Blackjack: a game of luck or skill?

Photo Courtesy: Drew Rae

“The only sure thing about luck is that it will change” said American author and poet Bret Harte – and never has a truer word been said. Some casino games are won through luck, like Slots, others through skill, like Poker, and some through a combination of both. Blackjack is one of those – divided by the age-old debate of whether it’s a game of luck or skill, and finally we have the answers. So, whether you’re feeling lucky or skillful, make Blackjack online at Paddy Casino your next pursuit.

Luck
Of course, luck plays a part in the cards that you are dealt. You are lucky if you’re given a decent hand, with very little strategy involved in making your move. You are even luckier if you are dealt a natural Blackjack. It’s worth noting, if you’re a beginner, who has no idea about strategy, your game will be purely based on luck.

It’s also worth understanding how single-deck vs multi-deck Blackjack affects your odds and chances of success. Playing single-deck Blackjack, the odds for landing a natural are 4.83%. This decreases to 4.78% when two decks are in play – and decreases further still for eight decks, to 4.75%. While there is very little difference between the figures, as they can be rounded up to 4.8%, it’s important to keep an eye out on the pay-outs for a natural. Some low-limit and single-deck games offer a return of 6:5 for a natural, which is clearly not as favorable to the player as the standard 3:2.

Skill
While it’s all about the cards, skill is a key part of a game of Blackjack. It’s all well and good receiving a decent hand, but it’s knowing what to do with it, how to play, and how to maximize your profits, or minimize any potential losses that really makes the difference. Skill is what separates beginners from experienced players.

Basic Blackjack strategy is good if you’re a novice, but the more experienced players will know that isn’t enough, and if you want to seriously profit, you need to delve into each action further and understand what each card combination means. Here are some of the basic strategy actions which can help your game:

Hit on a soft 17 – the Ace acts as a cushion, making it harder to bust, but also giving you a fair chance of landing a natural

Always split aces and 8s – a soft 2 is obviously an awful hand, but two chances of landing a natural or beating the dealer are better than one. 16 is the worst hand total, because you can’t win on 16 unless the dealer busts, so always split 8s

Never split 10s – 20 is obviously a hard total to beat, so splitting 10s is criminal – it will dramatically reduce your chances of winning

Doubling down is a risky business – you only get one more card, so depending on how your luck has been, it could be risky. There are only three instances you might want to consider doubling down:

1) If you have a hand totaling 11, and the dealer doesn’t show an ace or face card
2) If you have a hand totaling 10, and the dealer doesn’t show an Ace, 10 or face card
3) If you have a hand totaling 9, and the dealer’s up card is anything between 3 and 7

So, there you have it – there are elements of luck and skill to a hand of Blackjack. Of course, the level of skill probably outweighs luck. But in any case, it’s the ease of play and low house edge that make it so popular with players, whether that’s in an online casino or brick-and-mortar establishment.