By William Westerlund.
If you have played blackjack online before, you should already know the terminology of the game and what to do after the cards are dealt. But if you’re new to the game, consider putting a plan in place. Playing blackjack can be all about chance, but there are some tips and tactics you can employ to reduce the house edge and potentially beat the house.
As with other casino games, betting can be a big part of any strategy. But strategies based solely on betting will more often hurt you then help you.
In blackjack or in any gambling game, intelligence, patience, and method determine victory as much as luck. Advanced blackjack strategies such as card counting can often become difficult or impossible. Want to try your luck at an online casino? Want to start now? Place your bets on blackjack games at Thunderpick.io.
Utilizing a strategy chart is the simplest way to play blackjack. A grid of outcomes and related actions, known as the blackjack basic strategy chart, was developed using mathematical calculations and is the optimal way to play. It is a tool to always have on hand and is especially helpful for novices.
The 270 square chart directs you to the optimum course of action based on the cards in your hand and the dealer’s up-card. This can tell you to stand, in which case your existing hand remains the same, or hit, in which case you add another card to your hand.
Splitting, which entails splitting your hand if it contains a pair and considering them as different hands, and doubling, which involves doubling your initial stake and receiving another card, are more complex moves.
While the chart covers a variety of different outcomes that can be dealt with, the key strategies to take away from it are as follows:
- You should never just stand on an Ace-2 through Ace-6.
- You should often double on an Ace-2 through Ace-6 when the dealer has a low card.
- You should often double on an Ace-7 if the dealer shows a 2 through 6.
- You should hit Ace-7 if the dealer shows 9 through Ace.
- You should stand on Ace-8 or higher.
- You should split a pair of sevens when the dealer has a seven or less.
- You should always split a pair of eights or Aces.
- You should never split a pair of 10s or 5s.
- You should double with 11 unless the dealer has an Ace.
- You should double with 10 unless the dealer has a 10 or Ace
- You should stand when you reach a hard-17.
Once you’ve established a simple blackjack strategy, you can move on to more advanced actions. Basic strategy is based on some of these ideas:
- Let the dealer bust: If the dealer has a face-up card with a low value, you should often only continue in your hand if, by taking additional cards, you don’t bust. Since the dealer must draw to 17, there is a good chance he could bust. Whenever the dealer has a small card showing, it may be a good time to consider doubling or splitting to increase your chances of winning a bigger payout.
- Always stand on 17: You should always stand when you have a hard-17. Hitting this hand will most likely bust you and, in any case, the rules require that the dealer stand on a 17.
- Double to make more money: When you double-down on a hand you are taking advantage of a good situation. Doubling correctly increases your win-potential in this game.
- Splitting to protect your hand: When you split your hand you are often doing it to protect your hand, such as a pair of 8s versus a 10. In this case, you are better off splitting your 8s then standing or hitting a 16.
How this works is quite simple – after looking at your two cards and the dealer’s face-up card, you can see that your chances of winning seem pretty slim. But with this strategy, you can fold your hand and fold half of your original bet while “getting back” the rest. Understandably, this isn’t available everywhere you play, but it’s a great safety net, especially for beginners, if you find yourself at a table that offers this.
Check the surrender basic strategy chart for details if you are interested in this advanced play. Surrender is often the correct play when you have a 15 or 16 versus a dealer Ten or Ace.
There are two ways to play a surrender:
- Late Surrender – where you can only fold your hand after the dealer sees his hidden card and verifies he does not have a blackjack.
- Early Surrender – This option is most commonly offered in European and Asian casinos and rarely seen in the US. Here, the player has a chance to surrender with only the dealer’s face-up card revealed, regardless of whether the face-down card equals a blackjack as it is yet to be announced.