Can gambling games be classed as highly strategic?

The art of gambling is generally seen as a difficult task and one that should only be carried out by experienced players. There may well be some truth in that theory but it’s also a practice that can be learnt by anyone with the patience and determination to study it thoroughly.

When there is real money at stake, the sense of importance is heightened but, by employing key strategy, anyone can play blackjack, poker or any card game with a greater chance of a win.

A Game of Chance?

Casino play can generally be seen as a game of chance and, with some titles, there is an element of truth in that theory. The spin of a roulette wheel will produce a random result each time and there is absolutely no way of knowing which number will land when the ball comes to a halt.

Similarly, slot machines also produce random results each time: Reputable casinos use a random number generator, (RNG) to ensure fairness and this can be verified by any potential customer.

Chance also has a part to play in the turn of a card but, these are the games where strategy can have a role to play. Blackjack in particular is a card game where studying the pattern of play might just help lessen the impact of chance. And now players can play live blackjack, with real life dealers where they can practice on their blackjack strategy.

Back to Basics

Like any game, the first approach is to understand the rules. This is a card game where the player takes on the dealer and the process involves hitting 21 points, or getting as close as possible to that target without going over.

If scores are level, dealer wins: There are more rules to discover but that basic concept gives us something to work with in terms of formulating a strategy. In blackjack, a set of hints are available advising players on their next move, depending on what cards are in front of them.

For example, if the player’s first two cards equate to 12 and the dealer is holding a 2, the advice is to ‘hit’, i.e., take another card. However, if the player’s cards total 17 and the dealer holds a 4, the suggestion is to ‘stand’ and not take a third card.

Bear in mind that only one of the dealer’s cards will be visible at this point in the game. The second card is only revealed when the player has completed their own sequence. There are so many variables and the hints that are given are by no means a guarantee of success.

Probability is the key here and that brings us on to the next stage in the blackjack strategy.

Do the Maths

Strategy in card games largely relates to the question of mathematical probability. In blackjack, all picture cards, jack, queen and king, are worth ten points while the ten card is also worth its face value. Therefore, in a regular 52-deck of playing cards, around 30% of those cards are worth ten points.

So, if a player holds 11 points after the first two cards are dealt, there is a higher probability that they will hit the magical 21 number after the turn of the next card. Once again, there are no guarantees but it’s that probability that forms part of an important approach to blackjack.

Card counting, as this is known, is frowned upon in physical casinos but when playing online, it’s impossible for experienced players to ignore the practice. For these reasons, blackjack can be strategic and so much more than a simple game of chance.

By Comparison

Blackjack clearly has a strategy which players can choose to adopt or ignore but how does it compare to other card games? In terms of popularity, blackjack has to compete with poker, so this is an obvious starting point.

Everyone has different tastes when it comes to card games, but most players are agreed that poker is more complicated to learn. The rules are far more complex than blackjack and it takes longer to master gameplay.

Poker can be tougher to win too: In blackjack, it’s a simple equation of player vs the house but poker brings along a whole new set of opponents. Mathematical probability still has a role to play here but, with more players there can be the potential for additional decks to be involved.

It’s far tougher to establish a strategy when playing poker but, to counter that, the rewards can be much higher. Prize funds can outstrip those found in the blackjack spheres, so the moral is that you get out what you put in.


Like for Like

A closer comparison to blackjack comes through Baccarat - another card game with its own unique scoring system. The objectives are similar with the task of hitting or getting close to a specified number.

The major difference between blackjack and baccarat is that the latter offers the option to bet on either the player or the dealer. Prize funds are similar, and this is a much better direct comparison.

Making a Start

Although both games require a strategic approach, blackjack takes less time to master than poker. As a result, it tends to draw in new and less experienced players at online and physical casinos.

Neither offer guarantees of grabbing the prize pot but, with close study of the rules and an adoption of strategy and probability, the chances of winning can be enhanced.

Published in Casino news

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