When it comes to casino table games, there are few that are as popular as blackjack. This casino game is easy to learn and entertaining but doesn’t rely purely on luck, unlike other online casino games such as craps, roulette and online slots. In fact, it’s similar to poker in that it requires some skill along with luck to win the game.
Of course, it’s not as difficult to master as poker is. There’s also less pressure because you won’t be playing with other people around the table. So, is there a blackjack strategy that players can use to improve their chances of winning? Read on to find out.
The Basic Blackjack Strategy
The best blackjack strategy for beginners is undoubtedly the most basic one. The first step in this strategy is to become familiar with a basic blackjack strategy chart. The chart shows you the optimal way to play a game of blackjack with a correct move for every situation (other than huge exceptions) that you might encounter.
The chart is based on the cards you have in your hand and the dealer’s cards that are upturned on the table. These strategy charts can be found through a simple Google search and it’s a great idea to print one out and keep it in front of you when you play a game of blackjack online.
The main blackjack tips from this chart are:
- Stand on 17+ hard hands: A hard hand means that you have no aces. You should always stand on hard 17 or higher, even if the dealer has an ace or 10. It’s hard to improve on a 17+ hard hand and it’s best to let it stand.
- Double down on 11: A hard 11 makes one of the best starting hands in blackjack. You should double down to maximize winning hands in the long run.
- Split 8s and aces: It’s essential to know when to split in blackjack and it’s always in your best interest to split a pair of 8s or aces in your starting hand. You can stand if the dealer has a 7, 10 or ace.
- Don’t split 10s: Having 20 as your starting hand gives you a great chance of winning the hand, so you should never split 10s in the starting hand.
- Hit on ace-7 for the dealer’s 9, 10 or ace: Always hit with this starting hand.
- Only stand on 12 if the dealer has 4, 5 or 6: You should hit on a 12 unless the dealer shows a 4, 5 or 6.
One of the most common blackjack myths is that card counting is illegal. While it’s certainly frowned upon in brick-and-mortar establishments, it could give you a 1–2% lead in the long run. Unfortunately, it can’t be used in basic online blackjack games, as they have the technology to shuffle cards after every hand, which makes card counting null and void. However, it will come in useful if you enjoy playing online blackjack live dealer games, as each round will be dealt in the same way they would in a live casino.
The strategy behind card counting is keeping track of the cards that are dealt from the shoe. This helps you to calculate what cards are most likely to follow. Obviously, higher cards are more beneficial when playing 21, so if the deck has more paint cards, 10s and aces, then it makes sense to increase your bet. Learning even basic card counting skills could help improve your chances of winning at the blackjack table.
Progressive Betting Strategy
Another strategy used in games like blackjack is a progressive betting strategy. This isn’t a strategy to be used in-game but rather one that could help increase your bankroll.
Also known as positive progression wagering, the idea is that every time you win a hand, you should increase the size of your wager. During this winning streak, you should increase your bet every hand until you lose. Once this happens, you’ll go back to your original bet size, then increase again when you start winning.
Ultimately, this is a wagering strategy that can’t be used in a vacuum but is best employed alongside a card counting or basic blackjack strategy that already increases your chances of winning. Progressive betting doesn’t mean you have a better chance of winning, rather, it’s a way to maximize your winnings during a good streak.
The Best Ways to Improve Your Chances
There’s always an element of luck in blackjack and no strategy is going to be foolproof. You can, however, increase your odds of winning by doing simple things, such as:
- Learning the rules.
- Practicing on free games.
- Choosing tables with fewer decks.
- Choosing tables with 3:2 payouts.
- Choosing a game that allows you to surrender.
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