Blackjack is a game of skill. Of course, there's a lot of chance involved in the outcome of an individual hand, but chance evens out over time.
Knowing when to do in every situation is what decides your success as a blackjack player.
Reduce the House Edge
Your ultimate goal in blackjack is to get the casino advantage as low as possible. If you succeed, the edge becomes much smaller than in most other casino games.
A lot of people, however, play blackjack in a way that doesn't yield the best possible chance of winning. In fact, if they make really terrible decisions, blackjack instantly becomes one of the most unfriendly games on the casino floor.
With a good strategy, a disciplined mentality and some practice you will increase your chances of winning dramatically.
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Play Blackjack the Smart Way
If you’re new to blackjack, it takes time to learn what the best move is in every situation.
What do you do when you have an ace and a six while the dealer shows a five? Do you stand, hit or even double down?
Knowing what to do all the time takes quite some experience.
However, there is an easy solution to this problem: the blackjack strategy chart
In this chart you just look up what you hand the dealer hold and see what decision generates the best expected value. Follow this chart and you will reduce the house edge to a minimum.
Have it open in a side window anytime you play blackjack online.
Four Important Blackjack Strategy Tips
If you find yourself trying to figure out what moves to make in blackjack, remember these ideas to keep you in the game.
1. Give the Dealer a Chance to Bust
If the dealer has a 4, 5, or 6 showing, you don't want to be hitting unless you have a "soft" hand (one that can’t bust with an additional card).
These cards give the dealer the biggest chance to bust, which is highly favorable to you.
In fact, in many situations you will want to double or split your hand to get more money in action in the likely event that the dealer busts.
2. Hold on to High, Hard Hands
If you hold a hard 17 or higher, you should always stand. Your chances of busting are too great.
If the dealer shows a paint card or an ace in the hole, your 17 may not look that good (and it isn’t) but drawing with the chance of going bust is an even worse decision.
Give the dealer a chance to bust or end up at the same total as you.
3. Always Split Aces and Eights – Never Split Tens and Sixes
A single ace is a powerful card – two together is just a twelve. Always split them and give yourself a shot at two 21s.
Two 8s make 16 – the worst possible hand – but if you split them you can make two 18s, hands that are reasonably strong.
A 10 is a good base for a hand, but a 20 is too powerful to risk splitting.
Splitting 6s will give two hands with 6 as your base, the worst possible card.
4. Never Take Insurance
Any time the dealer shows an ace you have the opportunity to take insurance.
This means that you post a side bet half the size of the original wager, and if the dealer has blackjack, this side bet is paid 2:1.
In consequence, if the dealer has blackjack you break even.
But you don’t have to think more about how this option works. Insurance is always a bad decision and only raises the casino’s advantage.
To win at blackjack, you have to know the odds. People who are successful at blackjack are able to manipulate the odds in their favor by basing bet sizes and actions on their expectations of what will follow.
They base those expectations on the only information available – the cards they have seen and the composition of the deck.
Basic Blackjack Odds
When using correct basic strategy, you can get the blackjack odds on a multiple-deck game down to about a .45 percent edge in the casino’s favor.
In other words, you can expect to lose on average 45 cents for every $100 you wager.
This does not mean you will lose 45 cents out of every $100 exactly, but over the long term, this is how well you can expect to do.
Failing to use basic blackjack strategy (playing hunches) can result in house edges of five percent or more.
Rule Changes Affect the Odds
The odds described above relates to regular blackjack – the most common variation found in both online and offline casinos. But remember any time a casino changes the rules, odds are affected.
For instance, some casinos have changed from a "dealer stands on soft 17" to a "dealer hits soft 17.” This change boosts the house edge to about .66 percent. If there’s an option, avoid the latter game.
Also, the surrender option, which allows you to give up half your bet and forfeit a hand, provide a considerable advantage when used correctly.
It knocks the house edge down to around .35 percent for the favorable soft 17 rules and about .55 percent for the less favorable rules.
For more information on the odds, rules and strategies in other games, go to our blackjack variations page.
Learn Strategy with Our Blackjack Trainer
Learning to play blackjack in the optimal way can only improve your winnings.
With this in mind, we have developed a new Blackjack Strategy Trainer which will take you through blackjack hands step by step and give you real-time advice on the best decision to make at each stage.
Use this tool and play risk-free blackjack while learning the proper strategy.
Bonuses Improve Your Odds
Keep a lookout for blackjack bonuses.
Bonuses usually require that you wager a certain amount before the bonus is released to your account, but when the bonus is released, you’ve earned money on top of the regular game.
With this extra value you may actually turn the house edge around and be a favorite against the house.
For the best bonus deals, look at our toplist of the best blackjack sites.
Know Your Limits
Last of all, don't chase losses.
Sure, losing may be very frustrating but if you change your game to compensate for it you deviate from the optimal strategy. That is, you increase the house edge.
It’s a good way of compounding your losses rather than neutralizing them.
If you want to enjoy blackjack, make a sport out of smiling at your bad luck!