Blackjack has been a popular card game for two centuries or more and new players gravitate towards it every single day. Thanks to the popularity of online casinos it is now easier for a player to play such game as blackjack and there has been a definite blackjack boom in India too. We will look at the best ways to play blackjack and which strategy best suits you in order to help you win.
The basics of blackjack
You might have played blackjack before, but you might not. In a nutshell blackjack is a card game where you try to get as close to 21 as possible without going over, ideally by scoring 21 with your first two cards, which is called a blackjack.
The dealer takes two cards, one face down and one face up. The player is dealt two cards face up. You then need to decide how to play. An A is worth 1 or 11 points, picture cards are 10 and everything else is face value. You can stand (you are satisfied with your hand and wish to take no more cards), hit (take one more card – and more if required afterwards), spilt (divide a pair to form two separate hands) or double down (multiply your stake by two to take one more card only). Once you have finished any action you wish to perform you will stand and the dealer will reveal the card which was facedown and then play out his hand according to the rules. A dealer must hit on anything lower than 17 and stand on 17.
If the dealer wins he takes your chips. If you win you are paid out at 1/1, but with a blackjack of an A plus a 10, J, Q or K, the odds are 3/2. A tie is known as a push and the player’s stake is returned in the event of this.
Using basic blackjack strategy
Basic blackjack strategy is a system which is known by all serious blackjack players. It is a series of charts which recommend how you should proceed based on the cards you have and the face up card of the dealer which you can see. Basic blackjack strategy tells you when to hit, stand, double down or split.
Some of the rules are that you should never split a pair of 10s and should always split a pair of aces. Doubling down on a 10 or 11 is usually recommended too and some of the other moves you can make are dependent on the dealer’s card.
There are a number of places online where you can find basic blackjack strategy and a number of bricks and mortar casinos give players cards with blackjack strategy printed on them. Casinos don’t see blackjack strategy as cheating, rather it’s just a guide to statistical likelihood and isn’t a foolproof way to win.
Double up for a blackjack strategy that works
One of the best blackjack strategies is to have a staking plan. The most common of these is to double up following a loss. If you bet $10 and lose then you double up to $20. If you then win you drop back down to $10 for the next hand, but if you lose you increase to $40 and so on. Every time you win and drop back down to $10 you will have made a $10 profit.
The only problem with this method is how frightening the stakes can get very quickly – $10, $20, $40, $80, $160, $320, $640, $1280, $2560, $5120. That’s just after 10 losing hands in a row, which is possible. Many casinos will have a table limit far below $5000 and it is a very good idea to check the limits before employing a doubling up blackjack strategy.
Everyone’s heard stories about guys being taken into back rooms in Vegas casinos and given a going over because they were cheating. Card counting was considered cheating for a long time, but it is only illegal if you do it using hidden surveillance or an inside man in the casino. It might be frowned upon but it is legal and it will give you a slight edge over the house.
Card counting is simple and involves keeping a mental note of the running total and it is based on cards you see played on the table. Cards from 2 to 6 score +1, 7 – 9 score 0 and 10s, pictures and aces score -1. If the count total is negative then the advantage lies with the house, but if it is positive – and the higher the better – then the advantage shifts to the player. This is because a high count indicates that there is a high number of 10s and aces left in the deck. You should stake according to who the advantage is currently with – low stakes for a negative count and higher stakes or a positive count.
Card counting only works in bricks and mortar casinos or when playing live blackjack at an online casino. A video version of blackjack will be totally random with each deal which makes counting completely redundant.
If the dealer shows an A there is the chance that his face down card is a 10 and therefore there is a chance that he might have blackjack. In this instance a player is given the option of insurance. An insurance bet is 50% of your original stake that pays out only if the dealer has blackjack at 2/1. Effectively insurance turns a dealer’s blackjack into a push. If the dealer doesn’t have blackjack your insurance bet loses. You could still lose your main bet too.
Insurance is seen as a bit of a mug’s bet. It is not as statistically likely as some people think that the dealer will have blackjack – if you’re counting cards you’ll know whether it’s likely or not – and no serious player would ever take the insurance bet.