Blackjack is one of the most elegant card games. Every gambler knows that the house always wins, but this does not mean you cannot improve your odds with the right strategy. We have gathered five tips from experts to help you up your game, offline and online.
If you are looking for the best virtual casino with blackjack, check this Yukon Gold Casino review for 2022. Only some gambling sites will let you play with a real dealer, but all top-rated platforms are optimized for mobile screens. Whether you play on the go or from a PC, follow these tips to achieve more with your blackjack skills.
1. Learn the Fundamentals
Unlike slots, which are completely random, blackjack has its logic and strategies. Experienced players have an advantage over novices, so build your acumen and strategic vision. Blackjack is not that complicated, but it is a game of skill.
The rules are relatively simple and easy to grasp. You play against a dealer or a random number generator (RNG), depending on the game format. Choose only trustworthy online casinos whose RNGs are audited on a regular basis.
At the beginning of the game, two cards are placed in front of you face-up. Next, the dealer gets their own two cards. One of them is face-up, the other is face down. The goal in blackjack is to get as close to 21 as possible. Card values are the following:
- Number cards have face value (e.g., 2 is worth 2 points).
- Each face card (Jacks, Kings, and Queens) is worth 10.
- Aces are worth 1 or 11 depending on the situation.
Your hand must be worth more than the dealer’s hand. 21 is “blackjack”. If you both got 21 in total, this constitutes a draw aka push. If you go over 21, you lose. After getting your cards, you can choose from the following moves:
- Hit: request one additional card
- Double down: increase your wager by 100% and get one additional card
- Stand: do nothing
- Surrender: accept defeat to lose 50% of your wager
- Insurance bet: relinquish 50% of your bet because you think the dealer will get 21.
2. Choose the Right Blackjack Casino
Remember the movie about the MIT blackjack team? They picked specific casinos for a reason. As they specialized in counting cards, they played in establishments tolerant of this technique. Don Johnson, one of the most famous real-time blackjack players who won $6 million, chooses casinos whose dealers he can beat.
So, what should be your selection strategy? Pick a casino that will help you win. For example, some providers offer large bonuses without wagering requirements. Some have a cashback program or feature your favorite blackjack styles. Make a choice based on your needs and preferences.
3. Learn Different Blackjack Types
Almost every casino has the classic version of blackjack, but players have a wide choice of its offshoots. For example, your operator may feature Blackjack Switch, Pontoon, Spanish 21, Vegas Strip or Atlantic City Blackjack. Every variation has its rules, but generally, the classic version has a lower house edge.
You do not have to learn about other game types unless you want to become an expert. You do not have to play them, either. Yet, they are still worth exploring. You may find that you feel more comfortable playing a specific variation, rather than the original game.
- In Blackjack Switch, you get four cards instead of two. They are divided into two hands, and you can switch them around to reach 21 faster. The downside is the payout — 1:1 as opposed to the original 3:2.
- In Spanish 21, all the 10 cards are removed from the deck. This also increases the house advantage. On the upside, you are allowed to split cards for times and profit from a tie.
- In Pontoon, you have to learn unique jargon with terms like “stick” instead of stand and “twisting” instead of hitting. This variant also lets you double the wager when you have a hand of 2-4.
- Atlantic City and Vegas Strip styles are based on similar variants that appeared in New Jersey and Nevada respectively.
4. Learn the Basic Blackjack Strategy
Card counting is one of many controversial blackjack strategies. The only approach accepted by all sides (gamblers, experts and casinos) is basic blackjack. The logic is simple — a player should respond to every hand in a certain way.
Suppose you have a soft hand giving 19 or more in total. The term “soft” refers to hands that include an ace — for example, ace + 8 or ace + 4 + 4. According to the strategy, you should stand.
If your hand does not include an ace, it is “hard”. In this case, you have several options. If you get 17 or more, you stand. If you get 9 or less, you hit.
5. Create a Budget
As blackjack is a game of skill, it is only natural that beginners incur losses in their first few weeks or months. Everyone makes mistakes, so don’t expect smooth sailing from day one. Until you gain sufficient experience, stick to modest bets. Create a budget and don’t go over it.
When calculating your bankroll, think about how much you can afford to lose per month — for example, $1,000. Next, break this sum down into small waiters of $10 or $20 each. Set a ceiling for losses — the amount after which you must quit playing and resume learning. For instance, you may decide that losing $200 over the weekend is your limit.
How realistic are your expectations? Do not hope that blackjack will help you pay for rent or cover any other regular expenses. Gambling is unpredictable, and every player experiences losing streaks from time to time.
Thus, you will lose sooner or later. Never chase these losses no matter how frustrated you get. Emotions are a gambler’s arch enemy. They cause irrational decisions. Players rarely manage to recoup their losses this way. Most often, this behavior only exacerbates them.