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Fat Tony's Blackjack
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Blackjack Strategies

Blackjack is often stated as being a game of skill. Most people don't break this down and try to understand what it means. As mentioned on the introductory pages of this site, blackjack is all about decisions. Those decisions are directly mappable to either profit or loss. Ever since mathematicians started looking seriously at the game (back as far as the fifties) there has been no doubt that your decisions define your success, and as such, there is a smart way to play.

For the same reasons it's not practical to determine a 'house edge' value for blackjack, since it changes with each player, each time they go to play. If you see a house edge quoted online for a particular set of game characteristics (something that mentions a house edge number while stating the number of decks in the shoe, and some other variables) it is most likely referring to the approximate house edge you could attain if you played with perfect strategy. What's perfect strategy? Are some blackjack strategies better than other, if the edge is different for everyone? Let's talk about that now. There are generally three types of blackjack strategy: basic strategy (statistically based), bankroll management strategies (monetarily based), and counting strategies (cheat, cheat, cheat based).

Basic blackjack strategies
Basic strategy in blackjack is often the heading of a page that has nothing but a big chart on it, leaving many novices quite confused. That chart is actually a map of decisions. Along the left column there are numbers and letters written like this (A, 3), which needs to be read as Ace, 3. These represent your initial two-card hand. Along the top of the chart are single numbers and letters corresponding to the dealers up-card. If you were to pick the Ace, 3 row, and follow it over to the right until you reach the 8 column, you would see the letter H. That H means hit, and this is logical because if the dealer is showing an 8 and all you have is an Ace and a 4, of course you want to hit.

To read up on basic strategy and find a chart, visit the basic strategy page.

Bankroll management strategies
In my opinion, the best strategies (beyond utilizing basic strategy) are those that concentrate on your bankroll. Bankroll management is probably the one variable that gets forgotten too early as people develop their personal blackjack strategies. As you can see on my blackjack strategy page, I prefer a strategy that is completely bankroll oriented. This is the only way to guarantee that you will either walk away a winner, or walk away not too big a loser. You can't reasonably ask for more than that, to Fat Tony, walkin' away well is what it's all about.

Card counting strategies
If you're up for something a little more sophisticated, and you think you've found the casino to try it in, card counting strategies can be deadly effective. Honestly though it's difficult to pull card counting off properly anymore, in part because most casinos reshuffle the shoe often, and that shoe has six or more decks in it. This was a much more reasonable option back in the eighties when you could find a single deck game they would burn through most of before shuffling again.

To learn some rudimentary counting based blackjack strategies check out our dedicated card counting page. You may also want to read up on common bad blackjack strategies.