Blackjack is the most popular of all card games, played in land-based and online casinos. It is also one of the oldest games and has remained a fan favorite because of the low house edge and sheer simplicity. Easy to learn and difficult to master, this is a game that challenges players to hone their skills all the time. Just like with all casino games, players have always tried to beat the house edge. Hundreds of strategies were tested and many of them are still popular among those who play the game.
The advent of online casinos further enhanced the appeal of this classic card game. The Internet provides players with access to all the educational resources that were previously unavailable in brick-and-mortar casinos. There are also more types of blackjack to explore, flexible limits and an eclectic mix of random number generator and live dealer games. While there is no definitive way of beating the odds, these blackjack strategies make the game fun to play and can help improve the return on investment.
How to Play Blackjack?
Before learning blackjack strategies and dwelling on complex systems, players need to understand the core rules of the game. The object of this game is to beat the dealer’s hand, by coming as close as possible to 21. When playing blackjack, you can either win by having a card-total greater than the dealer or by not exceeding 21 while the dealer goes bust. These are the two faces of the same coin and the first step to success is a firm understanding of blackjack card values.
Players are dealt two cards right from the start and among the possible combinations, aces and picture cards are a coveted sight. All picture cards have the value of 10, while Aces count for both 1 or 11 and all the other cards have their face value. Players decide how many cards they want to draw, but it is essential for the grand total not to exceed 21. Going over this key threshold is called ”busting” and when this happens, the hand automatically loses.
Which are the Blackjack Rules?
At the blackjack table play moves in a clockwise motion and players participate by placing the minimum accepted bet. The game starts with players getting two cards, both faced up, while one of the dealer’s two cards faces up and the other is not disclosed. Blackjack can be played with a single deck or as many as eight decks of cards, but this doesn’t influence the pattern of the game. Based on the value of the cards they and the dealer were dealt, players can choose one of the six options.
Hitting and Standing
These are the main options that allow players to decide whether they want more cards to be dealt, or if they stick to the current cards total. Hitting is the preferred solution when the two cards dealt initially are weak and more cards are needed to come closer to 21. When players are satisfied with their hand, or when they consider that the dealer is more likely to go bust, they exercise the option to Stand.
Splitting and Doubling Down
Advanced blackjack players have two more game mechanics at their disposal that help them decrease the house edge. Splitting is a popular option, that allows players to split a pair and effectively create two separate hands to bet on. Basically, players have two competitive hands, so their chances to beat the dealer will double. The only downside is that if they lose both hands, they lose twice as much money. Doubling down is the other special option that enables players to double the original bet. In exchange, they receive just one more card, so players are compelled to automatically stand after the additional card.
Surrender and Insurance
Many blackjack games available at online casinos allow players to exercise two special options. Players who are pessimistic about their chances of winning a hand can surrender after the first two cards are dealt to them. They automatically lose half of the stakes, so the goal is to offset potential losses while forfeiting any chance of winning the hand. Insurance is another hedge against the risk of losing, popular among blackjack players. When the dealer has an ace showing, players can pay a smaller amount to check for blackjack. If this is the case, players recuperate some of the money, based on the size of the insurance bet.
What Options Does the Dealer Have?
Another important thing to understand when using blackjack strategies is the way dealers are compelled to act. In most types of blackjack, dealers are forced to hit on any card totals under 17 and stand on 17 and above. An important distinction needs to be made between a hard and a soft hand since, in some games of blackjack, dealers must hit on a soft 17.
Any hand that contains an ace is considered to be a soft hand, while a ten or a face card would produce a hard hand. This distinction is less important for players since they enjoy the freedom of hitting and standing as they please. For the dealer however, this is a major difference, because as stated above, they must hit or stand at soft/hard 17. Generally, players prefer those blackjack variants, where the dealer is compelled to stand at soft 17.
Simple Blackjack Strategies that Work
Sometimes the roads less traveled are less traveled for a reason and the easiest way to succeed is by sticking to the basics. A basic blackjack strategy can deliver great results, as long as players make the right decision every single time. Luck plays an important role and sometimes can cause bad beats and even downswings, but using a mathematically proven strategy will keep players afloat in the long run.
At the cornerstone of any blackjack strategy is the idea of chasing the best possible odds every time. To make the right choice, players need to consider both their hand at the dealer’s up card. Ideally, players should have a blackjack table detailing these decisions in a different tab when playing online. In a nutshell, one should hit whenever the hand total is below 12 and stand at 17 and above. From 12 to 16, players are advised to stand if the dealer’s up card ranges from 2 to 6 and hit if the dealer shows a card of 7 or more.
It is wise to double down when your hand total is 10 or 11 regardless of the dealer’s hand. On 9 it is only recommended to use this option when the dealer has a card ranging from 3 to 6. Furthermore, an ace accompanied by any card from 2 to 7 should prompt the player to hit regardless of what the dealer is showing. Once again, it is safe to double down when the dealer’s upside card is anything from 3 to 6. Any pair of 5s should also encourage players to use this option. Aces and 8s should always be split, and the same goes for 9s except for those situations when the dealer has 10s or Aces.
How does Card Counting Work?
Some of the most popular blackjack strategies revolve around the concept of counting cards. This concept can be a bit misleading because only a small percentage of blackjack players who use this strategy truly count the cards. Most of them are simply tagging the cards dealt, by assigning them a value based on whether they favor the dealer or the player. Zero is assigned to neutral cards, such as 7, 8, and 9, while Aces, 10s and Face Cards are given a tag of -1. Obviously, the small cards which favor the dealer and range from 2 to 6 are given the value of +1.
Tagging cards is not terribly complicated in brick-and-mortar casinos and downright trivial online. That’s because players have all the time in the world to keep track of the cards dealt. In theory, they could even note down the specific cards, to get a better idea of what’s left in the deck. The obvious downside is that at many online casinos the decks of cards are reshuffled after every hand. In any case, you have no guarantee that the software doesn’t reshuffle the decks, so card counting works better with real dealers.
The reason why people resort to card counting in general and tagging, in particular, is to know when the remaining cards favor the player. For this blackjack strategy to work, it is essential to place the right bets at the right time. In the initial stages of the game, when the deck is neutral, players stick to their standard betting routines and small wagers. The size of the bets increases when the card count runs high, signaling the fact that the cards still in the deck favor the player.
What is a Progressive Betting System?
Card counting is a specific blackjack strategy, but players have tweaked universal systems to work on this card game. Progressive betting systems are being used routinely at roulette and the martingale is the best-known. What makes it attractive is the sheer simplicity, since players double the stakes each time they place a losing battle. The system promises to eventually offset all the losses suffered over the course of a gaming session. That’s because in theory, players have to win eventually and when they do, they cover all the losses and win an amount equal to the starting unit.
There are a couple of obvious problems with all progressive betting systems aimed at chasing losses. For starters, an unlucky streak can last longer than players can stay solvent. Many people get scared after a few steps when they’re expected to bet a huge amount for the sake of recuperating losses. On top of that, online casinos have maximum betting limits, so once players hit the cap they are not allowed to bet more.
On the other hand, positive progression betting systems where the stakes are increased during winning streaks are more viable. Paroli and Parlay are two such betting strategies where players use the profits from the previous wins to bet larger amounts.
Title: Blackjack strategy
Posted On: 01/10/2018
Author: The Casino Sites