A Complete Guide to Blackjack Odds and Strategy

online blackjack

WHAT IS BLACKJACK?

Blackjack is a popular casino card game with a rich history that incorporates a little bit of luck mixed with a lot of skill and strategy. It is a popular game variant offered at both land-based and online casinos for real-money wagers. As the game with the best RTP (99%+) of all casinos games, it is a favourite among punters looking for a less risky gaming environment.

Did you know? The first mention of the word ‘Blackjack’ comes from a collection of short stories written by author Miguel de Cervantes.

Blackjack is based on an initial two-card hand. The goal of the game is to reach a hand value closer to 21 than the dealer, without going over. The game is named after the highest hand in the game. An Ace and a card with the value of 10 is a two-card 21 or Blackjack (also known as a ‘natural’).  Continue with our guide to learn more about blackjack rules and strategy.

ONLINE BLACKJACK TABLE GAME OPTIONS

When loading onto a prominent online casino that supports blackjack games, you’ll be faced with various game options from top game providers like Netent, Microgaming, Evolution Gaming, Ezugi, Playtech, Felt Studios, Play’n GO, Yggdrasil, and so many more top-class studios. All the various titles can be split into two primary game categories – namely virtual and live casino blackjack.

Online Virtual Blackjack – Play the Blackjack Odds in Privacy

Virtual Blackjack is played like a video game where the casino environment has been recreated through computer-generated graphics. Only you play in each round, so you can place the bets in your own time and simply press ‘deal’ when you are ready. The results are then produced by random number generator software. This is the perfect game type to begin with if you are just starting off in the game and need to familiarise yourself with the blackjack rules, the controls, and the passage of play.

Online Live Dealer Blackjack – Play the Blackjack Odds in an Immersive Environment

Online live dealer casino games have become all the rage in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. A real dealer hosts the gameplay via a live video stream to your device from a casino film studio. Your game interface meshes perfectly with the casino display in front of you, making it feel like you are right there on the floor in the thick of the action. This immersive and interactive version of the game presents a perfectly balanced experience between retail and online casino gameplay.

Did You Know: The undisputed industry leader in Live Casino games is Evolution Gaming. They dominated the last decade with 10 straight EGR Awards for Live Casino provision. Other popular game providers include Ezugi, Pragmatic Play, Playtech, and Microgaming.

live dealer blackjack

There are clear advantages of playing live dealer blackjack, opposed to playing virtual blackjack, even though the basic blackjack rules remain the same. Firstly, playing at a live table with a real dealer makes the outcomes in the game more transparent. No questions arise over the legitimacy or bias of random generator software, as each hand is dealt, naturally. Secondly, live dealer blackjack allows for a more social aspect to the game. Not only can you hear and see a real live dealer at the table, but you can converse with them by using a nifty live chat portal. In fact, you can chat to your fellow players at the table if youé like to.

4 TOP-RATED BLACKJACK CASINOS

Here is a list of some of the top online casinos offering the best blackjack odds to their players. Take advantage of some of their fabulous bonus offers when you sign up and boost your bankroll from your first deposit.

Bitstarz Casino: Read the review

TrueFlip Casino: Read the review

Mr. Green: Read the Review

Casumo: Read the Review

HOW TO PLAY  – Learn the Blackjack Table Rules

The Blackjack table offering is a fairly simple game to learn with fairly consistent Blackjack odds. But, before you are able to take your seat at a table and outplay the dealer, you’ll need to learn a few basics first. The very first thing to know is the Blackjack table card values. This is also really easy to remember: Cards valued 1-10 are worth their face value, while all royal suits are worth 10. An ace is worth either 1 or 11, depending on which option suits your hand best at the time.

The Passage of Play

After you have mastered the card values, you’ll need to learn the passage of play. When you load up a blackjack game at your favourite online casino, there is a specific sequence for the gameplay, called the Passage of Play. The standard sequence on most games follows a similar pattern and holds to similar blackjack rules:

  • Drag your desired bet (in chips) onto the betting space in front of you on the screen.
  • Select ‘Deal’ once you are happy with the wager.
  • You will receive 2 face-up cards
  • The dealer will receive one face-up card and a hole card (face-down card).
  • If the dealer’s ‘’up-card’’ is an Ace, the dealer will ask you if you want to take out insurance.
  • You can now ask for more cards. Press ‘’hit’’ for another.
  • If you have a hand that you are happy with, select to ‘’stay/stick’’.
  • If you hit too high and exceed a hand value of 21, you will go ‘’bust’’ and the game will end. You will lose your bet.
  • Once you stay/stick, the dealer will reveal their cards. They may select more cards in an attempt to beat your hand. Depending on the table rules, they may have to stick on a value of 17 or more.
  • Should the dealer busts, you automatically win 1:1 on your wager.
  • If your hand is stronger than the dealer’s, you win 1:1 on your wager.
  • Should you land a blackjack, you win the round straight away and collect 3:2 on your wager.

The best way to practice the passage of play and learn blackjack rules is on demo virtual blackjack games. Here, you can experiment with the toggles and dials and familiarise yourself with the sequence of events in the most natural way without risking real money. It’s never easy learning something parrot-fashion. It’s always easier to watch it all unfold in real life.

Additional Blackjack Table Rules and Options

There are two additional game options available in every standard game of blackjack. These include the double-up or the split. These are vital options that could see you increase your Blackjack odds and payout in the event that you successfully pull them off. Read below for more information on how these play out.

The Double Up

In the event that you receive a hand and believe that you only need one more decent card to gain an advantage, you can select to double/double up your bet. In this instance, you will double your initial stake on the hand and the dealer will give you one last card. Should you win the hand, the house will pay out a match of your new doubled bet amount. Of course, if you lose, its a way bigger loss.

Splitting

In the event that you receive two cards of the same value (2x aces, 2x kings, etc), you can opt to split the hand into two different hands. The dealer will then split the cards and hit another card on top of each. This effectively gives you two separate hands. You will need to match your initial bet on the second hand. You now have double the chance of beating the dealer. Of course, if both your hands win, you will be rewarded with more than you anticipated at the beginning of the round.

 

blackjack strategy charts

COMMON STRATEGIES WHEN PLAYING BLACKJACK

We should make clear at the start that there is no guaranteed way of winning a game of blackjack. All you can do, as a player, is try to learn the optimum strategy to increase your chances of walking away with a profit. No prescribed methods guarantee success, but they do help narrow the odds against the dealer. Here are some of the more popular strategies adopted across the blackjack market. Try them out to see which suits your game style best.

1. Basic Blackjack Strategy

If you want to have any chance of beating the house when it comes to blackjack, then you need to learn basic strategy before you learn anything else. Your blackjack odds will be at their optimal if you learn to play the base game well.

Basic Blackjack strategy is a system that tells you how to play every possible hand in a game of blackjack. It will tell you when to hit, stand, surrender, split or double-down. In the long run, it could help you make more money than you lose during a game session.

Basic strategy has been in place for years and is constantly evolving to fit more contemporary blackjack rules. It is important that you remember that it does not ensure that you will win every hand that you play. Instead, it will ensure that over time, you are best positioned to make more money than you lose.

Did You know? Your chances of being dealt a natural blackjack are 4.8%

Basic strategy is widely available on a chart that you can find with a simple google search. Some of these cards may be slightly different from one another as a result of rule changes, but 99% of them will be the same.

A casino is, however, not going to let you pull out a card when you are sat at a table, and most online casinos do not give you enough time to read a chart before making a decision on your hand. That means that you going to have to commit the chart to memory. This can be difficult but there are plenty of tutorials available around the internet that can help you work out a system to memorise the cards.

2. Blackjack Rules on Insurance

An insurance bet is a side bet offered to you when the dealer’s face-up card is an ace. The bet will typically pay out 2:1 blackjack odds and the casino will never allow you to bet more than half your original stake.

Example: If you bet $20, and you’re dealt 17 while the dealer’s card is an ace, you could place an insurance bet of $10. If the dealer has blackjack, you lose your original stake of $20, but would win your insurance bet at 2:1 and receive $20 back from that, effectively breaking even.

While blackjack insurance bets sound like a good idea, when you break down the odds, it isn’t worth it. The dealer’s odds of having a blackjack when they have an ace showing are 9:4, while your bet is priced at 2:1. Your chances of losing that bet are greater than your odds of success. Maximise your blackjack odds by steering clear of this betting option.

3. Blackjack Rules on the Surrender Strategy

In blackjack, there are typically four basic game options:

  • Hit: Take another card
  • Stick/Stay: Receive no more cards
  • Double-Down: Take one more card and double your bet
  • Split: Split two matching cards to form two hands instead of one. You will need to repeat your bet on the second hand

However, some casinos may also offer you another option called ‘surrender’. The surrender option is incredibly rare and is typically only on offer in casinos from Europe or Asia, and it is rarely an option at online casinos. Surrendering may have negative connotations but it can be a shrewd move. If surrender is offered, it means you can surrender half of your stake when you receive your first hand if you believe you are not going to win. The move is, however, not possible if the dealer has a blackjack.

Knowing when to surrender can always be difficult. As a rule, if you have less than 50% chance of winning the round, then it is better to surrender your hand, lose half of your stake, and move on to the next round. Studying and learning the aforementioned blackjack strategy cards will go a long way towards helping you know when to surrender.

The following are the perfect times you should look to surrender when playing:

  • Single deck game with hard 17: Surrender when your hand is 16 and the dealer is holding 10.
  • Double-deck game with soft 17: Surrender when your hand is 15 and the dealer is holding an ace.
  • Six deck game with soft 17: Surrender when your hand is 16 and the dealer holds 9.
  • Six deck game with hard 17: Surrender when your hand is two-eights, and the dealer is holding an ace.

Not all blackjack strategies are made equal and some of them will end up losing you a lot of money in the long run. It is important that you are aware of these strategies as you will probably encounter them at some point in your betting life. Some of these systems can provide you with some wins but you need to be careful using them

 

casino chips being pushed

4. Martingale Betting Strategy

The Martingale betting strategy is a system where if you lose a hand, you double-up on the following hand. You keep doing so until you win.

For example, if in your first-hand you bet $5 and lose, you would place $10 in the next round. If you lose again, you will place $20. If you then win that bet, you win $40, which is a $5 profit overall. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of this though:

  • An eventual win puts you in profit
  • Works well if you walk away first time
  • Simple to understand and use
  • There is nothing, other than faith, to suggest you won’t keep losing
  • You need a lot of money to use this tactic
  • Low reward for high risk

5. Parlay Strategy

The parlay betting system is one of the more extreme blackjack methods that players use at casino. The system is quite simple. When you win a bet, you gradually increase your stake with the next bet.

A typical parlay system is 1-2-3-5. So, if you place a $1 bet and win, on your next bet you place a $2 wager, then $3, then $5. You then complete a round of wins and go back to 1 again to start another round.

Of course, this sounds very simple, but it is a very risky method. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

  • Very exciting way of playing
  • Can have a high payout
  • Risk level is very high
  • No guarantee of a streak

6. Chart Strategy

We have a great Blackjack Strategy Sheet that includes all the basics that you need to know.

In order to save or print our Blackjack Strategy Chart file, just click here. You can save it by clicking the download option at the top and after that you can print it if you want to.

KNOWING THE BLACKJACK ODDS

On the face of it, blackjack sounds like a fairly simple game to win. All you have to do is get a better hand than the dealer. Of course, this is never as easy as it sounds and there are numerous factors you should take into account.

Blackjack odds do favour the player more than a game like roulette or online slots because of the element of skill involved in the passage of play. The casino does still hold an advantage though. Because your cards are dealt first and you have a chance of going bust before the dealer even begins their round. The house edge in blackjack is slimmer than in any other casino game out there and in most casinos, it ranges between 0.5% and 1%.

Here is a table with the Player Hand Probabilities/Blackjack odds in any given game round:

 

Here is a table of the Blackjack odds for busting when you take another card.

Asking the dealer to hit you with another card comes with its risks. These are probabilities of busting on an extra card while playing Blackjack.

 

HELPFUL TIPS TO ROUND OFF THE GUIDE

Before we dive deeper into blackjack strategies, let’s take a look at some basic blackjack tips that will help you at the table.

  • Always do your research: make sure you check out the blackjack rules and bet limits at different tables and online sites
  • Learn the basic strategy (see below)
  • Don’t make insurance wagers
  • Avoid gambler’s myths and don’t listen to superstition and old wives tales
  • Remember, you are never due a win
  • Know when to stop
  • Be careful of what betting strategies you use
  • Start small: take your first few hands as a chance to gauge the dealer and the table
  • Don’t worry about other players

At PokCas, we are eager to keep our players entertained. Hopefully, you’ll be able to apply much of what we have covered in this guide. If you are careful to demonstrate an optimum strategy in each instance, your chances of victory are far higher than with any other game on the casino floor. While we have given you the tools to play the game, how you put them to work is entirely up to you.