Blackjack is one of the most recognizable casino games in the world. It is also the most popular one, especially casino blackjack in land-based casinos in the USA. From a gameplay standpoint, blackjack is very simple as the only thing you need to do is get 21. However, while understanding the game is very simple, playing it properly is a whole other thing. Players who want to win at any blackjack game need to use a proper blackjack strategy. You will find yourself losing your whole bankroll if you don’t prepare accordingly. Before the game starts, a good player needs to learn all the rules so he can predict his next move based on the cards he gets. In this article, we will talk about the most commonly used as well as the best blackjack strategies in the world.
Basic Blackjack Rules
Before talking about the best blackjack strategy, we need to share some information about the rules of the game. Understanding them properly is a must as that will help you pick the right strategy for you. The goal of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand without going over 21. Before cards are dealt, players place their bets.
Each player starts with two cards that are face up. Face cards are worth 10. Aces are worth 1 or 11; whichever makes a better hand. One of the dealer’s two cards is face down until the very end after every player completes his hand. Keep in mind that you play only against the dealer. There are tables where there will be other players besides you but there are tables in online blackjack where it can be just you against the dealer. Once you get your two cards, you can ask for another card (hit) or stick with your current hand (stand). IF your get only low-value cards, you have the option to keep hitting until you’re satisfied with your hand. However, every time you ask for a hit, you risk going over 21 (bust). If you bust, the dealer wins regardless of the dealer’s eventual hand. There are rules for the dealer as well, depending on the type of table you are on. In most of them, the dealer must hit until his cards total 17 or higher.
Knowing these basic rules is a must before even thinking about trying a blackjack strategy. Additionally, there are certain terms in the game that every player should know. Check our Blackjack article to learn more about these terms as they will help you improve your game.
Basic Blackjack Strategy
Every player that wants to make a killing while playing this table game needs to be prepared to master at least a couple of basic blackjack strategies. It consists of several tricks that will help you reduce the house edge to 0.5 if handled perfectly. That’s pretty much the best odds you will get at any online blackjack table.
The most crucial aspect of the basic blackjack strategy is the double down. Doubling down requires doubling your bet and receiving a second card. It’s useful in a variety of scenarios, not just when you have a 9, 10, or 11. Doubling down on a soft 17 (Ace + 6) against a dealer’s 4, 5, or 6 is a solid strategy. Betting on the first bet may not provide a significant advantage at first, but it will pay off in the long run. Using this blackjack strategy could be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful gambling night.
Any blackjack expert will tell you there are two essential rules to follow before you start playing. You never split a pair of tens, but you always split a pair of aces. This blackjack betting strategy advice has proven to be the best, and if you don’t split your aces, you will almost certainly lose.
When you split, you’ll bet again for the second hand and then be dealt a card for the first, with the option to stand or hit. The same happens for the second hand. If the same card is dealt when you split the first time, some casinos may enable you to split again. Pay attention to the cars, so you know how many cards have a value of ten, to predict your odds of winning. The player can win two hands instead of one by using the splitting aces blackjack technique. Using this method can result in a higher profit for the player, in the long run.
Additional Rules for Basic Blackjack Strategies
If you have a 16 and the dealer has a 10, you should surrender. If you are unable to surrender due to table regulations, always hit.
If the strategy requires you to double but you aren’t authorized, hit. The only exception is if you have a soft 18, in which case you should stand.
Never ever take out insurance. When the dealer shows an ace, the player can bet up to half of his original bet on a side bet. The insurance bet pays 2 to 1 if the dealer has blackjack. The insurance bet loses if the dealer does not have blackjack.
When it comes to blackjack, never take even money. If you’re given blackjack and the dealer has an ace on the table, the game will pay you even money if the dealer has blackjack. If you stake $10 and accept even money, you’ll win $10 instead of $15, resulting in a 3:2 payout. If you decline the even money bet and the dealer has blackjack, you will be forced to push and will only receive your original wager back.
What is the Best Blackjack Strategy?
Now that we talked about some of the basics, we will explain several advanced blackjack strategies. Remember, there are hundreds of different advanced tricks; however, some of them have proven to be the best and we will explain them below.
Single Deck Game
Playing a single deck game is part of this blackjack technique. In certain cases, playing such a game increases your odds of winning. If you have a hand of 12 (10 + 2) and the dealer has an open card of 4, you should always hit. If you have any other 12 combinations, on the other hand, you should stand.
Blackjack Strategy: How to Count Cards in Blackjack?
Card counting has been shown to be the most efficient blackjack betting method. In any blackjack game, it can significantly reduce the house edge. This will increase your chances of winning significantly. As a result, game developers dislike this method. Card counting, on the other hand, is quite difficult in comparison to the other methods mentioned in this article. There are various strategies available, but none of them will work for everyone. However, after you’ve mastered this blackjack approach, pick a table and stick to it. The explanation for this strategy is that you can reap the greatest rewards at the end because the majority of the cards have already been drawn.
Always Hit on a Soft 18 when the dealer has 9, 10, or Ace
Players often believe that getting an 18 is a sure win and because of that they usually stand on such a hand. However, the facts go against this type of thinking. If you have a soft 18 while the dealer has a strong card, like a 9, 10, or an Ace, you become the underdog no matter if you decide to stand or to hit. Nevertheless, you increase your chances of a win if you go with the hit. If you decide to hit and then get a small card, like a 2 or a 3 your chances of winning will improve drastically as you would get a nearly unbeatable hand. On the other hand, if you get a card that has a value of 10, your hand will pretty much remain the same because in such a case, your Ace will count as one.
Beat the Soft 17
This is a helpful blackjack strategy for those casino blackjack games that carry the rule of the soft 17. Basically, certain tables will have a rule where the dealer is required to hit on a soft 17. When you are playing on such a table, always double down when you get a hard 11 while the dealer has an Ace. Also, double down when you have a soft 19 against a dealer’s 6 and when you get a soft 18 against the dealer’s 2. Contrary to this, if you are playing on a table where the dealer has to stand on a soft 17 make sure to do exactly the opposite to what we talked about above.
Always Double Down Soft 13 to Soft 18 when the dealer has 5 or 6
Statistically, it’s always better to double down on a Soft 13 to Soft 18 in all your games because your chances of winning increase drastically. However, you should do this only when the dealer’s open card is a 5 or a 6. Keep in mind that this blackjack strategy can be adjusted, depending on the type of blackjack you are currently playing. For instance, in a single deck game, you should double down with a soft 18 even when the dealer has a 4.
Blackjack Surrender Strategy
In this last section, we will talk about the surrender option and when to use it. At the beginning of our article, we mentioned that you should never use surrender in certain situations. However, there are situations where a blackjack strategy oriented around surrendering can save you a lot of money. After considering your initial two-card hand and the dealer’s upcard, if you think your chance of winning the hand is very poor, you can forfeit playing your hand and surrender (or give up) half of the amount of your wager.
This is an option that won’t always be available, especially in US casinos. However, in European or Asian blackjack it is normal for the game to offer early surrender. The same goes for online blackjack games. The early surrender option means that the player can make the decision before the dealer receives his hole card. This option gives the player an opportunity to surrender his hand to a dealer’s ace and/or a 10-value card. The surrendering is done before the dealer can check whether he has blackjack. Basically, if you have a bad hand, you surrender and get half your stake back which is much better than nothing. Early surrender against the ace gains you 0.39%, and against the 10, it’s 0.24%, making the total value to the player 0.63% for a six-deck s17 game.
Contrary to the early surrender, here you can surrender after the dealer shows his hand. This means that you can still save half the stake even after the dealer checks his face down hard to see that it’s an Ace or a 10. However, if the dealer has blackjack, the surrender option will no longer be available. In such a case, the player will lose his whole stake. There is one way to save the stake and that’s if the player gets blackjack as well. When you use late surrender correctly, it will reduce the house edge by about 0.07% in multiple-deck games.
You should always surrender a hand if your chances of winning the round are less than one out of four hands. For instance, if your expected loss is worse than 50% of your stake, you need to surrender the hand. So, in a hand that gives you less than a 25% chance of winning, the surrender option should be used. Conversely, if a hand has a chance of losing that’s greater than 75%, the surrender option should be taken once again. Besides reducing the house edge, surrender also has this benefit: it will stabilize your bankroll, meaning surrender will flatten the fluctuations in your bankroll.