Blackjack is one of the most popular games to play at any casino. This is partly due to its overall presence and popularity, but more so for the chance to use blackjack strategies. Most games in a casino will be based on luck and random chance. In fact, many of the most popular casino games like roulette or keno will completely rely on luck and you will have little interaction that can change the outcome of the game beyond how you bet from play to play.
With blackjack, you can use skill to lower the house edge online and in person. By playing correctly, gamblers can slim that house edge to one of the smallest margins in the casino.
In this guide, we aim to provide you with a range of gaming strategies to implement for the best possible outcomes. You may need to modify the way you approach the game and pick and choose from the tips offered to suit your game. We will cover:
- Basic Strategy
- Advanced Strategy
- Bankroll Strategy
- Tips to Enjoying your time
While no advice can guarantee success, learning to implement certain strategies in your game will give you a better chance of coming out on top.
There are numerous blackjack strategies that will work and help to win you money. The easiest one to get started with is basic strategy. This is a mathematical way of playing every hand based on what the dealer is showing. While memorising this can be a daunting task, most casinos will sell cheat sheets in the gift shop. You can also print one online for free, like the one here.
When to Split Your Hand
Splitting is a popular strategy you can employ if you are dealt two of the same card (especially 8s or Aces), where you can split those cards into two separate hands to try and maximise the edge.
You will have to double your bet, with half to one card and half to the other. The dealer will give you two more cards, one for each of the new hands you have created.
There are two main instances when would you split your hand:
- When Dealt two 8s: When you’re dealt 8s, you want to split because 16 is a miserable hand to begin with. The reason for this is that you are still below where the dealer will stand (17) but any card six or higher will bust you out. Otherwise, 8 is a fine starting card, so starting two new hands with it is a great idea.
- When dealt two Aces: There are various reasons to split this hand, including:
A player splitting aces starts with two hands with an 11 value. Should they get a 10 or royal picture card on either hand, they will score a blackjack and 1.5x their stake.
If either hand doesn’t reach 21, the player should consider whether the hand is in the 17-21 target range and try to get each hand there. A risk-taking player may opt to hit the highest hands, knowing they can reduce both or one of their original aces to a value of 1 (if necessary).
Splitting is a worthy strategy both in brick-and-mortar casinos and online.
Avoid Insurance Bets
Insurance is an option provided by the casino to gamblers when the dealer is showing an Ace. Most insurance policies will offer the player 3:2 odds on the dealer making blackjack, which sounds more enticing than it is. Players will lose money on insurance bets in the long run. There are times when, if counting cards, players may pick up an edge by taking insurance. But since players cannot count cards online, they should never use the insurance option.
Be Careful of Surrender
Surrendering is another option blackjack dealers offer that players are better off ignoring. When players surrender, they can recoup half of their bet, but have to give up the other half in exchange for surrendering their hand. There are times surrendering may seem like a plausible option — like when the player is dealt a 16 and the dealer shows a 9 or 10 — but players are better off just standing in the long run.
The exception to this, like with insurance, is that card counters may be able to use the option effectively, but for online gambling, surrendering is not a viable option.
- Take the Doubt out of the Double Down
This is the most known about blackjack strategy and is very simple to use. When you double down, you put an equal bet to your original and receive just one more card.
You get the chance to double your money on a very strong starting hand. If you have 11 total as your first 2 cards, you should always double down, since nearly a third of the deck will give you 21 and more than half the cards will push you to 17 or higher.
Players may also wish to double on 9s and 10s in certain situations. We recommend you consult the table below to find out when to implement this strategy. This option is equally viable online and in person.
Advanced Blackjack Strategies
Now that we’ve covered the basics of Blackjack, here are 3 advanced strategies that can make the difference during a game.
- Mimic the Dealer: This strategy recommends players gamble by the dealer’s rules, hitting with 16 or less and standing on soft 17s or higher. Players never double or split, either. Take into consideration that this strategy creates a house edge of 5.48 percent.
- Assume 10 in the Hole: In this case, the player always assumes the unseen dealer card is a 10 and bets accordingly. For instance, if the dealer is showing a 9 and the player has 18, he or she would hit, even though anything higher than a 3 will bust out the player.
- Card Counting: Card counting is the most complex blackjack strategy. It requires immense memory skills and the ability to do quick math in your head. The purpose of counting cards is to get an idea of when the deck is especially stacked with high or low cards. While you can never guess exactly what card will come, knowing the deck is full of high cards is a great benefit. You can make bigger bets when the count is in your favor to maximize winnings. To learn more about counting cards check out com.
While learning to count cards can lead to big payoffs — and also potential banning — from brick-and-mortar casinos, it’s worth noting that the strategy is impossible to implement online. The reason counting works in person is that it’s unfeasible to shuffle hundreds of cards between every hand. Online, though, casinos can virtually shuffle cards between each hand, rendering card counting useless.
Advanced Blackjack strategies have the ability to provoke a big turnaround in a game, both for the positive and negative. It is for this reason that only players with enough experience should use them.
Players should consider how long they want to play and how much money they are willing to lose when deciding on bankroll and bet size. Assuming players follow basic blackjack strategy perfectly, the house edge should come in around one percent. If players are making $10 bets, that means they should expect to lose $10 for every 10 hands played. Online, it’s not unreasonable to expect to see two hands a minute or more, so a half-hour of play on $10 bets will cost a player an average of $60.
Results can swing pretty widely from that average, so players should provide themselves a nice cushion with their bankroll, but never go in with more money than you’re willing to lose.
Top 5 Tips for Online Blackjack
Aside from the strategy revealed above in this article, it is vitally important that you remember several tips when playing blackjack:
- Tip 1: Try to bring down the house advantage to less than 0.5%. Practice this on free games before you wager real money bets.
- Tip 2: There is no card counting online because the digital cards are shuffled after every hand.
- Tip 3: Be sure to check the bonus rules at your casino. Sites will often credit players only a small percentage of the wagering requirement for cashing out welcome bonuses.
- Tip 4: No matter how well you play, there is always going to be a house advantage in online blackjack, so don’t go chasing your losses.
- Tip 5: Blackjack is fun to play but be sure to cash out after a nice run of winning hands. More importantly, remember it’s just a game!
Perfecting blackjack strategies requires a lot of practice. Even without the complication of card counting, memorizing basic strategies, like when to hit, stand, split or double, is a task that requires repetition and practice. Lucky for you, online casinos are the perfect place for that since players can play more hands in less time than in brick-and-mortar gambling halls.
To start playing try any of the casinos offering blackjack below, although our favourite blackjack casino is Royal Vegas, which we recommend you check out.