Basic Strategy is the world’s number one blackjack strategy. Millions of players around the globe and many Canadians use Basic Strategy when playing blackjack online. The strategy’s history stretches back to the 1950s when the US Army developed it. Four engineers humorously nicknamed “the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” devised it and soon casinos across the US began to worry.

When their ideas were taken on board and tinkered with by a mathematician called Edward O. Thorp, a distinct edge began to appear. IBM technicians such as Peter A. Griffin and Julian Braun further refined the system into the Basic Strategy we know today. What is Basic Strategy, though, and how can you use it to play blackjack? Canada Online explains…

Introducing the Basic Strategy

Basic Strategy does not ensure victories, but it does go quite some way in ensuring that players reduce their losses over the long term. A fair bit of effort is required to ensure that this happens. Moreover, any slight deviation from the strategy can lead to unpredictable results, so any Canadian who is thinking of using Basic Strategy should ensure that they stick with it, and avoid the temptation of side-bets.

The best way to implement Basic Strategy is to look at a chart. There are many of these strategy charts that you can find. Ultimately, the Blackjack Basic Strategy chart will tell you what to do, based on the hands on the table. It is entirely possible for you to download the Basic Strategy chart and simply refer to it when you play blackjack online. Of course, if you are playing in a real brick-and-mortar casino, you aren’t going to be allowed to whip it out wherever you want to bet. For that reason, many Canadians study the chart and memorise it.

Basic Strategy in Action

If you are not interested in studying the Basic Strategy chart, you can always refer to the general rules associated with Basic Strategy. This is known as the Simplified Basic Strategy. While the full-on Basic Strategy chart lowers the house edge to a greater degree, you can still drop the house edge by 0.30% using nothing more than the Simplified Basic Strategy rules.

Here are the key parts you need to remember:

  • You should hit on hard hands worth 8 or more
  • If your hand’s total is higher than the dealer’s exposed card, double down on 9s, 10s or 11s, otherwise hit
  • If your dealer has a 7 or higher exposed, then hit on hard 12s through 16s, otherwise stand
  • Always stand on a hard 17 or higher
  • If the dealer has a 5 or 6 exposed, then double down on soft 13s through 18s
  • If your dealer has a 3, 4, 5 or 6 exposed, then double down on a soft 17
  • If you have a soft 18, then double down against a dealer’s exposed 3, 4, 5 or 6, and stand on 2, 7 or 8, and hit if the dealer has a 9, 10 or ace exposed
  • Always stand on soft 19s
  • Always split any 8s or aces
  • Never opt to split 5s or 10s
  • And never, ever take an insurance bet

Simplified Basic Strategy should also help you reduce your losses in the long-term. However, it is important irrespective of whether you use Basic Strategy or Simplified Basic Strategy, never to deviate or stop using the strategy when playing.

Why You Should and Should Not Use It

There are many good reasons why Basic Strategy is ideal for Canadian blackjack players and a few reasons why it may not be for you. They include:

Reasons to Use the Basic Strategy

  • Basic Strategy allows you to decrease the house edge by up to 0.50%
  • Has been proven to be effective in the long-term
  • Helps you make the best possible decisions for each hand

Reasons to Avoid Basic Strategy

  • It does not guarantee a win
  • The strategy is not ideal for land-based gameplay unless you memorise it
  • Basic Strategy is best displayed as a cumbersome chart

Should I Use This Blackjack Strategy to Play Online?

Blackjack Basic Strategy is the frontrunner when it comes to blackjack strategies. Provided you stick to the rules of the strategy (and we mean to the letter), and you don’t mind studying the strategy in-depth, it is absolutely worth your time. The strategy can also be used on a number of blackjack variants. The Simplified Basic Strategy is also worth a punt if you don’t want to dedicate too much time learning this technique. Either way, there are few reasons not to use Basic Strategy when playing blackjack at Canadian online casinos.

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