Blackjack is one of the most popular and accessible casino games around. Its low house edge is favourable to the player and the rules are simple, making it perfect for beginners. However, the more experienced you are in playing Blackjack and understanding its strategies further increases your chances of beating the dealer. If you play live Blackjack for fun, but want to play like a pro, read on as we have all the vital information you need to be successful.
- Go for a game with fewer decks
Fewer decks equal a greater chance of Blackjack and if the rules and pay-outs are the same, the game is effectively better (or more favourable). In a multi-deck game, the 10s and aces are diluted, making it harder for you to land a natural. If you’re employing card counting techniques in your game, fewer decks will also make it easier to track the remaining cards.
- Look at the pay-outs
Okay, so maybe not a hack as such and not one that will make you a better player, although in the long run, it will advantageous to your winnings. Different games offer different pay-outs and if you want to be in the money, look at the games that offer better returns. Most games offer odds of 3:2 for a natural Blackjack, whereas others are 6:5. If you’re winning a $10 bet on a 6:5 table, you’ll earn $12, as opposed to the $15 you would receive on a 3:2 table. It’s all about the maths – and in the long run, those differences of $3 all add up.
- Employ a basic strategy
It may sound obvious but employing a basic strategy will help you greatly. You don’t need to spend loads of time and money on fancy books or guides, you can quite easily find a free cheat sheet online. A basic strategy will tell you when to hit, stand, double down and split – all depending on both the cards in your hand as well as the dealer’s. If you’re playing online or live Blackjack, print one out and consult it before placing your wager.
- Follow favourable rules
Now you’ve got the strategy, you can put it into practice. But by following these simple rules, you could also lower the house edge and turn the game in your favour.
When it comes to splitting, always split aces (and re-split them again if it’s an option) and 8s, but never split 5s or 10s (10-value or face cards).
The next rule of thumb is to know when to double down. There are three prime times to do this. Double down when:
- Your cards total 11 and the dealer has a card with a value of six or lower
- You have a soft 16, 17 or 18 (an ace plus a numerical card)
- You have a hard 9 or 10 (a hand with no ace)
Finally, if your chosen casino allows you to surrender early, do it. In the long run, it will reduce your losses and extend your playing time. An early surrender allows you to give up your hand before the dealer checks to see if they have Blackjack, without losing all of your wagered bet. Not every casino offers early surrender but it’s a great way to recuperate some of your losses.
- Never take insurance
If you’re a Blackjack beginner, you may think that taking insurance is a good idea, but it’s definitely not all it’s cracked up to be – and pros know this. In short, the insurance side bet can only be taken if the dealer’s up-card is an ace and you’re betting that their next card will be one with a value of 10 (either a numerical or face card) – thus resulting in a natural Blackjack. The pay-out for insurance is 2:1 but the odds of the dealer receiving a 10-value card are only around 30%, so in reality it’s not worth it.