Interested in learning the ropes about Blackjack? Find out everything you need to know about the game with our comprehensive guide to Blackjack Strategy.
Blackjack is among the best and most popular casino games. When you play blackjack following the best strategy, you can reduce the house advantage to around 0.5%. On the other hand, if you play recklessly, you might find yourself up against a two-digit house advantage. It’s not like playing slots or roulette. The decisions you make are crucial.
Blackjack strategy makes players’ lives easier while playing the casino game. It is the best way to play without sacrificing too much money from a fundamental standpoint. The aim is to maximize your chances of winning by making the dealer go bust as much as possible and minimizing your losses.
Blackjack is a game that is mainly based on probability. Furthermore, there are 340 different hand scenarios you can be dealt with during play, all at random and without having any control over which you receive.
As you can’t influence the cards you are dealt in this card game, we have designed a blackjack strategy to guide you in, making the right move when certain cards are dealt with you.
Soft and Hard Hands: Understanding their Differences
When you play online blackjack, detecting whether you have a soft hand or a hard hand can help you figure out what to do. Let’s take a look at what each term means below:
Blackjack Hard Hands: What are they?
A hard hand consists of two cards, in which one is 10, Ace, King, Jack, or Queen, and the second card with a value of eight or above. For example, look at this hand: A♦9♠. This hand has an Ace and a ten. The hand is very strong, nearly 21 points. So, you have a good opportunity to win.
Blackjack Soft Hands: What are they?
A soft hand consists of two cards, Aces and cards with a value of seven or less. For example, let’s look at this hand: A♠4♥. The soft hand consists of an Ace and a four, so the player has 14. In blackjack’s basic strategy, this hand has a low score. It is necessary to hit to get a score closer to 21.
Advanced Strategy of Blackjack
In the past, you have probably followed a basic blackjack strategy chart to play the best way possible. Even so, sometimes, you may not be able to win. How can you overcome this obstacle? Can you rely solely on the basic strategies? Or can you learn anything else that will increase the odds in your favor? Yes, you can.
Blackjack’s basic strategy is precisely what the name indicates. It is a strategy that should be implemented when playing the game. The basic strategies don’t cover some advanced blackjack tactics, which are essential for you to know, mainly if you play the game frequently with hopes of winning all the time.
Here are some advanced blackjack strategies that will increase your odds.
Take Out Insurance Only at the Right Time
Blackjack’s golden rule is never to take insurance when playing the game, particularly if the dealer has an Ace. As any blackjack expert will tell you, you should always follow this rule, almost every time. Assuming you have no idea what you are doing, it might not be a wise investment.
For instance, in certain situations, if you are counting cards and realize there are only 10s left, it may make sense to opt for insurance. For example, when the count is +4 or greater, it is wise to go for insurance against the dealer’s Ace.
Composition with Sensitive Hands
As you may know, focusing on the correct basic strategy chart increases your chances of achieving your goals. However, every basic strategy chart doesn’t have a guideline or strategy for what to do when you get particular hands with the same value as 16 or 15, but the hands don’t contain only two cards, instead, they contain at least three cards.
For example, suppose the dealer’s face-up card is six or lower and the hand consists of 16. Typically, the best strategy is usually to stand, assuming you follow the basic blackjack strategy chart.
Even so, sometimes, you receive a 16 when the dealer’s face-up card is a ten. Basic blackjack strategy dictates that to maximize your score, hitting 16 is recommended to get a card good enough to make your score equal or close to 21.
The traditional basic strategy, however, ignores how many cards are in the hands. Imagine you have a 10 face-up card from the dealer, and you have a 16 because you have 4/4/4/4. Are you going to hit?
Hand of the Dealer: 10♣ 5♦
No, don’t hit because you have four low denomination cards in your hand, which are no longer in the deck of cards. To make a strong hand, you need cards of a low denomination. To take an additional card is quite risky since you will probably go bust.
Rules of 45
It applies to hands with a total score of 16 and consists of a hand with a four or five. Assuming your hand consists of 4-5-7 and you’re playing a 10, It’s advisable to stand in this situation.
Make a Bet on Another Player’s Hand
At a land-based casino, you can choose to bet on another player’s hand if the opportunity arises. Take the scenario where a player next to you has blackJack, a hand that contains at least 3 cards totaling 21, and the dealer has a face-up Ace card. The player has bet a total of $50. Here, the dealer may offer a payout of $50 even money. If the player accepts, you won’t have the chance to win big. It is your chance to jump on the action by putting down more money on the table. Place $100 chips on the table and add $1.
Now in this scenario, you’re going to buy the player’s hand and offer the player a bit more than the dealer offered. It’s important, however, to explain quickly to him that you are buying him out of his hand and giving him $51 chips in return, and you’ll keep his hand. If the player accepts and you win, you will receive $125 provided the dealer doesn’t have blackjack.
Count your cards
The card counting strategy has steadily grown in popularity over the years. Players are drawn to card counting because it offers better odds of success at the table. Card counting is, in essence, a simple process. It is an advanced blackjack strategy based on evaluating which cards are left in the deck and adjusting the strategy accordingly.
The odds tend to favor the player over the house when the dealer’s deck of cards includes many 10s and aces. Meanwhile, the house has an advantage when the remainder of the deck consists mainly of small cards.
Visit the Blackjack Card Counting Guide to find out how to master this strategy, including the four methods most commonly used by counters.
Split the 10s if You Are Faced With five or six
You may have seen this before, a player splits his two 10s. There are times when the dealer shows a five or six, and splitting might be advantageous when you’re using advanced blackjack strategies. Assuming the dealer’s upcard is a five or six, in which case you stand to win with your score of 20, your chances of winning are 84% and 85%. Thus, if you make this choice, the chances of you losing are low. Therefore, if you’re new to the blackjack game, we always recommend sticking with this strategy.
However, for more experienced players, especially those skilled in card counting, Splitting 10s may not seem so bad in this scenario in which the deck is still loaded with 10s. It is suitable for card counters when this happens, as the dealer will be more likely to lose if the deck contains high card values.
If You Get a Pair of Cards and an Additional Card With the Same Value, You must Re-Split.
Even though the basic blackjack strategy focuses only on hands containing two cards facing the dealer’s face-up card, it can still be tricky when you’ve been dealt a pair of eights with Aces. After splitting, you only receive cards that have the same value again in your hand.
When faced with this situation, you may ask, ‘What do I do?’ and ‘Do I split again?”
The answer is definitely yes. It may not be an ideal situation, but that’s the reality of it, and the best way to handle it is to re-split.
Don’t Be Confused By Multi-Card Hands.
Consider the following scenario: you receive a soft hand, consisting of an Ace and a two, up against a 10 on the dealer’s card. Let’s say by choosing to hit it and catching a three. Having managed to end up with a score of 15, you hit again, resulting in another ace. It may not seem very easy in your mind.
It seems you’ve been able to get an 18 against a face-up card from the dealer, which has a value of 10. How do you proceed? Is it wise to stand? We say no. It would be best to hit again unless you wish to increase the house edge by 1/3%.
Utilize Low Card Layouts
If you receive a hand where two of your cards have a low score, and your dealer’s face-up card is too low, it is intuitively clear that the deck contains more high cards. Therefore, your chances of receiving a high card are higher than average. When playing at a brick-and-mortar casino and noticing several hands with 18, 19 and 20 points, it would be best to walk away from the table and look for a low-score blackjack table.
Progression Betting Systems: Positive and Negative
If you have been gambling for some time or are just starting, you’ve probably heard about betting systems. The most famous is the “drum roll please”, the Martingale system. Despite this being the most popular, you should be aware that there are several betting systems among advanced blackjack strategies that you can use besides the progressive negative system.
There are many negative progressive betting systems, but their exact opposites are called positive progressive betting systems. In other words, you have plenty of choices to select from. Their differences are as follows:
Negative Progressive Betting System
It directs players to do the opposite, such as increasing their bets after losing and decreasing them after winning. Examples of this type of betting system (other than Martingale) commonly used for games like blackjack are the Labouchere system, D’Alembert system, and many others.
Positive Progressive Betting System
There are betting systems that instruct players to raise their bets when they win and to lower their bets when they lose. Examples of this type of system, which are often applied to blackjack, are the Paroli system, the Reverse Labouchere system, the Reverse D’Alembert method, and many others.
Even though you will not get an edge over the odds by using one of these systems, it can help you become more structured when playing. You can select one betting system if you prefer, but for an experienced player, we would recommend using a combination of them to maximize your bankroll.
Ensure You Pick the Right Table and Have a Sufficient Bankroll
Whether you play online or at a physical casino, you must choose a table that’s suitable for you. Every blackjack table has its minimum and maximum betting limit, which means you can pick what blackjack table suits you best.
It’s essential to choose a table where your bankroll can last you for a few hours of play or for as long as you want to stay in the casino.
To determine if you have enough money to play your preferred game, consider these factors:
- Advantages of the house;
- How much you are willing to risk;
- If you’re going to use any betting systems.
You can win a significant amount of money while playing advanced blackjack strategy, regardless of whether you play in an online casino or brick-and-mortar casino. Even though they may prove challenging, we assure you that it’s worth learning.
You may be the kind of player who enjoys reading about more advanced blackjack strategies if you are more experienced than the average player. We have provided advanced strategy tips above to help you make it to an advanced level.