What should you play at Blackjack? Well, you want to get as much advantage as possible, but you don’t want to go too crazy. There are always going to be situations where either choice seems logical, but only one way leads to winning. In these cases, I’m often tempted to choose the option that has the greatest chance of winning. Unfortunately, over time, this strategy usually turns out bad, so you might want to try something else instead.
Finding Your Way Around The Table
The rules of blackjack aren’t very complicated. All you really need to know is how cards rank from highest to lowest (ace1) and whether they are face down or face up. When dealing, you can see their value and suit, but the dealer never sees yours. If two players are playing against each other, the player who draws the higher card wins.
There’s just one important rule about betting in blackjack: You must either bet more than the minimum amount allowed by the casino or fold when your hand doesn’t have enough money for a new bet. This means that all bets must be made before the first deal of the game.
If you are dealt two 10s, then you cannot stand on a pair of tens. The house edge on blackjack is 0.5%. So if you draw a pair, you should make a $10 bet. It may seem strange that doubling your bet would give any kind of advantage, but it actually works because the dealer will only hit if he also has a ten. If both hands show a ten, he will not take even money off you. If no one stands after that, then you win with your original bet.
A single ace can count as 11 points. An Ace-2 can count as 12, and so on. Since there are four suits, there are 52 different combinations. For example, 5 of Hearts can count as 21. These can come in many different orders, but the most common ones are 5H, 3D, 2C, and 6S.
Aces and eights are worth 1 point, while tens, nines, and sevens are worth 10 points. Jacks, queens, and kings are worth 11 points, and the remaining cards are worth nothing. You can play until you reach 17 points. At that point, you lose.
Turning Yourself Over
So what do you do if you hold one or more aces? You obviously cannot stand on them. However, you can raise by making a $10 bet and hoping the dealer hits. If you are correct in your guess, then you will receive 20–1 odds on your bet. But if you are wrong, then you will lose your bet.
If you are holding multiple aces, you can use the same technique to raise again.
Face Value Cards
When you draw your first card, you can look at its face value, since it doesn’t matter which number shows on the card. As long as you are not holding an ace, you could decide to “hit” and continue drawing cards. If you were right, you would make a profit; if you were wrong, you would lose your initial $10 bet.
But why do we call this method “hitting”? Because the dealer has the option of hitting back once his own cards total less than 21. In fact, the dealer is required to bust if his final hand totals 22 or more. After that, the player with the best hand wins!
You may wonder why everyone does not simply stick with one decision. After all, the dealer is supposed to be able to beat a skilled player. That’s true, but the truth is that it takes a lot of practice to learn how to exploit this weakness. And unless you happen to come across a great teacher, you won’t find out about it on your own.
If you already have a decent hand and you think that you can beat the dealer without having to wager additional funds, then you should go ahead and walk away from the table. The dealer will soon get impatient, and he will likely start cheating on you.
Blackjack isn’t played anywhere near perfectly, so you might still lose money. But you don’t need to gamble half your bankroll every time you sit down at a game. When you have a good hand, you should be willing to risk everything to try to push your luck to a winning position.
The Bottom Line
Online Casinos tend to have lower house edges than brick-and-mortar casinos, due to their ability to track and adjust for players who are consistently bad (or good). Additionally, online casinos often offer bonus rounds, free spins, exclusive games, loyalty programs, and other promotions designed to entice new players into their sites. Beating blackjack odds is hard enough, but playing well at online casinos allows you to reap the rewards of being a savvy gambler.