Blackjack basic strategy
Blackjack has to be one of the most fun, exciting, and popular games that anyone can play at a casino (or anywhere with a group of friends, for that matter).
The reason that it is so popular is pretty simple and straightforward – there aren’t too terribly many blackjack strategy secrets that you have to learn to get good (really, really good) at blackjack, and pretty much anyone can play without too terribly much experience.
This is definitely a good thing – but it can also stunt the amount you’re able to win when you play blackjack as well.
If you go into a professional blackjack setting (a casino, online or off) and expect blackjack basic strategy tips to bring you to the jackpot you are going to end up very disappointed.
That’s not to say that you won’t hit a patch of luck and really start to clean up here and there along the way, but you’ll never be able to win with any consistency at blackjack if all you’re doing is focusing on the “luck of the draw”.
No, what you’re going to want to do instead is learn to master advanced blackjack strategy and really put your mind to work to cash in big time. It’s a little bit more effort for sure, but it’s well worth it when you start taking home big chunks of change from the casino!
Ready to get into the nitty-gritty regarding blackjack strategy that will actually help you win?
Here we go!
You have to know the fundamentals before absolutely anything else
It is going to be absolutely impossible for you to win consistently at blackjack without first understanding the rudiments of blackjack basic strategy.
I know, I know – we said that basic blackjack strategy isn’t going to get you to the promised land above (and that still rings true), but you’re still going to need to know the fundamentals of winning at blackjack before the advanced strategies below are going to do absolutely anything for you.
The rest of this blackjack strategy guide assumes that you understand the rudiments of the game, know exactly what it takes to win, and understand the general rules of blackjack. We’re not going to cover those here – though we do have resources that can help you get your bearings if you are brand-new to the game.
You also have to understand (as a component of basic blackjack strategy) that you are ALWAYS going to be at a disadvantage to the house. Basically, the cards are always going to be stacked against you.
Hopefully this doesn’t come as a surprise to you, as every single game you ever play in the casino – online or off – is going to be “rigged” at least a little bit against you right out of the box. The house wins consistently, which allows them to blow gigantic jackpots from time to time without taking it on the chin.
When you know more advanced blackjack strategy (like the strategy tips and tricks we’re going to cover in a moment), you’re able to close the gap between the house advantage and your hands – giving you an almost immediate edge and advantage you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
One of the most important blackjack basic strategy fundamentals you’ll want to know is the concept of “splitting”.
The whole idea behind splitting is that, if you are dealt two of the same cards (especially if we’re talking about eights or aces) you “split them” – turning each of the same cards you have been dealt into one half of two new hands.
You’ll have to double your bet (to cover both hands that you are playing), but it increases your odds dramatically and allows you to really clean up if both of your hands go off and beat the dealer.
More advanced blackjack strategy
The casino (almost all legitimate traditional casinos and most of the high-end online casinos) will give you the opportunity to play 3/2 odds on the dealer making blackjack if they have an ace already showing.
It sounds pretty enticing, but players will usually lose money – sometimes a lot of money – by playing insurance, but if you want to make sure that you’re covered it might be a route you want to take.
The house will also offer you the opportunity to recoup half of your bet if you feel like you are going to blow it and still want to make it out with some of your money, but you have to give the other half to the house no matter what they have.
Again, this is a bit of a long shot, and you’re going to only want to play it in some pretty desperate situations.
Probably the most popular and most well-known of all of the advanced blackjack strategy solutions out there, doubling down allows you to place in people that to your original one so that you can get a single card dealt to you.
You want to use this advanced strategy when you have a pretty strong starting hand (for example, if you are rolling with an 11), though you can also use it when you’re holding nines or tens and want to make sure that you stuff the dealer with just one more card as well.
It’s a bit advanced and probably not something that new players are going to want to play with too terribly much, but it’s important that you understand the concept of the double down and use it whenever it’s appropriate – or when you have more confidence to do so.
Hit it or quit it
Finally, you’re going to want to try and figure out the mathematics behind when you should “hit” a hand in blackjack and when you should “quit” or stay.
There are all kinds of charts online to help you figure out exactly what you should do and when depending upon your specific situation and the hand that you have already been dealt, but a good rule of thumb is to stay any time you start to get close to 16, 17, and especially 18 and hit whenever you are hovering under 15 or so.
And now (hopefully) you know a bit more about blackjack strategy than you used to!