7 Reasons You Should Stick to Basic Strategy in Blackjack

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Basic Strategy Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular table games at the casino. The game is straightforward, fun to play, and has some of the best odds in the house. If you’ve never played before and are thinking of dipping your toe into the water, there are a few things you should know.

Despite featuring some of the best odds, the house still has an edge, which means it’s on you to figure out how to beat the casino. The best starting point is sticking to basic strategy, or in other words, to play by the book.

Here are seven reasons why gamblers, old and new, should consider sticking to basic strategy while playing blackjack.

1 ‒ It’s Not Complicated

At face value, blackjack is one of the easier table games casinos offer, which is why it appeals to new, inexperienced gamblers. Additionally, the game is fast-paced and entertaining, making it one of the best playing options. The strategy that goes into blackjack, like the rules of the game, is not too complicated.

You might have been at the table and noticed a fellow player consulting a chart with all the possible variations of hands.

Bringing one of those charts to a table is a bit polarizing, as some older, more experienced gamblers might rip on you for using a cheat sheet. If you feel self-conscious about sustaining scrutiny, the chart is not hard to learn over time.

Initially, it might seem overwhelming to learn what you should do in every situation, but over time, it will become second nature. These charts are all over the internet and should be one of the first resources you use when learning how to play blackjack. However, if you are unsure of what to do on a given hand, there is no harm in asking the dealer what the book says to do.

2 ‒ The House Always Has an Edge

Even though blackjack has some of the best odds for gamblers at casinos, which I’ll get into later, you’re still going to be at a disadvantage. Every table game and machine in a casino has a built-in house edge. In other words, you’re set up to fail when you gamble at the casino.

You can minimize the house edge if you play with perfect strategy. There’s no good reason to deviate from playing by the book, especially when you are most likely going to lose money while gambling. If you learn the best practices and play with perfect strategy, you can position yourself to win money over a period at the tables.

Other games around the casino have worse odds and are entirely random. While blackjack does involve a good bit of luck, players who play strategically are more likely to win than gamblers who misplay the game.

3 ‒ It Establishes Good Habits

When you force yourself to learn perfect strategy and apply it at the tables, you will become a more disciplined and smarter gambler. At the outset of your gambling career, it’s necessary to instill good habits so that you can grow and develop. A solid base of information will enable you to soften early losses that are common amongst new blackjack players.

If you’re going to the casino to win money, then playing with perfect strategy is necessary. It’s easy to build bad habits that could adversely affect the way you play in the future. I have friends who I’ve been gambling with since I was 18, and they still commonly repeat the same issues they made when they first started gambling.

Starting off playing smart and by the book will give you a leg up on the competition. Although you are competing against the house when you play blackjack and not other players, it’s always lovely to be the top dog at a table. The best, most profitable players play with perfect strategy and can even swing the odds into their favor by using counting systems. Before you’re able to utilize one of these systems, you first need to learn strategy.

4 ‒ Other Players Appreciate It

I encounter many gamblers who refuse to play blackjack by the book. They insist that the book is wrong, or that they have a betting system that works for them, then proceed to lose all their money at a rapid pace. These types of players can ruin an experience at a blackjack table.

Seeing someone misplay the game for each hand is incredibly frustrating. Some people believe that sitting next to a bad blackjack player will ruin the chances for the rest of the table; however, there’s no real validity to this. However, if you devote too much time and energy to the way they play the game, you’re taking the focus off of your play, which can lead to losses.

On the other hand, newer gamblers who take time to learn the rules and etiquette of the game, while few and far between, will be well received at the tables. There’s something to be said for inexperienced blackjack players sitting down, somewhat unsure of themselves, yet having a solid base of information to rely on. This diligence will gain you favor at the table.

5 ‒ You Can Maximize Chances for Profit

As I said earlier, the casino’s house edge means you are destined to lose money at the table. Profitable players are the ones who can sit at a table for hours, typically utilize flat betting, and grind out victories when they can. When newer players commit mistakes that go against basic strategy, they deprive themselves of consistency. And consistency is vital when it comes to playing real money blackjack.

When you play conservatively and correctly, you position yourself to make a run at a hand where you can gain profit. It’s certainly risky to deviate from the norm, but players must find some sort of advantage where they can. Unless you learn to count cards, the house is mathematically going to win every time.

6 ‒ Blackjack Has Some of the Best Odds

The house edge of blackjack typically varies from 1% to 3%, making it one of the best games to play at the casino. If you play with perfect strategy, you can lower the house edge to around 0.2%, which means you are winning nearly 50% of your hands. If your purpose in gambling is to win money, then blackjack might be the game for you.

Casinos are designed to take your money, and it’s incredibly challenging to beat the casino at table games. Refusing to abide by the book will lead to the consistent losing and decimation of your bankroll. Some people are of the mindset that it’s better to play a few high-dollar hands to try to win money fast.

However, if you make conservative, consistent flat bets, you’re giving yourself the best chance to break even or maybe even come out on top.

7 ‒ Playing With Perfect Strategy Still Isn’t Enough

As I said in an earlier point, even if you play with perfect strategy, you’re still projected to lose money. To win at blackjack, gamblers must adopt an intricate approach to the game, which can involve counting cards or using advanced betting systems. Adopting one of these systems can only be done if you know how to play every single hand.

Once you learn basic strategy and employ it over time, you can learn one of these systems and attempt to swing the odds into your favor. While basic strategy is easily learnable over time, counting cards can be incredibly challenging. If you intend to learn one of these methods, you must have a strong base consisting of a basic strategy to build on.


Winning money at the casinos is a daunting proposition. Gamblers are set up to lose money even before they walk through the door. Most new gamblers, especially blackjack players, are known to bleed cash by refusing to play by basic strategy. If you’re an inexperienced gambler who has never played blackjack before, then it’s time to learn the strategy.

While the rules and basic strategy of blackjack aren’t overly complicated, it takes a consistent approach and regular play to familiarize yourself with every hand. Like most card games, each hand of blackjack can consist of hundreds of different card combinations that you need to learn.

If you play with perfect strategy, you can drop the house edge to less than a percent, but mathematically, it’s still not enough to beat the house. Over time, you can learn betting systems that theoretically give you a leg up on the house. But first, you need to develop good habits and stick to basic strategy.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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