Everyone will immediately tell you to play blackjack or baccarat and to stay away from roulette and slot machines. But the truth is that blackjack requires some skill. If you don’t know when to hit and when to stand, your chances of hanging on to your money are just as poor with blackjack as with many slot games. You can lose your money quickly at the games with the lowest house edge if you don’t know what you are doing.
The house edge is the percent of player wagers that the casino expects to keep over time. This is by no means a reliable predictor of how much you will win or lose. Regardless of what the game is, if you don’t know how to play it well then you should assume that the payback percentage for you is somewhere between 60% and 80%. That leaves you enough statistical room to do well on a random basis but nowhere near as well as a skilled player should do.
One advantage of a slot machine game over blackjack is that if the game declares the payback percentage is above 95%, you have a better chance of winning more money on the slots than at a game of skill where you don’t know the rules very well.
Play to your level of skill or else find a game that randomly pays better than others.
Everyone asks for advice when they learn to play blackjack. But when it is your money on the table you will be more overwhelmed by watching other players as you try to understand the rules of the game.
Blackjack strategy is based on knowledge of the probabilities of how the cards can be played. The casinos require their dealers to play by the simplest strategy possible because they are counting on the players to make mistakes. Because the dealer only draws cards after the players the casino is more likely to win on a weak hand than the players.
So here are three simple rules that beginning blackjack players can use to stay in the game without having to worry about counting cards and knowing all the probabilities.
Always split pairs of Aces, 6s, 7s, and 8s.
After deciding whether to split, always hit on any hand of 12 or less.
Always stand on any hand of 13 or higher.
Experienced players will weigh their chances based on the cards showing on the table, particularly the dealer’s cards. Beginning players are more likely to make mistakes if they try to do all the math in their heads, and it will be obvious to everyone else you don’t know much about the game if you sit there staring at the cards and trying to do calculations.