Using Science to Win at Blackjack

Recently we discussed the different ways that people have tried to beat the casino at roulette, using all types of theories to outsmart the casino with science. But what about blackjack? Can we also use science to put the odds in our favor when playing blackjack?

First, Is Blackjack the Perfect Casino Game?

Blackjack is one of the most fun and popular games on the casino floor. This is probably because it is so easy to play compared to other casino card games like poker. Everyone who has seen a Vegas movie or been to a casino knows how to play. Online casinos have made the game even more popular and relatable, publishing blackjack guides to make players feel more confident, and now, you can also play live dealer blackjack to maximize the realism when on the move. Simplicity, convenience and relatability all make blackjack a game for the masses!

The Counting Cards Method

For any movie buff that has seen the film 21, they will know all about counting cards. The movie tells a true story of a team of mathematicians from MIT who used this method to beat the casino at blackjack. Their stellar mental arithmetic enabled them to count the number of high or low cards to predict what type of cards are likely to come up next. When they believed they would get bigger value cards, they started to bet more money as the odds were in their favor.

Counting cards is the most well-known technique to win at blackjack, but it can get you thrown out of the casino or even spend a night in jail (as many members of the MIT Blackjack Team found out!). But counting cards is not the only way to beat the casino at blackjack!

An Alternative Scientific Theory for Blackjack

Instead of concerning yourself with card counting and getting a casino ban (there are in fact cameras looking for card counting, as well as other high-tech casino security), you could use one of the different scientific strategies that are not as dangerous.

The main one is to compare the cards you have with what the dealer has, and make scientific decisions based on probability of the cards you can see on the table. This means holding and hitting when science suggests it will give you an advantage. This is a fundamental principle often given to beginner players, but it is based on mathematics and could help any blackjack player, a seasoned pro or otherwise.

You should:

  •   Hold if you have between 12 and 16 and the house has between two and six
  •   Hit if you have between 12 and 16 and the house has seven to Ace
  •   Split 8s and Aces
  •   Double or hit Ace to six

Unless you are counting cards, another golden rule is never place insurance bets. These bets are plain stupid and hand the house a 6% advantage of winning the hand.

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.

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