Blackjack is one of the most iconic casino games, and it also offers one of the narrowest edges to the house, allowing you to find small edges and limits if you play your cards right. Here’s the lowdown on everything Blackjack and the best strategies to get the most bang for your buck.
Basic Blackjack Rules
So how do you play Blackjack? The fundamental goal of the game is to amass a collection of cards that’s as close to 21 as possible without “busting,” or in other words, going over. You’re looking to beat the dealer while doing so, but keep in mind that the house has certain advantages: one of their two cards are face down for the early portion of the game, and they must draw on 16 and stand on 17, which scrambles the math a little.
What Is The Best Strategy For Online Blackjack?
Though there are many popular strategies for Blackjack (especially as the game functions identically in an online and offline environment, though you can, of course, play a much higher volume of hands in a given time when in front of a computer), how to play Blackjack for beginners is a great starting point even for those looking to research advanced strategies further down the line.
Understand the advanced rules
First, a quick rundown of the more advanced rules of the game. These are important to understand if you ever want to figure out how to play Blackjack and win, even in the short run. Regular wins pay 1:1 (when you’re closer to 21 than the dealer is, or they go bust), and Blackjack wins pay 3:2.
Apart from choosing whether to hit (draw another card) or stand (keep your hand), you have some other options. If you have two of the same cards, you can split them for an extra shot at winning (though you shouldn’t always do this, as we’ll cover in a sec).
There’s also “Double Down” when you double your initial bet, but you can only draw one another card. This usually only makes sense when you have a 10 or an 11 in your starting hand.
Research the house-specific rules as well.
A couple of other options also exist in most Blackjack casinos. The dealer offers insurance when their visible card is an Ace, protecting you if they have a 10-cost card next to it face down, an addition brought around sometime in the fifties or the sixties, depending on who you ask.
Some casinos allow you to surrender your bet for half your stake outright if you dislike your hand. There can also be an option to take even money when you have a Blackjack, but the dealer shows an Ace to ensure a victory instead of a tie, accepting the usual 1:1 payout instead of gambling for the 3:2 but risking a tie.
Finally, there’s also the “soft 17”, named as such because it has an Ace in it (which can amount to one or eleven depending on what works out better for you), which some casinos force the dealer to hit on. This is something you should check in advance as it impacts your math.
Always split eights and Aces.
Instead of a crappy twelve, two Aces offer you two shots at the big time with any of the 10-cost cards, so splitting them is always a good idea. The same holds for a pair of eights as well, simply because it can be somewhat risky to hit on 16, while splitting these cards will let you make good use of low-value cards as well, increasing your odds to find your way to a winning hand.
Never split two ten-cost cards.
It might seem tempting to go for the big brain play and make the most of your split face cards, but it turns out the math doesn’t back up your instincts on that one. You’re more likely to ruin your hand – now two of them, not just one – so it’s not worth giving up on the good chances of winning with a 20 for what’s, in most scenarios, precisely the same outcome at best.
Manage your bankroll carefully
We’re all here to have fun. Careful management of your bankroll lets you get the most enjoyment out of the money you set aside to play. The saying to “never throw good money after bad” is very accurate in a casino environment. Figure out your budget well ahead of time and stay true to it no matter how the cards run on the day.
Is Playing Blackjack Online Worth It?
Does basic blackjack strategy work online? Yes, it does, at least in terms of minimizing the house edge, though you can never exactly break through the barrier. (This means the only legit answer to “How do you always win at online Blackjack?” is finding your casino. That pesky variance always gets in the way otherwise.)
The rules of online Blackjack work the same way as the live tables’ operation – though you should keep in mind that the infamous card counting method is severely limited in effectiveness online as the whole deck is reshuffled before each hand is dealt out – meaning you should follow these guidelines regardless of the platform you choose to play on.
Speaking of which…
Top Online Blackjack Casinos To Win Real Money
- Betway – It’s no surprise that one of the industry leaders in betting and casino games belongs on this list. A generous first deposit bonus coupled with a long track record of excellence in the industry makes Betway a no-brainer of choice for online Blackjack play.
- 888sport – Another well-known figure in the industry, 888sport’s robust payment solutions, and bet-based bonuses make them an attractive option for casino game enthusiasts.
- BetUS – For US-based customers, it’s well worth exploring local options for some juicy deposit bonuses. BetUS offers a massive 150% bonus up to $3 000 deposited, which already makes them worth checking out.
- Las Atlantis – For the high rollers out there, Las Atlantis’ 280% deposit bonus up to $14 000 is well-worth looking into should the fine print fit with your strategies and interest.
Now you’re armed with all the knowledge needed to take on the dealer and roll in the chips at the table, from how does betting works in Blackjack to the more advanced mathematical strategies.
Though you can’t fully nullify the house’s built-in advantage when playing the game, understanding these strategies and following the best tips will allow you to get the most mileage out of your chips when you sit down at the table. You’ll undoubtedly get more bang for your buck than the random patzers sitting next to you, which is already pretty damn satisfying by itself!
Sam Lee is a game and casino enthusiast with years of experience in gaming and gambling. Sam’s work has been featured across a wide variety of sites over the years. You can find more of his content at Safest Betting Sites’ casino games and betting hubs.