Can You Actually Use Strategy, Probability Science, and Psychology to Win at Blackjack?

You can find plenty of books on card-based casino game strategy. This applies to both blackjack and poker. Many professional poker players use their strategy, mindset, and bluffing skills to win high-stakes games, so you can argue that their strategies are the most effective.

Blackjack strategy is something that not many people know too much about. Most poker strategies are straightforward enough, especially in a live casino. Even people who don’t play the game understand how effective strategies play out. For example, you can bluff your way out of a tight spot or pick up on your opponent’s body language to ascertain whether they are bluffing.

Video or virtual poker relies on different techniques, so it’s not as applicable. Still, plenty of skill is involved, which should be part of a larger strategy. However, with blackjack, as the game’s rules are different, bluffing, body language, and strategy aren’t as effective, so psychology falls short here. Strategies encompass other components and can be far more challenging to apply to a live game than any poker strategy can be.

What Is Blackjack?

Blackjack is the most straightforward-to-pick-up compared with other card-based casino games. The idea of the game is that you need to better the croupier’s hand or equal it if the croupier draws the highest hand of 21. So long as you hit this total without going bust, you have a high chance of winning the game. 

Firstly, you are drawn two cards. Then, you can “hit” up to three times to get as close to 21 as possible. Then, from a standing deck of playing cards, you can use some idea of a strategy to manoeuvre your way around a game. For instance, if it’s just you and the croupier, and you draw a hand of 20, you have a high probability of winning this hand. 

If you draw out three cards and get 17, and you are playing against five other players, there is a low probability that you will come out on top, even though you have a good hand. Weighing up your situation is integral when playing blackjack effectively. There’s neuroscience attached to gambling, and it is prevalent across many cultures. Competition and excitement are hard-wired into our brains as part of human biology.

Card Counting Strategy

If you’re a fan of the crime drama Breaking Bad, you may be familiar with the storyline where Walter White covered up his misdeeds by claiming he won all his money by playing blackjack. 

The theory he devised was that he became a master card counter and fleeced other blackjack players. Unfortunately, it is a highly complex and meticulous method challenging to explain or master. Card counting is a practice that highly skilled mathematical brains can implement into their strategy. Unfortunately, it is frowned upon, and most casinos will kick you out. Depending on your area, it may also land you in legal trouble. 

For casinos to go this far, it shows that an element of this strategy must work to some extent. Is it worth it, though? Would you want to spend hours and hours of your day memorizing a strategy that only gives you a slight edge, one that runs the risk of you being kicked out of the casino for good? After all, gambling and casino gaming is meant to be a fun exercise. It is intended to be a way to unwind after a long day, and if you stifle your enjoyment with mathematical theory, it could be more trouble than it is worth.

When you start to pivot your focus on winning money instead of seeing gambling as a means of entertainment, then you are heading for a slippery slope. Ensuring you keep the experience engaging and fun is imperative. Once you begin to chase losses or spend more time gambling than you intended, this spells trouble and you should speak to a professional immediately.

The Bottom Line

While you may come across people online who claim that blackjack strategies work, the truth is the house is the one that wins. This is because the croupier uses the same 52-card deck as you, and although you can manage your losses better by folding or playing more aggressively when you have a good hand, no strategy will help you increase your chances of winning.

If there were a precise strategy to win at blackjack, then casinos wouldn’t be a multi-billion-dollar industry. That’s the simple truth of it. You can read up on aggressive strategies or how to play more defensively. There’s undoubtedly more strategy and an element of skill to poker. Therefore, if you are of a strategic and mathematical mind, this may be a better avenue than trying to card count and risk being thrown out of a casino by security!

Some players may have limited success with a small number of strategies, but on the whole, blackjack strategies do not work. Focusing on the fun side of playing blackjack is more important than trying to count your way into a marginal profit.

Written by Austin Crane

Austin is the principle web director for Untamed Science and Stone Age Man. He is also the web-director of the series for the High School biology, Middle Grades Science and Elementary Science content. When Austin isn't making amazing content for the web, he's out on his mountain bike or in a canoe.

You can follow Austin Crane