Over the past decade, we’ve seen huge technological advancements allowing humans to explore new boundaries from different industries. One of the most talked-about technology is machine learning and AI, which is used for solving complex problems that humans cannot predict.
However, these technologies heavily rely on data, and the more information you add to these technologies, the more accurate the result will be. This led to data becoming the most valuable resource on the planet, and we’ve still haven’t explored the full potential of this technology.
Machine learning is computer software designed to find a pattern of actions using data from the past. It sounds like it is perfect for the Casino industry, especially to find the most effective basic blackjack strategy.
Big Data machine learning is still not available for the vast public, especially since we don’t have tons of data collected, but in the future, this will change.
This led us to the question about how effective is Machine Learning in increasing winnings at Blackjack?
The “Winning” Blackjack Strategy
Before diving deeper into using technology for beating casino games like Blackjack, first, we need to understand the complexity of the game and whether or not this is possible.
Blackjack is a game of chance where there is no winning strategy since the rules are set up so the house always has an edge. You can improve other elements of the game like budget management and risk analysis, but you don’t have an impact on the outcome in any way. In other words, if you are playing long enough, you’ll end up losing your money.
The best way to end up profitable playing Blackjack is to use a strategy that will minimize losses. Such a strategy will help you stretch your budget as far as possible and hope for short-term good luck.
Blackjack has been studied by computer scientists and mathematicians for a long time and even experts are having a tough time coming up with a long-term winning strategy.
However, back in the 1960s, a mathematician named Edward O. Thorp published a book called Beat the Dealer, where he included patterns that will help you increase your winnings.
The classic Baseline Blackjack Strategy looks like this:
Basically, he outlined three different tables for different outcomes of the game. For instance, the table on the upper right is for soft hands, the table on the left is for hard hands, and the table on the lower right is for pairs.
- Soft Hand – Is a hand with an Ace that counts either as 1 or 11, without having a total value exceeding 21.
- Pairs – Self-explanatory
- Hard Hand – Everything else reduced to a total hand value
The columns on the top of each table indicate the dealer’s upcard, which is the base of this strategy.
The cell value represents the best possible actions that will result in increased winnings.
- H – A strategy to hit
- S – A strategy to stand
- D – A strategy to double down
- P – for split
Even though this is called the” Winning Blackjack Strategy” it is far from perfect and it does not guarantee that you’ll walk away profitable.
However, to see the difference between the human and a machine in terms of decision-making on Blackjack, we have to look at the best strategy for Blackjack coming out of a machine.
Generic Algorithm Used on Blackjack to Create “Winning Strategy”
The generic algorithm in machine learning uses principles from evolution that are used for solving problems. It analyzes the number of potential solutions to a problem repeatedly, and in the end, it comes out with the most successful options you can choose from.
In the case of Blackjack, the potential solutions are obvious. For example, if you play soft hands, how much money will you end up winning?
When the Generic Algorithm was used on a Blackjack game, the results were very surprising, and opposite from the Edward O. Thorp strategy, at least from the first results.
Machine learning is trying to find a pattern in blackjack for every hand, whereas the human best-winning strategy heavily relies on mathematical occasions.
Remember, machine learning is becoming more accurate over time as it runs simulations of possible outcomes. This is why the best possible strategy for Blackjack was very random after a few runs.
However, after running 100 simulations using machine learning, we can see that the algorithm came out with a “winning strategy” that is close to identical to the strategy of Edward O. Thorp.
It is worth mentioning that in both scenarios, you’ll end up losing money in the long run.
Can Machine Learning Increase Your Blackjack Winnings?
As of now, there isn’t good enough software that has enough data and capabilities to predict the best possible outcomes at certain points in Blackjack. However, as the technology becomes more powerful, we can see the use of this technology in the casino industry.
However, since most Blackjack games are now going digital, they will rely on software that generates random occasions which are very hard to predict or analyze. In other words, as the machine learning technology advances, so will the software that runs online blackjack games and big casinos won’t allow being beaten by a machine learning software that is available to most people.
One of the best ways to use machine learning technology for blackjack is to find the most possible outcomes for every card and use this strategy in the short term. Once you’ve been playing for a while, the house edge will start to eat away your winnings, and it is best if you leave the table.
In the future, we will see many practices in the casino world where both the house and players will be using machine learning to find a pattern or solve a solution in a game, but this won’t affect your potential earnings for each session.
Still, with all the technological advancements that are happening at a very fast pace, anything is possible. Maybe we will reach a technology that can handle huge data and more accurately predict the outcome of each hand, but in the end, this technology is still analyzing the probability of a scenario and cannot guarantee your win.