Unlike roulette and online slots, blackjack is a decision-making game. As such, there’s a tried and tested playing strategy that players can adopt, which will improve their gameplay. So, what is it? How do you learn it? How much benefit do you get from using it? Thanks to the advancement in browser-based gaming, the game is more accessible than ever to players all around the globe, so let’s take a look as we answer those questions below to get you off to a winning start!
When researching blackjack strategies, new players can go to bestonlineblackjack.com to learn the ins and outs in great depth as there are several variants of blackjack have a house edge around 0.50%, which, of course, only applies if you follow the correct strategy. It’s estimated that the house edge ranges between 2% and 4% for players that don’t use a strategy and just play on their gut feeling.
Below, we’ve shared some basic blackjack strategy tips that you can utilise to maximise your returns at the tables the next time you play.
Double down on hard 11
In blackjack, the ace can be worth 1 point or 11 points, which is where the terms ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ hands come into play. A hard hand is when the ace counts as 1 point, or there is no ace in the hand.
Therefore, hard 11 can only be 2/9, 3/8, 4/7, or 5/6. Of course, if you had A/10, it would be blackjack. The blackjack strategy is to always double down on hard 11. This means doubling the size of your initial bet and drawing one more card. If you hit a high number – 8, 9, or 10, for example, you stand a good chance of winning the hand.
Split aces and eights
If your first two cards are the same value; i.e. 2/2, 3/3, J/J, K/K, you are allowed to split them. After splitting, you have two hands, and another card is dealt to each hand. The golden rule is to always split a pair of 8s as it improves your chances of getting at least one stronger hand than the original total of 16. Even if the dealer’s up-card is 10 or an ace, you should still split.
More obvious, but you should also split a pair of aces. As mentioned, an ace is worth 1 or 11 points. When you have a pair, they can’t both be worth 11 points because you bust out with a total of 22.
The other option is to have 11 + 1, so a hand total of 12. Then if you draw 10, J, Q, or K, you bust. Finally, the hand total could be 1 + 1 (2), but this is not a good starting point. That’s why splitting is the only option – and then play two hands. You stand a great chance of winning one if not both hands.
Don’t split 10s (or 5s)
It can be tempting to split a pair of tens and go for a double win, but don’t be greedy. Stand the hand on its total of 20 to give yourself a great chance of beating the dealer.
Similarly, don’t split 5s either. Keep the hand total of 10 and draw at least one more card. If you split, you’re starting each hand with five points, which is one of those in-between numbers you want to avoid in blackjack.
Hit soft 18 if the dealer has 9, 10 or ace
Soft 18 is ace – seven. Alternatively, ace – seven is also hard eight. Many players think soft 18 is a strong hand, which is correct, but it’s easily beatable if the dealer’s up-card is a 9, 10 or ace. Ultimately, when a player faces this hand, they are the underdog if they stand or hit. However, hitting soft 18 gives you the chance to improve with the hope of hitting soft 19 – 21 or hard 18 – 21.
Hit hard 12 if the dealer has 2 or 3
The numbers 12 through to 16 torment most blackjack players because of the fear of busting. This is why, when they have 12 hard, and they see the dealer is only showing a 2 or 3, many choose to stand. This gives the advantage to the dealer. The basic strategy is to hit and improve your hand total. Sometimes you will bust, but on most occasions, you’ll be safe.
Is the casino thinking of its players by offering insurance if the dealer’s up-card is an ace? Don’t be silly! This bet pays a measly 2:1, which covers the cost of the original bet if you win. The issue is that most of the time, the dealer doesn’t have blackjack, and the bet is lost.
You only need to do some simple maths to see this is a sucker bet. Let’s assume it’s a single-deck game (52 cards). You know the value of three cards – the dealer’s ace and the two in your hand. Of the 49 unknown cards, 16 of them could be worth 10 points (four 10s, four Js, four Qs and four Ks). Therefore, you have 16 chances of winning and 33 chances of losing.