The province of Alberta is home to a great many land-based casinos, from Grande Prairie in the northwest to Medicine Hat in the southeast. But the gaming capital of Alberta is undisputedly Calgary. Not only is the city home to the Flames and the Stampeders, but it is also home to six brick-and-mortar casino venues.

Having ventured around Calgary a lot, I thought it high time that I embraced this obviously very popular pastime of Alberta. Now, while games like roulette, baccarat, craps, and the slot machines are fun, I wanted to play a game that I could beat with strategy and skill, so I’ve turned to blackjack.

Looking around the six casinos of Calgary, I was spoiled for choice for blackjack tables, so if I can master blackjack strategy, I can game in any of them, from Elbow River Casino to the Cowboys Casino.

As the game of blackjack can be used as a tool to beat the casino, many highly-skilled players of the past have crafted strategies and theories as a means of helping people like me jump into the game with some good
strategies under my belt. From its very beginnings, blackjack strategy has proven that there are near-sure-fire ways of reducing the house edge to next-to-zero.

The beginning of a surge of blackjack strategies

Blackjack wasn’t always the popular table game that it is these days, almost always taking a back seat to craps and slots in the past. However, having discovered the intellectual and strategic side of the game, people began to
flock to the blackjack tables.

 With mathematics on their side, a quartet comprised of Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel, and James McDermott devised a paper for the Journal of the American Statistical Association detailing blackjack strategy. Published in September 1956, they called it ‘optimum strategy’ and, by deploying it perfectly, it cut the house edge in blackjack down until very close to zero.

Nowadays, it is known as the ‘basic strategy’ with many professional blackjack players and expert outlets using it as the foundation for creating much more comprehensive strategy sets.

Studying fundamental blackjack strategy

I have long had a base understanding of the game of blackjack as the motions of the game are rather straightforward, but the Canadian blackjack strategy that I learned online took my skill to the next level. By building into set tips and actions to perform when certain cards come up, I have become a much stronger player.

Shrewd strategy and the reasoning behind it, such as to always refuse the insurance bet and knowing the right times to make a blackjack split continually expand the foundations of strong blackjack play. From there, I learned more advanced blackjack strategy that invoked a bit of card counting.

With my knowledge of the game bolstered by expert yet concise blackjack strategy, I’m ready to take on the casinos of Calgary on land and online. That has always been the appeal of blackjack: beating the house at its own game with a tool other than luck.

Post by Otto Mattic.

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