Blackjack is a popular card game with a simple premise- you have to beat the dealer. At the start of a round, you will be dealt 2 cards and so will the dealer, the person with the hand closest to 21 wins the game.
When you are dealt your hand, you will be given four options:
These are the basic options in a game of blackjack. There is also the option of surrendering available in some casinos, but we will come to that later.
Blackjack card values are not too complicated to learn. Cards 1-10 are worth that amount, while all suits are worth 10. An ace is worth either 1 or 11, depending on which options suits your hand best.
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 that should be taking into account. Blackjack does favour the player more than a game like roulette, because the deck changes every hand as there are less cards. The casino does old an advantage still though, as you are dealt cards first, which means you will go bust before they do.
The house edge in blackjack is slimmer than in any other game though and in most casinos it sits at around just 1%.
Live dealer casino games have become all the rage in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. Online live dealer blackjack is when you play blackjack online via a video stream with a real dealer. This effectively gives the player the best of both worlds- it allows them to play from the comfort of their own home, and it also lets them feel as though they are playing blackjack in a real bricks and mortar casino.
Before we diver deeper into blackjack strategies, let’s take a look at some basic blackjack tips.
It should be made clear at the start that there is no guaranteed way of winning a game of blackjack. All you can do, as a player, is attempt to learn methods which help put the odds in your favour in a game of blackjack and ensure that in the long run, you make a profit playing the game. None of these methods are 100% safe, but they do help narrow the odds against the dealer.
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.
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 and in the long run, will help you make more money than you lose during a game of blackjack.
Basic strategy has been in place for years and is constantly evolving to fit the more modern rules of the game. It is important that you remember that basic strategy does not ensure that you will win every hand that you play in blackjack, instead, it will ensure that over time, you make more money than you lose, which is as close as you’re going to get to a guaranteed win in a game like blackjack.
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 a rule change but 99% of them will be the same. As with everything these days, there are also apps available when you can find copies of basic strategy cards.
Of course, that’s the easy part. A casino is not going to let you pull out a basic strategy card when you are sat at a table, and most online casinos and bookmakers 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.
An insurance bet is a side bet that is offered to you when the dealer’s face-up card is an ace. The bet will typically pay out 2/1 and the casino will never allow you to bet more than half your original stake. For 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, effetively 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, which means that you have more chance of losing than winning.
In blackjack, there are typically four basic options that you can do with your hand hit, stick, double down or split. However, some casinos may also offer you another option- surrender. The surrender option is incredibly rare and is typically only offered in casinos from Europe or Asia, and it is rarely an option on online casinos or bookmakers.
Surrendering may have negative connotations but it can be a shrewd move in blackjack. 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. Crucially, you can only do this when you receive your first hand, and you can not do it if the dealer has a blackjack.
Knowing when to surrender can always be difficult but 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 times when you surrender when playing:
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.
The Martingale betting system is a system where, if you lose a hand, you double up on the following hand, and keeping do so until you win. So for example, if, in your first hand, you bet $5 and lose, in your second bet, you would place $10, if you lose again, you would place $20. If you then win that bet, you win $40, which is a $5 profit.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of this though:
The parlay betting system is one of the more extreme blackjack methods that is used in casinos and online. The system is 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, then a $3, then a $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.
We have a great BlackJack Strategy sheet which 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.