Blackjack Perfect Strategy
Blackjack is a timeless game that remains popular with punters from all over the world. Learning basic blackjack strategy is a necessary step for everyone interested in the game and grasping crucial tips will enrich your ability to beat the house.
While the casino has about 5% advantage over unskilled players, having a basic blackjack strategy can reduce the house advantage to 0.5%.
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A blackjack game begins with a bet by the players against the house. The dealer deals two cards for the players and two for themselves. One card faces up, the other down. The values for cards 1 to 9 correspond to their face number.
The picture cards (king, queen, jack and 10) count for 10, while the ace has a value of 1 or 11 depending on the state of the game. Players have a decision to make – whether to hit, stand, split, double down, or surrender.
The dealer acts after the players. He stands on 17-21, or hits on 16 or less. If the dealer exceeds 21 (busts), the players win. If the hand totals of players are higher than that of the dealer but less than a bust, they win.
Know your aces. A hard hand has the ace valued at 1 or as nothing at all. For instance, a hand of 4, ace, 9 and 2 is a hard 15 as well as 9 + 6. A soft hand has an ace valued at 11. For example, ace, 3 and 4 is a soft 18, while 2, 3, ace and 3 is a soft 19.
Blackjack Basic Strategy
Applying the perfect blackjack strategy means making the right decision for the circumstances, rather than having hard and fast rules.
Blackjack Basic Strategy: Hitting & Standing
To hit is to request another card, while standing is to signal that you need no more cards. Players stand or hit on hands that total to 21 or less. However, beware not to bust by exceeding 21.
If you want to hit, signal the dealer by beckoning or tapping the table behind your cards in shoe games. In hand-held games, you signal a hit by scratching the edges of your cards lightly on the felt. To stand in shoe games, wave over the cards, and in hand-held games tuck the cards under your chips.
Blackjack Basic Strategy: Doubling Down Soft & Hard Hands
Doubling down means to double the amount of the initial wager to receive one drawcard in return. Commonly doubled hands include soft 13 through 18 (A-2 to A-7), and hard 8 to 11. Always check the doubling restriction of a particular casino.
Blackjack Betting Strategy: Splitting a Pair
When you draw two like cards you can make a split bet. Splitting a pair is necessary when a player wants to turn a losing hand into a winning one, lose less money, or win more cash.
The basic blackjack strategy on splitting depends on the playing rules and the number of decks of the game. With NDAS (No double after split), you split hands less than in the case of liberal DAS (Double after split). Check the strategy table for tactical splits.
Blackjack Strategy: Surrendering a Hand
The blackjack strategy of surrendering sounds rather unpleasant but is often a timely solution. If you notice minimal chances of winning after comparing your two-card hand with the up card of the dealer, surrender.
This means forfeiting your hand and losing half of your wager amount. Then, the dealer puts your two initial cards into the discard tray. This is better than losing a full wager. You can make an ‘early surrender’ or a ‘late surrender’.
The late blackjack surrender takes place after the dealer peeks at his hole card (the card facing down) and has a blackjack like the player. For example, in a single deck with hard 17 when the dealer’s up-card is 10, and you hold 16, surrender. It reduces the house edge by 0.07% for multiple decks.
With the early surrender, players give in their hand having seen the picture up-card and/or ace of the dealer before the dealer determines whether he has a blackjack. For example, surrendering hard 14 to 16 against a dealer of 10. Early surrender is the perfect blackjack strategy if you think you are at risk of losing it all.
Blackjack Betting Strategy: Insurance & ‘Even Money’
The insurance strategy is an extra, optional bet where a player anticipates that the hole card of the dealer is a picture/ten card. The wager on an insurance bet is equal to about half of the original wager. If your prediction is true, this bet wins at 2 to 1 odds. If the dealer has a card different to that which you bet on, you lose the insurance bet.
‘Even money’ is the cash equivalent to your wager that a dealer pays you when she shows an ace up-card while you have a blackjack. The dealer pays before checking her hole card to see whether it is a blackjack.
How to Count Cards in Blackjack?
Another crucial blackjack betting strategy is to count cards. It is important to know how to do that in blackjack so that you know when to increase your bets, slow down or stop. As a player, card counting helps you vary your bets to take advantage of the casino. To learn how to count cards in blackjack follow these simple steps:
- Assign a tag of -1 to the cards 10, J, Q, K, and A. Assign +1 to the cards 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. The cards 7, 8, and 9 take a tag of 0.
- After the shuffle, start counting every card pulled from the deck by adding its tag. Consistently count cards accurately to get the running count of each round.
- A positive running count means that the undealt cards are of large value, so you should increase your bets.
- If after any round the running count is negative, that means undealt cards are of small value, so you should decrease your bets.
You can learn how to count cards in blackjack using an interactive card counting trainer. This is a software that applies a mathematical technique to counting cards accurately. Always do some counting to mitigate the risk on your bet.
The Round Up
Gaming is fun when you apply the perfect blackjack strategy. To maximise your chances of winning on your wager, consider a blackjack betting strategy ideal for an isolated situation.
If you are a newbie, check for a strategy table on the website of your casino to guide you on the moves to make. Most importantly, and most reliably, whichever blackjack betting strategy you use don’t forget to count cards to assess your progress.