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BlackJack Strategy Guide: Rules, Odds, Methods & Tips

 

 

 

BlackJack

 

 

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:
 

  • Stick/Stand: This is when you stay with the hand that you have been dealt and require no further cards

  • Hit: This is when you want another card in an attempt to get to 21 or close to it

  • Split: This is when you get two cards of the same number and you want to split your hand into two hands

  • Double down: This is when you double your original stake in exchange for just one more card. You can not hit after doing this



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
 

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.


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 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%.
 


Online Live Dealer Blackjack
 

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.

 


Blackjack Tips
 

Before we diver deeper into blackjack strategies, let’s take a look at some basic blackjack tips.
 

  • Always do your research: make sure you check out the rules at different tables and online sites.

  • Learn the basic strategy (see below).

  • Don’t make insurance wagers

  • Avoid gambler’s myths: don’t listen to superstition and old sayings.

  • Remember, you are never due a win.

  • Know when to stop.

  • Be careful of certain betting strategies (see below).

  • Start small: take your first few hands as a chance to gauge the dealer and the table.

  • Don’t worry about other players.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Strategies for playing BlackJack

 


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.

 

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.



What is basic BlackJack strategy?



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.



Can I trust basic BlackJack strategy?



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.



What do I need to do?



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.


 

Blackjack insurance
 

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.
 

Should I take blackjack insurance bets?
 

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.

 

 



BlackJack Surrender Strategies



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.



How does it work?

 


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.



When should I surrender in 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:

  • Single deck game with hard 17: your hand is 16 and the dealer holds 10

  • Double-deck game with soft 17: your hand is 15 and the dealer holds an ace

  • Six deck game with soft 17: your hand is 16 and the dealer holds 9

  • Six deck game with hard 17: your hand is two eights, the dealer holds an ace


Other BlackJack betting strategies

 


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.

 


Martingale betting system
 

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:
 

  • 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
     

Parlay System

 


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.
 

  • Very exciting way of playing

  • Can have a high payout

  • Risk level is very high

  • No guarantee of a streak

 

 

Blackjack Strategy Chart

 

 

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.

 

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