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HOME > > Blackjack Basic Strategy

Blackjack Basic Strategy

21 November 2020

By John Marchel

It was a little crowded that day but I found a first base seat at the blackjack table at my local casino. I started playing low stakes, concentrating on how the dealer was performing.

The dealer was also concentrating, but on the old man sitting at third base. I looked over to see the hand. He had a 14 with the dealer having an 8 as his up card. The old man kept looking down at his cards and then looked at the dealer’s card. He continued that back and forth movement about five times.

He finally brought up his hand to indicate no more cards; stand! The dealer quickly turned over his down card, which was a picture, beating the old man.

This was not an unusual play; I’ve seen it plenty of times in my visits to casinos. The player stands on a hand that looks like a loser, but stands so he is still in the game -- hoping the dealer bust, and he wins.

What made this event unusual, was what transpired over the next 15 minutes. I continued to play, but I watched the old man at third base. He was having a bad run of cards. He got 14s, 15s, and 16s, it seemed like one after the other. The dealer continued to get the 7s, and above, plus some picture cards. The old man continued to slow the game down by studying intently his hand each and every time.

It seemed like the old man figured he would bust if he hit any of his hands. To me, it seemed that sometime in the past, someone told him to stay in the game at all cost. The fact is, if I was playing, and getting those cards, I would quit and move on to another table. However, the old man continued to play. I started to pay close attention what card was played next, after the old man. I saw many hands if he had hit, he would have won!

That little true story emphasizes the importance’s of knowing, studying and playing basic strategy. Some where I read that around eighty percent of the time, at blackjack, you will need to play basic strategy. It’s important to your strategy of winning – learn it and play it.


• June 7, 1772 One of the earliest English references to Vingt-et-un (an early version of blackjack) occurs in the diary of the Duchess of Northumberland where she reports herself as playing “Vingt et un till supper-time.”

• It’s been reported that less than 2 percent of casino players know the best, correct strategies and/or basic rules of the game they are playing.

• Warning, even playing Basic Strategy at blackjack the house has the advantage because the dealer plays last.

• “The Four Horseman of Aberdeen”; Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel and James McDermott, were inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame, in 2008. Known as the Baldwin Group, they were the original team (1956) who pioneered basic strategy for blackjack and devised a strategy for card counting.

• Some casinos have a spot on its blackjack rating slips, which can be marked to indicate that a player knows blackjack basic strategy.

• During the blackjack card-counting controversy in Atlantic City in the early 1980s, casinos would categorize players as novice, experience, basic strategist, and card counters.

• In Las Vegas in 1958, blackjack became the number one table game in town.

• Nov. 15, 2010, Larry Melvyn Evans, died, a rare individual who mastered both blackjack and chess strategy. He became an International Grandmaster and the U.S. State Department’s “chess ambassador.” He also used his refined memory to make extra dollars in casinos playing blackjack. Eventually he was banned from all the casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine. Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

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