Blackjack remains a strong favourite for casino players. Blackjack strategies both in basic and advanced stages prove how Blackjack is a flexible game where you can build your advantage as the play continues. There are a lot of different factors and strategies one can use to have the odds of blackjack strategies in one’s favour. The very core would be to master how to interplay of different cards is revealed as the blackjack game progresses. Even considering how one hits or stands on blackjack can mark one as a blackjack basic or blackjack advanced player.
As with any great skill, Blackjack strategies take some time and some practice to get your instincts sharp and your gameplay even more nimble. We have gathered the most useful details for you here to learn blackjack strategies at your own pace. You will also have a backgrounder on scenarios that can be carried on as useful blackjack strategies. Read on to find out how to get the edge on the game of Blackjack.
Basic Blackjack Strategy
The main objective of blackjack is to beat the dealer by getting as close to 21 as possible. Once your hand is over the total value of 21, you automatically lose the game as well as your bet.
Here’s the basic game flow of blackjack:
- Players will get two cards at the start of the game. Everyone will see only one of the dealer’s cards BUT players’ cards are both face-up.
- There are different variants of the game and, ergo, different rules that can affect when a player is allowed to surrender or when the dealer must hit or stand. Check these details out first, too.
- When you get a score of 21, you’ll most likely get 1.5 times your total bet. But, this really depends on the rules of the casino you’ve chosen.
- Know when to Hit (take another card) or Stand (pass and move on to the next player). Make sure that you’re also aware of the other player’s cards as well as the dealer’s. You’d need to balance things out to choose.
- After all players have completed their decisions, the dealer now reveals their card.
- Everyone compares who’s nearest to the dealer’s hand and the payout will depend on the type of bet you made.
Advanced Blackjack Strategy
For the advanced blackjack strategy, card counting can be a definite advantage. This is where you are able to keep track of the remaining cards in the deck (or decks). However, this is only applicable to brick-and-mortar blackjack casinos. Online casinos use a numbers generator to randomly deal the cards and there would be no solid basis on what the remaining cards are.
Card Values Explained
Blackjack has the Ace as a flexible card. This can have a value of 1 or 11. The Face Cards have a total of 10. The other cards reflect the same value as their card, for example, 4 of spades is a total of 4 in value, etc. It’s important to instantly be aware of how the values of the different hands are — especially when you’re at a table with several other players.
Understanding Card Counting
Practicing card counting comes into play when you’d like to have some predictability on what the result of the game will be. It is a skill and may sound simple. Be cautious though for if you’re too obvious, casinos can consider this as cheating. Just tag small cards as a plus 1 (2 to 6), tag cards 7,8 and 9 as zero, and minus 1 for Face cards, the 10 and the Ace. As the card count goes higher, your advantage goes higher. As the card goes lower, the house has a greater advantage.
Card Counting in Multiple Deck Game
Is it possible to do card counting if there are multiple decks used? Yes. You just need to do the usual card counting but know the total number of decks used in the shoe. Divide the running count by the total number of unplayed decks of cards.
Blackjack Betting Systems
The flexibility of blackjack is not only seen in its game strategies but also in how you’re going to choose the betting system. There are different repetitive or sequential betting systems in blackjack.
Here are the most common ones:
This is the riskiest of the lot. Players double their bets when losing and recover with one sweeping bet when the odds are swaying in their favour.
This is considered one of the safer betting systems where players raise their bets by one unit every time they lose. Once they win, they lower their bets by one unit.
This is named after a renowned mathematical sequence where the number is the sum of the two previous numbers. For example, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 8. The player’s bets follow this sequence each time they lose. When they win, they stick with the number they were on when they won.
Unit bets only go up when the player wins. So, if the player loses, they remain on 1 unit until they win again — following the pattern of 1, 3, 2 and 6 consecutively.
In Parlay, the main objective is to create a pyramid of winnings. This is also known as a positive progression betting system. If the player wins, they will bet the winnings and the original bet. If they lose, they will bet their original amount.
The bets increase by one unit when the player wins and every time there is a win, the bet is doubled again. This was designed for the game of craps but works equally well with blackjack.
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Blackjack Terms of Definitions
Here is a gathering of the most commonly used terms in playing blackjack. Just get used to these as you practice blackjack strategies on free online casino games.
- Bankroll: The total amount of money you are prepared to play in your game. This also means that you are prepared to lose the sum. Start here to have control over your risks.
- Burn Card: The first card drawn from the top of the deck. Aptly called “burned” for it is removed from the deck to disrupt the order of the card and prevent attempts at cheating.
- Bust: A hand that exceeds 21. A bust is always avoidable since the odds of starting with two cards rarely hit more than 21. A bust can happen usually after “hitting”.
- Card Counting: Tracking the remaining cards discreetly and effectively can hold sway to the dealer “busting”. This is not effective in online gaming as random number generators are used.
- Deck Penetration: Important information for card counters. This is the percentage of cards that have been in play since the last shuffle.
- Double Down: If one has a strong hand, you have the choice to double your bet but would need to accept exactly one more card. Not applicable to a hand with more than two cards.
- Face Cards: These are the Jacks, Queens and Kings in a deck.
- Flat Betting: If you’re not counting cards, you can bet the same for each hand. No change in bet size — which is considered a bad strategy if you’re a skilled card counter.
- Griffin Book: This is a listing of known blackjack players who are card counters. Casino security refers to this as the black book. This is named after Griffin Investigations who publish and circulate this document among brick-and-mortar casinos.
- Hard Hand: In this hand, it can either be high enough in value that any ace can only be worth 1 or without aces.
- Heads Up: Only one player is at the blackjack tables. Usually, online games are played in Heads Up.
- Hit: Gets another card from the dealer to improve one’s blackjack hand.
- House Edge: This is the casino’s long-term advantage — expressed as a percentage of the player’s initial bet. This also indicates the difference between the payout percentage offered by the casino when you win that bet vis-a-vis the real probability of that event occurring.
- Natural: This has only two cards and already is worth 21. This hand cannot lose.
- Paint: Another name for face cards
- Push: You have a non-busted hand that ties you with the dealer — this is neither a win nor a loss.
- Soft Hand: This is a flexible hand where the ace — one or more — can be worth either a 1 or 11. Protects you from busting after a hit.
- Surrender: Half of your wager is returned if you decide to forfeit a hand — this can be done before any action was made. This is done if one receives an unfortunate hand at the start.
- Up Card: These are the dealer’s card that faces up. It’s a good reference point for players attempting a basic blackjack strategy or advanced blackjack counting cards. The house’s slip is showing so to speak.
Can I play blackjack online using mobile phones?
Yes, there are online casinos for blackjack games that are both free — where you can practice blackjack strategies and also play for real money.
How can I bet on blackjack online?
You just need to choose a reputable online casino and make a deposit for your initial play. This can be either real money or just bet money for free games. Better get some good practice though before going to real money. Most online casinos also have welcome offers for new players. GCash is also one of the payment methods you can rely on when playing online.
When should I hit or stand on blackjack?
This wholly depends on the hand that you have and at what point the game already is. It takes practice to know when to hit or when to stand. You’d need to balance the odds especially if you’re in the grey area of having a total value of 16 or you’re keeping tabs on card counting.
TIP: Though it seems there are too many details, the blackjack game is simple to play. You just need to practice to get the hang of how you’ll have a game flow that would not only improve the odds of winning but also add more to the fun when playing the game. Always choose the casino which offers the lowest house advantage. This will still spell a difference in the winnings you’ll have, too.