular, and simplest forms of betting on blackjack and some other games like roulette is the Martingale System. This requires you to double your bet every time your hand loses, so that the next time you win you have covered all your losses up to that point. Some players think that this is quite a risky system, though, as it requires you to have a lot of money to bet with. Imagine if you start with a $100 bet and lose, and your next bet is $200. If you find yourself on an unlucky streak, you would be staking $1600 by the sixth hand. If you have the money to spend, and there is no table limit, this method is fairly safe, though.

One problem with the Martingale system is that it does have the potential to lead players to risk high stakes. This is a negative progression, and it works by players increasing their bets when they lose. This is fine if you have unlimited funds, but it might not work for everyone. Another option would be to use a positive progression, which would work by increasing your bets when you are winning to capitalize on a winning streak. A happy medium could be to go for a high-low betting strategy. An example of this would be to start with a $100 bet, and then increase it to $200 if you win. While winning, bet $200 each time, then go back to $100 if you lose. Each system has its merits, and players may like to choose one and stick to it, or operate with a combination of them depending on the scenario.

There are many more methods out there to consider incorporating, such as deciding whether to take insurance. Once you get used to the odds and what to do in certain situations, your game is bound to improve.
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