Blackjack Strategy and where to play online Blackjack for real money! Before we start rattling off how great the game is to play, let's start off by saying, welcome! Blackjack is often slated and venerated by a legion of fans, heck even by Hollywood itself.

blackjack cardsWhat sets blackjack apart from traditional casino games is that players can improve their odds (winning chances) if they understand the game's betting strategy, bankroll management and rules. Above all, it's an entertaining game where the seasoned veteran goes toe to toe against the dealer and what can be more exciting than that!

Blackjack Fast Facts

  • If you're wondering about the origins of blackjack it originated in European casinos during the 18th century. Currently it's one of the most played casino games be it online or at land-based venues.
  • The game is not only based on luck but on sound strategy too. Players who play smart can reduce the house edge from 5% to 0%! Seasoned players can literally take the casino to the cleaners-talk about 'Busting The House'!
  • In itself blackjack is one of the easiest games to master.
  • Keep in mind even if you play according to the boo (optimal strategy) you can't judge your progress on the outcome of a single gaming session. To get a comprehensive overview about your progress it's best to review it after 30 game sessions.

 

''In blackjack you don't have to buy anyone a drink to get lucky.'' read more of the blackjack strategy guide to give you the best chance of winning and understanding of how the game is played.

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Blackjack Strategy Guide

Blackjack has many variants. Some players call it 21, Pontoon, Vingt-et-Un, while others call it, well Blackjack. Whether you play it at an online casino or at a land-based venue, there are a number of things you need to understand about the game to be successful at it. Casinowhizz.com is going to give you the low-down on this 300-year-old game. Next time you play it we hope that you take a few dollars off the house.

How Did It All Start?

If we wind back the clock to the 18th century, Blackjack has its roots firmly in France and known as Vingt-et-Un, or “21”. Since the Americans practically revolutionized gambling in metropolises like Las Vegas, one would think that Blackjack originated from the United States. Not so.

The question is, how did Blackjack become so popular? A man by the name of Edward Oakley Thorp, an American mathematics professor, came up with an ingenious idea namely ‘Basic Strategy For Winning in Blackjack’. He discusses it in detail in his 1963 bestseller book: “Beat The Dealer.” Despite its origins being in France, Thorp placed an American spin on it, and with his basic mathematical strategy, provided players the necessary tools to ‘beat’ the casino.

How To Play Casino Blackjack

Blackjack is played with 1, 2, 4, 6, or 8 decks of cards. Believe it or not, it is one of the simplest casino games to play. During the early days of Blackjack, the dealers at the casino shuffled the cards. It is now, sadly a lost art. Nothing is as mesmerizing as watching a dealer shuffle cards like a magician. As technology became more advanced, casinos became smarter and started using machines to shuffle the cards. In Blackjack, there are single, double-deck, and multi-deck games.

What is the difference between the three? In the single-and multi-deck games, the dealer is responsible for dealing cards. And, in the multi-deck games (in other words, where there are more than 4 decks of cards), the cards are dealt from the shoe. When the dealer deals the cards, they are dealt face-down, and when the cards are dispensed by the machine (shoe-game), they are dealt face-up.

Basic Strategy for Blackjack Casinos

The objective of Blackjack is to get ’21’ and to beat the dealer without going “bust.” You’ll bust if your card totals are more than 21. The most significant thing to remember about any casino game, Blackjack included, is that the house always wins over the long run. So, choose your battles wisely.

If you are wondering how the house advantage works, here’s a brief explanation. If the house edge for Blackjack is 4%, then the casino keeps 4 cents for every dollar that is wagered. Interestingly, the player will bust more than the dealer. See, we told you that the house always wins over the long haul. This is why you must quit while you are ahead.

BlackJack Chart Strategy

blackjack charts for strategy

Card Values

When playing Blackjack, focus on the numerical value of each card. Cards from 2 to 10 (doesn’t matter which suite), count 2 points. Face-cards such as a Jack, Queen, and King count 10 points. The Ace, on the other hand, counts 1 point or 11 points. If you are dealt a 7 and a 10, your combined hand value is 17.

However, should you be dealt an Ace and an 8, it can be 9 or 19. See the difference when an Ace becomes part of the equation? This is known as a ‘soft hand’ because the Ace changes the value of the hand. If the Ace counts as ’11’ (A, 8, 4) and the dealer deals you a 4, your hand total is 23 (bust). This is known as a ‘hard hand.’

 

Table Play

Unlike other table games, the Blackjack table is shaped in a semi-circle. When seated at the table, each player has their own square. Before you can play, you must purchase chips from the dealer. The game starts once you place your bet in the betting circle. In a multi-deck game, the player is dealt 2 cards that are face-up from the shoe.

The dealer, on the other hand, will receive one card that is face-down and one card that is face-up. The dealer asks each player to make a decision based on their respective hand values. The player situated to the left of the dealer plays first; this is known as ‘First Base.’ The person at the table who places his bets last is known as ‘Third Base.’ And yes, second-base is still what you know it to be in high school!

Strictly speaking, you will place your bets based on the dealer’s up-card, and the value of your 2 cards. Most experts believe that you must always assume that the dealer’s face-down card is a 10 in the hole. We’re not saying that this is cast in stone; it’s just that it gives you an idea of what to expect.

Hand Signals

When the cards are dealt from the shoe, you are not allowed to touch them. As such, you’ll be prompted to use hand signals instead. What exactly are these hand signals? Let’s take a look:

  • Hit: If you want the dealer to draw you another card/s, you can tap on the table with your index or any other finger. In layman’s terms, you are telling the dealer to ‘Hit’ you.
  • Splitting Pairs: When do I split my cards? When you are dealt 2 cards (pair) that have the same value, you’ll then split them into two different hands. You’ll signal the dealer by placing your second bet next to your original bet. Note, the dealer will split your cards and place your bets. Don’t touch it! Once again, some online casinos allow Doubling Down once you’ve split your first 2 cards. Suffice to say, it is advantageous to the player as the chances of winning are doubled.
  • Stand: Players satisfied with their cards, can signal the dealer by waving their hands above them.
  • Double Down: Upon receiving your 2 cards, you can double your bet. An additional card will be dealt to you. Doubling Down is usually allowed by online casinos if you have a 10 or 11 (Ace) and occurs when players place a bet next to their original bet. Certain casinos restrict players by allowing only the minimum bet. If a casino pulls this trick, it’s not worth Doubling Down. Rather play at a site that permits the maximum bet when it comes to Doubling Down.

blackjack

When to Hit at Blackjack Casinos

When you or the dealer’s combined hand value is 21, it is identified as ‘Blackjack.’ And, of course, that is the aim of the game. Blackjack bets are paid 3 to 2. A ‘Push’ occurs when the player and the dealer both hit 21. I these cases, all bets will be returned. However, if only the dealer hits a 21, the players seated at the table loses the hand.

Insurance

The dealer offers ‘Insurance’ when his up-card is an Ace. You’re making a side bet by betting half of your original bet that the dealer has a ’10’ in the hole (the dealer’s face-down card is a 10). If you made a bet and you guessed correctly that the dealer’s card is a 10, you’ll be paid 2 to 1.

You’ll win the Insurance bet, but you will forfeit your original bet. Should the dealer have an Ace and you make Blackjack, you are given an option between a payout of 3 to 2 or even money. What happens when you refuse to take the even money, and the dealer hits a Blackjack? This is a ‘push,’ as mentioned earlier.

Surrender

Late surrender occurs when the dealer hits a Blackjack. This blackjack strategy allows you to give up half your bet and surrender. Only certain casinos offer it because it benefits the player and not the casino. The problem is that players tend to abuse the surrender when a casino offers it by surrendering most of their hands.

 

Basic Blackjack Strategy

How can I reduce the house edge when I play Blackjack? Smart players can reduce the edge to the house by as much as one percent. The heart of the matter is that you must know when to hit and when to stand using the following blackjack strategy:

• A “stiff” hand occurs when your first 2 cards have totals of 12-16. You can go bust if your third card has a value of 10. Should you and the dealer have a stiff hand, stand.
• Hit when the dealer has a pat hand, and you have a stiff hand.
• Now, the dealer has a “stiff” hand when his up-card is 2-6.
• When your two cards have a combined value of 17 or more, then stand. This is known as a ‘Pat Hand.’
• When the dealer has a 7-Ace, this is a ‘Pat Hand.’

A basic Blackjack strategy is easy to learn. If you want to take matters to the next level, you can use a basic strategy chart (see chart above). You are allowed to use it at a table because most casinos allow it.

Blackjack is one of the best games to play because its house edge is ridiculously low. Be warned though; never play it with your ‘gut-feeling.’ It is a sure recipe that will see your bankroll disappear faster than a paper in a bonfire.

Frequently Asked Questions Blackjack Casinos

When must I Double Down?+

Doubling Down is the best thing you can do when playing Blackjack since it is factored into the House Edge. Don’t play with stakes you can ill-afford, because this leads to playing with ‘scared money’ which is never a good thing.

Casinos may allow you to double down for less than your initial wager, on condition it meets the table minimum. Always double down for the maximum. Double down after you’ve split a pair (it reduces the house edge by as much as 0.42% to 0.76%), or on hands that total 10 or 11.

What are the chances of the dealer going Bust in Blackjack?+

Don’t double down if you have a 7 or 8. It is not smart to do if the dealer’s up-card is a 5 or 6. Statistics point out that the chances of the dealer going bust is 42%. If the dealer has a 2, his chances of going bust are 35%. If he has a 3, it is 37%, and if he has a 4, 5, 6 or an Ace, then it ranges from 40%, 42% to 17% respectively. The best way to improve your winning chances against the dealer is to know the basic strategy chart from the top of your head.
What are the secrets of Blackjack strategy?+

Play at tables with a single deck where the odds favor the player. If single-deck tables are not available, play multi-deck shoe games with continuous shufflers. Also, play at tables with 6-deck shoes that allow doubling down on any 2 cards and the re-splitting of aces. Avoid Blackjack casinos that pay 6 to 5 instead of 7.5 to 5.
Do online casinos offer bonuses to play Blackjack?+

Yes, they do indeed. But they are few and far between. One USA online casino that comes to mind is Wild Casino. It offers new depositors a table game bonus of up to $1,000 (terms and conditions apply).
Can I beat the continuous Blackjack shufflers?+

This depends on how many decks the shuffle machines use. The fewer decks of cards it uses, the better it is for the player. There is a way you can improve your odds at beating the shufflers, and that is to learn the Aces and Fives Count. Granted it’s not easy, but it will definitely increase your odds against the casino. It’s way more difficult when the casino uses continuous shufflers since it makes card counting virtually impossible. After the previous hand, the cards in the shuffler are refilled with new cards.

Further Reading

1. https://www.liveabout.com/how-to-play-blackjack-537106
2. https://www.888casino.com/blog/casino-tips/ed-thorp-interview-2019