It may seem simplistic, but taking time to properly absorb and understand the rules of blackjack will enhance the likelihood of playing success. Inexperienced gamblers may just be aware of the two basic player actions, namely 'hit' (requesting that the dealer provides another card to add to hand) or 'stand' (no further dealer action required, as the player is comfortable with the value of hand).
However, numerous other options and scenarios dictate when each additional action is best deployed. This article explores this dynamic, supporting players to find out how to win at blackjack.
In their quest to reach the targeted number of 21 and, more importantly, increase the potential of a large winnings return, players can also:
Double-down: This action doubles the value of an original stake. Players are only afforded this opportunity immediately after receiving their 'hole' cards – the two initial cards dealt to them at the beginning of the game.
The decision to increase the original bet amount depends on the player's hole cards' value and the dealer's 'up-card' outcome – the one card from the dealer's hand presented to the table when the round commences. When the double-down option is taken, a third and final card is instantly allocated to the player.
N.B. In Spanish 21, a variant of the Blackjack casino game, players can often double down in later stages.
Split: If the player receives a pair, i.e., two cards of the same value in the opening deal, they can 'split' their hand. This means players are now operating with two hands, increasing their chances of striking a favourable combination to hit 21.
Surrender: Surrendering immediately withdraws the player from the game and returns half of their original stake.
A player will surrender if they believe their hand is weak or perceive the dealer to have a strong hand based on the value of the up-card. Many casino operators don't offer this function in traditional online blackjack but will facilitate either an 'early' or 'late' surrender option in Spanish 21.
Although it's impossible to overcome the inherent house edge that casinos enjoy across all table games, the basic blackjack strategy is designed to offer players clarity on how to win at the blackjack tables.
True, it cannot guarantee that gaming sessions will be profitable. Still, applying mathematical logic to various in-game situations determines the optimal player action at any given moment. As with any enterprise, the more an individual embraces and practices a methodology in real-world scenarios, the more proficient they'll become.
As mentioned, basic strategy advises players to take certain actions in specific contexts. Points 3-8 express these and why such playing principles are advantageous.
Strategy charts are extremely useful when following basic strategy guide, as they advertise what the optimum move is when responding to every possible card outcome during a standard game of blackjack.
These basic strategy charts are relatively easy to navigate, with users first finding their hole card combination before cross-referencing this with the up-card on display. At the meeting point of these two outcomes, positioned in the middle of the chart grid, will be a corresponding action, represented by a 'key' (such as a letter or symbol).
Once this icon has been matched to the key table, the individual will gain clarity on their ideal next move in any given circumstance.
Regardless of experience or competency level, those engaging in any gaming vertical should know their budget limits and their available bankroll for a playing session. Ultimately, a bankroll determines to what extent and for how long a player can bet at the table, so mastering the management of a bankroll is a critical skill in the toolkit of any gambler.
An established bankroll prevents players from betting more than they can afford and allows them to plan for potential losses (and earnings!). If players operate across several verticals, having a specific bankroll per game is wise, as this reduces the risk of burning through a large amount of cash too quickly. Moreover, when a bankroll has been set, this budget mustn't be exceeded – otherwise, there is a significant threat of incurring untenable losses.
A sensible way to formulate a bankroll volume is to consider the desired minimum bet value and the anticipated time spent gambling. The rough role of thumb is to play blackjack with a cash sum fifty times greater than the lowest desired stake to facilitate a three-hour stint at the blackjack table.
Some blackjack games may utilise rule sets which offer further advantages to the casino's house edge, i.e., dealer hits on soft 17, hitting blackjack pays 6-5 as opposed to 3-2. These types of regulations can serve to undermine bankroll longevity.
A player will receive $3 for every $2 staked, or 1.5 times the initial wager, in a 3:2 blackjack payout. In comparison, a 6:5 blackjack payout indicates that a player will receive $6 for every $5 wagered, or 1.2 times the initial bet.
Because of its greater payout ratio, the 3:2 payout is preferable to the 6:5 payment for players. A player may anticipate gaining $150 for every $100 wager with a 3:2 payout instead of $120 with a 6:5 payout. This variation in payout percentage over time may accumulate and significantly affect a player's overall winnings.
As the house always presides over a slight playing edge, a slower play rate will likely give budgets more space to breathe. A busy table makes for fewer rounds, as players wait for others to decide to make decisions and conclude their respective blackjack hands.
Whenever a player receives a pair of aces or eights within their hole card set, they should opt to split. Players often resist splitting if the dealer's up-card reveals a value of 9, 10, or Ace, as they believe their opponent's hand is too strong to take the risk. However, the reality is that the odds of playing a split hand of single aces or eights are more agreeable than continuing with the original hand of 16.
In several circumstances, splitting is not conducive to promoting the win potential. These are as follows:
Splitting 10s: This would eradicate an extremely encouraging hand which is unlikely to be beaten by either of the newly split card sets.
Splitting 4s: It's impossible to exceed 21 on the next 'hit' here, but an extra card could produce a score of 19 – favourable in trying to reach 21. Furthermore, if a player opts to split, only three cards can better their current hand(s): 5, 6, or 7
Splitting 5s: As this hand is ultimately a '10', there's little point in splitting at this stage. The player's hand will likely weaken if the split option is taken.
There are no scenarios where taking the blackjack insurance is favourable to the player. The payout of an insurance bet is 2-1, lower than the odds of a dealer possessing blackjack. Therefore, statistically, it's far more logical to play on with the current hand and take a chance that a 10/Royal won't emerge to complement the dealer's up-card Ace.
Should the guidelines of basic strategy be adhered to, specific outcomes compel the player to surrender their hand.
Given that this action automatically results in the player losing half their initial wager on the deal, some individuals may resist ever using this function. However, discarding a poor set of cards is often far more profitable than battling with a weak hand.
Players should surrender if the following outcomes materialise:
Player hole cards reveal a 'hard 16' (a value of 16 without an Ace card present), and the dealer up-card is a 9, 10, Royal or Ace.
Player hole cards reveal a 'hard 15', and the dealer's up-card is a 10/Royal.
A hard 15 or 16 are the two weakest hands in a blackjack game, as there is a reasonable likelihood that the next card will see them go 'bust' (exceed 21) and no Ace in play to recover the situation.
An Ace can operate as a value of 1 or 11, probably, drawing an extra card will better the current hand. Furthermore, an up-card of 5 or 6 weakens the dealer's position, as future cards are less likely to generate favourable combinations.
Single and double-deck blackjack games have slightly lower house edge than six and eight-deck games. A blackjack game with two decks is typically preferable to one with six or eight decks. As a general rule, the player benefits more by using fewer decks. However, it would be best to consider specific rules and the payout when choosing the blackjack table.
Card counting is a sophisticated strategy outside the purview of this blackjack winning strategy tutorial. If you're mathematically inclined, you can determine whether the undealt decks contain more high-value or low-value cards by using card counting. Increasing your wager size may be smart because a deck with more high-value cards is in your favour. You can learn more about it in our blackjack card counting guide.
Only some beginners studying how to win at blackjack consider the dealer's card. They believe only their whole situation matters. However, the basic blackjack strategy is based on your cards, and the dealer's up cards. It's usually preferable to hit when they're strong and stand when weak. By looking at the dealer's up card, you can determine whether they have a strong or weak hand.
In the same spirit as 'basic blackjack strategy', some betting strategies and systems are designed to heighten the odds in the player's favour. Most of these approaches exploit positive or negative progressive sequencing, which involves wagering more or less money depending on the outcome of the prior hand. Blackjack strategies like the 'Martingale' or 'Paroli' embrace this methodology.
RNG (random number generator) games use dedicated software to enable unpredictable outcomes to emerge over a consistent period of time. This technology is readily used on online gaming portals, which rely upon computer-generated facilities to operate games rather than humans manually dealing with and drawing cards.
Playing blackjack for free eliminates the risk of losing money and provides an opportunity to learn the ropes, gain experience, play under different table conditions, and hone skills and techniques. Therefore, whether an individual is a relative novice or a blackjack expert, there are plenty of tangible benefits to playing free RNG-based games.
There is no certain trick that can guarantee winning at blackjack, however, learning the basic strategy, card counting and practising in free blackjack games can help you win more often.
Unlike other casino games, like roulette or baccarat, blackjack involves an element of skill. However, it is always good to remember that you can not predict what cards you and the dealer will get.
There are no secrets to winning at blackjack. You can find many simple tips and strategies on the LeoVegas blog!
Learn basic strategy. That is unarguably the best starting point to improve your chances of winning at blackjack.
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