Modifying Microgaming Blackjack Strategy CardBy: Joan Peppin, Friday September 17th 2010
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Blackjack is a game of strategy. It involves the player making several decisions during the course of one hand. With optimum strategy the house edge is around 0.5%. Some of the leading online gaming software developers, like Microgaming, provide for all players to wager optimally by introducing a strategy card into the software. Players can refer to this card from within the game before each move. Or they can put the game on Auto Play mode, which automatically makes moves according to the strategy card.
Though Microgaming incorporates the strategy card based on optimum strategy as the default version, it allows players to modify the strategy card and save the changes. Let is be said upfront that this is something that most players should not do. Making any changes would generally lead to less than optimum strategy. Yet one could envisage certain situations in which expert blackjack players may want to change the strategy card. These are discussed below.
Optimum blackjack strategy is developed through computer simulations. Different agencies may have carried out the simulation under different conditions. For an overwhelmingly large number of moves the different simulations would give identical results, but for a few peripheral moves the strategies may be differently defined. Hence there are different strategy cards for the same blackjack variant. If an expert player is used to a card other than the one chosen by Microgaming he may want to make the required changes. Many gamblers have great faith in gut feeling and let their intuition override logic. Such players may make changes in the given Microgaming strategy table.
The article now describes how changes can be made to the Strategy Card. The first step is to put the game in the Expert Mode. This can be done by clicking on the Expert button below the game table. Then the strategy card can be revealed by clicking on the Strategy button. The card is in the usual format with the player’s cards in the rows and the dealer’s face up card in the columns. The optimum moves from the various available are shown in the cells.
Consider the player having a pair of fives and the dealer having a six as the face up card. The optimum move is Double as indicated in the appropriate cell. If the player wants to change it he should left click on the cell. Please note that the description below just explains the mechanics of the process and is not a recommended change. A box appears showing four options, which are Action, Condition, Else and Other. The first three are highlighted implying that they can be changed. Other is in gray meaning it is not applicable in this case. The software for changing the strategy card is common across all Microgaming blackjack games and therefore reflects factors not applicable to a particular game as well. Moving the cursor over Action shows the four available moves Hit, Stand, Double and Split. If the player wants to convert that to Hit he should click the Hit option. The Condition specifies the number of player’s cards under which this move should be made. For example the player wants to Hit only if he has three or less cards then he should select that particular option. The Else option specifies the move to be made if the condition is not met. In this case the condition could be that the player has four cards dealt. The only other possible move is Stand and that is automatically shown. The player should then click Save and Close to save the change. The player can revert to the original Microgaming strategy card any time he wants to by clicking the Default button.
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