No one is sure where Blackjack came from, but it has hit every country by storm and is now considered one of the most popular casino games in the world. You can find it in both online and land-based casinos and on almost every continent. Its fast-paced play and ample opportunities to win call out to all gamers, both new and seasoned. Just like with every game, there is one similar goal, and that is to win big. While most games are left to luck, Blackjack is unique in that there are a few strategies that increase your chances at a winning hand. We will make sure to highlight these blackjack strategies in detail so that even the newest of players can gamble like pros.
We have included a blackjack strategy chart and some expert tips that you can try the next time you decide to work for a lucky draw. All of the following can be used, whether you choose to play online Blackjack from the comfort of your home or at a table within a popular casino.
You might also need to read the Basic Blackjack Rules before moving forward.
Tips for Playing Blackjack
Before we dive in a little deeper, here are some expert blackjack tips to keep in mind while playing:
- Learn the basics. Start with the most basic rules and make sure these are solid before going big. Our guide on playing blackjack for beginners is the perfect place to start.
- Use a strategy card. We have one below for you to use, but this can help you immensely with your game, and the more you practice, the less you will need it.
- Ignore others. Try and keep your focus on your own hand; keep in mind that blackjack is a one-person game and not a team effort.
Blackjack Basic Strategy
First of all, let’s review the most basic blackjack strategies passed on by expert players.
- The first rule of thumb is to focus on the number 16. If you have 16 or lower, usually it is best to surrender.
- Second is the split. Always split A’s and 8’s, but never 5’s and 10’s.
- Third, always double hard 9.
- Then, make sure to always hit totals below 11.
- Always stay when you have 17 or less.
- Do not take a hit on 19 or more.
Following these rules makes the game more of a strategic puzzle than a gamble.
Blackjack Strategy Chart
Still a bit confused? No need to worry. As mentioned, this is a strategy that takes time. Taking the tips above into account, you can also use the chart below as a guide. It may seem like a lot, but after some time you will notice a pattern, associating the action with specific totals.
To use the chart, simply compare the hand you were dealt with that of the dealer to decide whether you should surrender, split, stay, or hit. Use this one as a guide until you start to see the bigger picture and can choose automatically what your next move should be.
Embed Blackjack Cheat Sheet on Your Site
Use the code below to embed the cheat sheet above on your site:
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Online or At Home?
Let’s face it, putting these tips into play is much easier when playing online. Many brick and mortar casinos are highly regulated and do not allow the majority of these Blackjack strategies or tips we’re sharing to be practiced. If you’re suspected of counting cards, the casino could ask you to leave as this is against the rules.
Playing online can get you warmed up to the game, allowing you to keep the strategy chart by your side for a quick reference. There are a lot of benefits to playing a lively game surrounded by fellow gamers but if you’re just starting, stay online.
It has been referred to as the ‘sucker’ of all bets as many expert gamers poke fun at the thought of it. This option is typically aimed at newer players who want to enjoy the action hassle-free. Keep in mind that some dealers or casinos will call this an ‘even money’ bet instead of ‘insurance’ due to the negative associations with that name.
It’s still not a good bet either way, especially as you become more acquainted with the strategies above; you should be able to play smarter and make more reasonable decisions based on your knowledge of the game.
Card Counting in Blackjack
Probably the most known, and most regulated in land-based casinos, is card counting. Many believe it to be complicated; however, it actually requires less memorization than might be perceived. Casinos, both online and on-land ones, don’t want you to win.
At the end of the day, casinos are business ventures, and for them, the more you spend, the better. Some have begun to add multiple decks to make the odds of counting or using the winning strategies more difficult. Try to keep the house edge in mind before making any drastic decisions.
Keep in mind that counting cards may be more difficult to pull off your first few times, but the more exposure you have to a deck of cards, the simpler it becomes. There is a method with 3 easy to follow steps that will let you count as a pro in no time. We have broken them down, so you can start fine-tuning your skills today.
Steps to Card Counting
Step 1. Give cards a value. Do this by making three groups. First with 2-6, second with 7-9, and third with 10-A. As these cards appear, assign the corresponding value.
- Group One = +1
- Second Group = 0
- Group Three = -1
Step 2. Accounting. Here, you will need to keep a total based on which cards are drawn at all times for all players, even the dealer.
Step 3. True Count (Running Count/Decks Remaining). First, you’ll number the decks used in dealing. They will tell you the appropriate time to raise your bet and will let you know exactly when the cards are the most likely to be dealt in your favor.
Looking for an expert opinion? Watch the video from Wired, where they interview Mike Aponte of the MIT Blackjack Team, who describes hi Blackjack card counting process.
A More Conservative Approach
If the steps above are making your head spin, you can try a more conservative strategy that will be of use to all Blackjack newbies. It can be practiced by attempting to grow your winnings little by little instead of all at once. Do this by wagering smaller amounts and taking fewer risks, being cautious of when you hit and surrender.
It may sound super boring, especially for those thrill-seekers out there on the constant search for that once-in-a-lifetime win, but over time, this method will get you comfortable with the rules and strategies.
Contrary to the previous approach, this strategy is the least conservative it gets, prompting you to double your bet when you lose. To get this amount, you first will need to double your starting amount and then when you lose, double the bet you placed. It sounds crazy, and yes, it is risky, but this strategy gives you that rush you may be looking for and a clear starting and stopping point with your wager. Continue with this method until you are back to your beginning amount, steering clear of any losing tragedies.
A little less risky than other strategies, this system can help you manage your money better. It is a systematic way to bet, as you follow this trail of numbers after your first win. For example, after your first win, you bet $10; after the second — $30, and so on following the pattern.
However, you need to stop as soon as you lose, taking you back to the beginning of the system until you see a win again. This method leans more toward the luck of the draw than any other, but it will help you keep track of your bets and keep you playing longer.
Where to Begin
All of this can be a bit overwhelming, especially for those of you who have only played very little. The best way or place to begin is by studying a bit. Make sure to get very comfortable with the numbers within a deck of cards and the blackjack strategy table presented above. After this, we highly recommend beginning online.
Not only can you have charts and your favorite search engine nearby at all times, but you’re also able to take things more slowly and ask for help when you need it. Blackjack is energetic, fun, and gives you the potential to win some serious cash; but the smarter you play, the fewer chances you have of leaving empty-handed.
Final Thoughts on Blackjack Strategies
Sure, there are several other strategies out there, and some may work better than others and may suit some players more than others. Setting clear limits from the beginning will assure that you’re not going to lose it all in one sitting. While these methods are guaranteed to make you a better and more aware player and gambler in general, there is sadly still no sure way to win at every hand. So, many odds are against you from the beginning, including the dealer’s experience, the house edge, and the number of decks used.
Once you have mastered the rules, make sure to be patient in the pursuit of finding and perfecting your strategy as this is something that doesn’t just happen overnight. When trying more complex strategies, like 1-3-2-6 or card counting, it helps to get your thinking cap on and start studying away.
Start with a highly recommended and top-performing online casino that offers you a welcome bonus specifically for blackjack to test it out a bit. Hopefully, this information is more than enough to set you off on your journey with the wonderful game of blackjack. We wish you the best of luck as your knowledge increases and, as always, be sure to gamble with care.