Blackjack players have been looking for ways to improve their winning odds for decades now. Countless strategies have surfaced over the years as a result. The bad news is most of them are inefficient and work to the player’s detriment, increasing rather than reducing the house edge.
One popular approach some people choose to adopt is the so-called “mimic the dealer” strategy. The name itself pretty much indicates what this strategy is all about, i.e. the player obeys by the fixed house rules their dealer is expected to follow.
People who decide to give this approach a try usually have the following reasoning: “The dealer seems to beat me all the time. Maybe if I mimic their plays, I will have a level playing field with the dealer?”.
The question is does this strategy work and if not, what are the reasons for its inefficiency. In this article, SuperCasinoSites provides the answers and tackles the main faults of this approach. Also featured are several other flawed strategies to avoid along with the tactics that effectively reduce the house edge.
Dealer Rules in Blackjack
The Mimic the Dealer strategy is beyond simple and can be implemented in both online and landbased blackjack games. All you have to do is follow the same fixed rules of play as your dealer. Of course, some of these would vary from one casino to the next but here is a brief recap of how to play like a blackjack dealer.
- You must always hit totals of 16 or under.
- You must stand on all totals of 17 or higher*.
- You should never take insurance.
- You can only make plays the dealer is allowed to make, which means no doubling down or splitting pairs.
- You cannot surrender your hands.
*Here we would like to remind players that there are variations in the dealer standing rules. S17 games require the dealer to stand on all totals of 17 while at H17 tables, the dealer stands on hard 17 but hits soft 17. The S17 rule favors the player so if you really do intend to play like a dealer, you should always hit soft totals of 17. That is all there is to this approach.
At first glance, playing like this seems like the smart thing to do because the house has an advantage over players. It follows the house representative is playing in a way that enables the house to maintain its edge, right? No, not really. Read on to understand why.
Mimicking the Dealer Strategy and Its Impact on the House Edge
In order to understand why mimicking the dealer is an ineffective strategy, you must first get a proper grasp on how the house obtains its edge in blackjack. Of course, you should also have a good idea of how to properly play blackjack in the first place.
Recreational blackjack players generally fall into three distinct categories. Some follow their intuition when playing their hands, which is basically the same as guessing. Others rely on strategies like mimicking the dealer approach. The third group uses the basic playing strategy, which is the only mathematically sound way to reduce the house edge in blackjack but more on this later.
When asked how the casino gets its advantage, most people would answer the house edge results from players not knowing how to play their hands. This is partially true because the house edge increases when you hit, stand, split or double on gut instinct. However, there is more to it than players guessing how to act on their hands.
Other Flawed Blackjack Strategies to Avoid
If you think mimicking the dealer is a bad playing strategy, wait until you see the travesties we discuss in brief below. All of these strategies and systems have been proven mathematically ineffective and are guaranteed to lead to the downfall of any blackjack player who uses them. Avoid them at all costs no matter what “experts” swear by their efficiency.
Strategies That Effectively Reduce or Eliminate the House Edge
All of the above-listed strategies, along with mimicking the dealer, have been proven to fail players in the long. The good news is blackjack has been analyzed in-depth by many mathematicians, who have proven with absolute certainty there is a right way and a wrong way to play each hand. Their efforts and analysis have birthed what is known as basic blackjack strategy.