How to Play Perfect Blackjack
Someone wanting to play perfect blackjack has many avenues to explore. Players can memorize a basic strategy chart and try to achieve what some experts have called optimal strategy. Gamblers can read about which blackjack rules variations favor the player and start a hard target search of Las Vegas (or the Internet) for the perfect game of blackjack, with an expectation around 99.80%. One you've mastered basic strategy and you know the proper game setting for your skills, though, you'll find yourself tantalizingly short of a positive expectation blackjack experience. At this point, you might consider blackjack played at nearly 100% expectation as perfect play, or you might search for some new advantage, like getting comps at a land-based casino or bonus offers at an online casino. Or you might look at other advantage gambling techniques like card counting.
A player truly dedicated to playing the perfect game of blackjack should read books about card counting. This is a skill which offers the real possibility of playing at an advantage. Card counting provides a blackjack player with information about certain especially advantageous moments of the game when they can bet much larger amounts and weight the odds in their favor, perhaps achieving the hoped-for greater than 100% expectation. At this point, you're turning the house edge on its ear and you, the player, have the advantage instead of the casino. Those who master this technique may have all-new problems to consider, like mastering the ability to count cards in a live casino environment without seeming like you're counting cards.
Even if all this is achieved, a truly dedicated card counter has to explore all the other card counting systems, to see if one of the other proposed methods gives an even bigger advantage. Thus, becoming a perfect blackjack player is a lifelong journey. This page discusses the concept of playing perfect blackjack and what that might mean to different gamblers. Once you finish, you should have a better understanding of the strategies and skill sets needed to play twenty-one like a master.
Several e-books tout the term "perfect blackjack," suggesting that their strategies offer a positive expectation blackjack experience. "Positive expectation" means the expected payback is over 100%, meaning no house edge exists and you have the advantage over the casino. Since the perfect blackjack guides appear to offer basic strategy charts with one or two modifications, I'm leery of this strategy advice. While differences of opinion exist on which card counting techniques should be used, the basic strategy charts are produced through simulations using billions of theoretical hands of blackjack. The probability calculations are mathematically precise, so deviations to the strategy require explanation and a mathematical model to support those changes. If these books were touted as "advanced strategy" instead of "perfect blackjack", I'd give them more credence.
Basic strategy stipulates a house edge in most games. Most basic strategy charts teach you how to lower the house edge to its theoretical minimum--not beat the casinos. In fact, anytime I read "beat the casinos" and someone is trying to sell me something, I tend to be skeptical. While blackjack is a game which can be beaten, this only happens through card counting and betting much more at the right moment--not modifications to basic strategy.
Optimal Blackjack Betting
Don Schlesinger's book Blackjack Attack discusses optimal blackjack betting. This method uses a combination of basic strategy and the hi-lo card counting method. The suggestion is no human can be perfect, but this is the optimal betting method for blackjack. Despite its aggressive title, Blackjack Attack is a thinking player's strategy book for gamblers who don't mind a little math. To master play optimal blackjack, you'll need to master card counting techniques and memorize charts. For further reading, Dr. Richard Werthamer's Risk and Reward: The Science of Casino Blackjack also discusses the concept of optimal blackjack playing.
Bad Blackjack Strategies that Are Perfectly Awful
Beware friends and family members who have can't-miss blackjack strategies. Unless they talk about a blackjack basic strategy chart or legitimate card counting book, this strategy advice is almost always bad. Common losing strategies including the "mimic the dealer" strategy, the "don't bust" strategy, and the "assume a ten" strategy. The mimic the dealer strategy is particularly bad because it doesn't allow the player to double or split, so it has a house edge of 5.48%. The don't bust strategy assumes you never hit on a 12 or more, hoping the dealer's frequent busts will outweigh the losses you have on weak hands. They don't, so the house edge is 3.91%.
The worst blackjack strategy of all is the one where you assume the dealer is holding a 10 as their hole card. This pessimistic form of blackjack means you're going to be wrong about 70% of the time. While a .300 percentage would make you a Hall of Fame baseball hitter, in blackjack, the assume-10 strategy produces a house edge of 10.03%. You might as well be playing keno.
Perfect Play Blackjack App
Of course, some people typing in "play perfect blackjack" might be searching the "Perfect Play Blackjack Card Counter" by Daniel Aisen. This is an application you can download on iTunes which helps you learn the art of card counting on your mobile device. Using any device, including a cell phone, smart phone, Android phone, BlackBerry, Windows phone, iPhone, iPod, iPad, or tablet computer, you'll be able to count cards. Since these are mobile gadgets, they can be used to help you in online gambling situations. In time, you'll get the system down well enough you won't need a counter device. The Perfect Play Blackjack app used to sell for $20 on iTunes, but Daniel Aisen has now made this a free download.