Blackjack is one of the most player-friendly casino games ever with the lowest house edge. It seems an easy bit at first, but as in any game, it is essential to understand the rules and know the basics to dive in fully.
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There is no strict formula that will continuously bring you a significant sum at Blackjack. But the game of Blackjack is really much simpler than you might imagine. Now, let’s come to the million-dollar question: How to play Blackjack and win? We have found some hints and tips to help improve your skills and get more confident about playing online Blackjack. Follow them, and you can easily increase your odds of winning.
- Know the basic strategy
The first and the primary step to success while playing Blackjack is to know basic strategy. Sounds very simple, but most people consider it unnecessary. Whether you are a newbie or a pro, take as much time as necessary and nail down the basics before you begin playing for real money. The basic strategy was developed in the 1960s to calculate the best possible move for players in all circumstances according to their cards and the dealer’s upcard, and it still remains an essential part of Blackjack. The initial house edge is 8%, and depending on the rules, the use of basic strategy may reduce it to less than 0.5% over the player.
The privilege of playing Blackjack online is that you can always take a look at the rules to consider your next move. You are not playing against a professional, which means the dealer has the same chances of winning as you do. Print down the basics, and whenever you are in doubt, simply look at the rules.
- Hard-hitting and staying — If your cards total is 12, and the dealer’s upcard is 4 through 6, always stand. The only exception to this rule is when you have a total of 12, and the dealer has 2 or 3; in this case, you hit until you have 17 or more points. Always play as the dealer’s hole card is a 10. This rule is easily explained by simple math. There is a probability of approximately 49% for the house to bust having 2, 3, 4, 5, or six. Thus, these cards are usually referred to as the dealer’s break cards.
- Soft-hitting and staying — You should always hit soft 17 and lower (soft hand is a hand consisting of an Ace) and hit soft 18 against the dealer’s 9, 10, and Ace. This technique may surprise you, but if assuming that the dealer has a 10 as a hole card, you must always hit in these cases to have the best chances of winning.
- Surrender — This strategy is a rare benefit that online casino may offer you and the world’s most misunderstood rule. In fact, using this strategy properly may be a smart play, depending on the cards you have. Surrender all the 16s against the dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace. Sixteen is considered as the worst hand you can get with 75% chances of losing if you hit or stay. That is why surrendering, in this case, is a smart solution to save you money.
- Hard double down — Double down on 11s unless the dealer has an Ace, and always double down on 10s unless the dealer has a ten or an Ace.
- Soft double down — Always double down on soft 17 and 18 against the dealer’s 3 through 6, 15 and 16 against 4 through 6, and 13 and 14 against 5 and 6.
- Splitting — Split Aces and 8s. Two Aces are either a 12 or 2 points, which is not the best hand in either variant. But separating Aces gives you two 11s. Two 8s which gives you a 16, as we have mentioned before, is the worst hand you could get.
Never split 10s or 5s. 20 and 10 are a strong hand, so do not risk splitting them.
Split 9s unless the dealer’s upcard is a 7, 10, or an Ace. 18 is not the best hand, but two 9s give you much more potential for winning.
Split 2s, 3s, and 7s against 7 or less, 6s against 6 or less, and 4s against 5 and 6. Take advantage of the dealer’s weakest cards, and hopefully, they will wind up busting or stuck with a weak 17.
The key to succeeding at Blackjack is to follow the rules. Basic strategy is called “basic” for a reason; it is meant to be effective because of its simplicity. When you are getting creative and are not sure about it, you will end up losing. Until you are experienced enough to use more creative ways of play, stick to the KISS principle. Keep It Simple Silly.
- Always check the dealer’s upcard before taking action
Check whether the dealer has a bad hand with 2–6. When this is the case, they have a chance to be busted, so you can relax a bit and play it easy. If they have 7 though Ace, play rather aggressively. Always consider your actions after you’ve looked at your dealer’s upcard, and checked basic strategy.
- Skip playing the insurance
The house advantages of 6% with an insurance bet. Considering this, playing the insurance is not the smartest move, as you will be paid off only your original bet, assuming the dealer has a Blackjack. This bet is designed to take advantage of inexperienced players. However, professionals may use this side bet, as they can better calculate the further moves.
- Set your limits
Do not wager more than you can afford yourself to lose; this is the rule. A survey proved that 75% of the players start winning at some point, although only 4% go home as winners. It’s imperative to know when to stop, so you don’t wind up losing a fortune. Set your money limits so you know the amount you can lose at ones.
Reading and re-reading different strategies, tips, and advice is always essential, but it won’t make you earn money on the spot. The best way to gain experience is to practice. There is a plethora of free trials where you can go through the game to adapt and attempt to bear in mind the basic strategy. So keep it printed and in front of you no matter what.
- Play with a live dealer
The whole game of Blackjack is based on math and card counting. If you are not somewhere in Atlantic City, choose live dealer games over automatic Blackjack. All online casinos use RNG (Random Number Generator), which makes impossible to count cards while playing. Online Blackjack casinos are designed to be resistant to card counting, so whenever a game is finished, all the cards are shuffled, and each new hand is dealt from a fresh shoe. However, when choosing to play with a live dealer, the cards don’t shuffle after every round, so you can use your super math skills.
As a plus, you can always communicate with the dealer or other players via a chatbox!
Blackjack Expert Tips
John Marchell, a gambling expert, has the simplest strategy for rookies, which is actually a basic strategy, but cut to a minimum:
- Stand every time you have 12–16, and the dealer has 2–6;
- Hit when you have 12–16, and the dealer’s upcard is 7–Ace;
- Always split 8s and Aces but never split 5s and 10s;
- Double down on 11 against the dealer’s 2–10 and double down or hit Aces–6.
All the world’s famous gamblers and card counters, such as Edward O. Thorp, Russ Hamilton, Arnold Snyder, and Bryce Carlson have all started counting their cards after it.
Best Blackjack Betting Strategies
Okay, now that you’ve learned the rules, printed out the basic Blackjack strategy, and mastered card counting, let’s take a deep dive into the cheesiest part — your bankroll management. You do not want to be down before you even start enjoying the game, do you? That’s exactly why you also need to learn about Blackjack betting strategies.
1-3-2-6 Blackjack Betting Strategy: Mixed Bets
This strategy cannot be simpler. The numbers stand for your bets’ index after you win a hand of Blackjack.
So let’s imagine your bet is $100. If you lose four bets in a row, all your bets would have been $100. Without a winning sequence, you cannot continue using this strategy. But if you win 4 bets in a row, your bet would be $100, $300, $200, and $600. If you lose your 3rd bet, you will have to start from the beginning. Why mixing up the bet sizes? With 1-3-2-6 strategy you will not lose all your money at once.
The betting strategy is not made to win but to not overspend your money.
Oscars Blackjack Betting Strategy: Conservative Approach
This strategy can be easily used not only at Blackjack but at all other games. As a rookie, you wouldn’t want to lose a fortune from the start; that is why winning little by little always helps. The strategy’s main idea is to raise the bet every time you win. Although this betting strategy requires patience and time, your wallet will thank you.
Martingale Strategy: Risky Games
Also called the aggressive approach, the Martingale betting strategy tells you to double your bet every time you lose. What? Sounds like the worst strategy ever… but give it a chance — the Martingale system tends to be the best one when it comes to the question of extra cash.
There exist only a few tricky bits to mention here.
Firstly, you need a good budget to invest if you wish to gamble using this strategy. If you own less than $500 on your balance, better skip it. Beware, that you need a sum of money large enough to keep doubling your bets until you finally win.
Secondly, you need to feel when to stop. You may lose a significant amount if you do not know when to quit. As soon as you gain extra cash, we advise ending the game immediately. The Martingale strategy doesn’t work at all for long-run games.
Finally yet importantly, remember that this strategy works only when there are no table limits. For instance, if there is a table limit of $500 and you lose 6 times in a row with the initial bet of a tenner, you won’t be able to bet the 7th time, and you will end up losing your money.
Blackjack betting strategies are not made for winning more money but to help you with your bankroll management and discourage you from making chaotic bets. There are no rules that say that, by following one or another strategy, you will gain 50% more chances of winning. The first two strategies are the safest and the most common for novices. Yet, if you want to have some fun, don’t forget that you need to have enough money to keep double betting until the winning point if you want to try the aggressive Martingale strategy.
Our Verdict on Blackjack Tips
In the final analysis, winning at online Blackjack is not about magic or sorcery. Stick to basic strategy, practice every day, choose the tactics that fit you the most, and voila — you are almost a professional gambler!