Blackjack Strategy – How-To Guide
Playing online blackjack with a focused strategy is important if you even want to try and bring down the house. In fact, with a solid blackjack strategy, you are better able to minimize the house edge and turn those odds in your favour.
An Overview of Blackjack
Believe it or not, blackjack is one of the easiest online casino games around. The game uses a regular deck of cards and each card has a point value equal to the card’s rank.
The dealer and players start with a two-card hand. You have the choice of taking additional cards or to stand on your current total. If your total goes over 21, you bust. If you get a total of less than or equal to 21, and you have a higher total than the dealer, you win.
Should the dealer get a higher total or you bust, you lose.
With blackjack, you play against the dealer rather than other players.
Blackjack really is that easy. If you’ve never played before, one of the best ways to get started is by playing online blackjack at one of our recommended minimum deposit casinos. Most online casinos allow you to get a feel for the game in free mode, first, with no risk to your own money. If you find you enjoy the game and you’ve honed your blackjack strategy, you can make a deposit and start playing for real money. You can even play live dealer versions against real dealers in real studios!
How to Play Blackjack Online
Blackjack is an easy enough card game, but there are a few things you need to know if you want to make each hand count.
How to Make Bets
Online blackjack starts with you deciding how much you want to bet on your hand. How much you can bet depends on the casino you’re playing at, but bets often start at as little as $/€1 or even less. Once you’ve placed your bet, hit that “Deal” button and you’ll get your cards.
How to Play Your Hand
Once your cards are dealt, you’re presented with the option to Hit, Stand or Double Down. There’s also the option to Split if you’re dealt a pair.
Choose what you want to do and the casino will then deal the cards to you and the dealer.
At the end of the hand, you’ll either have your bet taken or you’ll win, depending on the outcome. You can then pick the “Re-bet” option. This will bet the same amount on your next hand. Alternatively, manually select your wager if you want to carry on playing.
The Help Screen
Playing blackjack at an online casino is straightforward. But it’s nice to have the Help screen on hand just in case you’re unsure of anything. When you click the Help button, you’ll discover all the rules of the game. For instance, you’ll get to see just how much each card is worth, how to play your hand, how to win, and importantly, what the house rules are for the game. This is particularly important when it comes to your blackjack strategy since rules such as how much a natural blackjack pays out or whether a dealer can stand on a soft 17 can significantly impact the house edge.
Making Deposits and Withdrawals
All the online casinos that make our list of top recommended platforms accept a variety of payment methods and low minimum deposits. Before you decide to play blackjack at a particular casino, head over to the cashier section to make sure your preferred banking method is supported. Then, fund your account and start wagering real money on online blackjack.
Blackjack Strategy – The Basics
You might have already chosen a specific blackjack variant to play or you may just want to improve your chances. That’s why it’s worth learning a basic blackjack strategy. It can help you make the right decision in any situation.
One way to hone your online blackjack skills is to find a strategy card to follow. These cards present different scenarios with strategies on how to play out your hand.
For example, you may want to learn how to play against a dealer upcard according to the hand you have in front of you.
Strategy cards for each kind of blackjack variant usually consist of three parts – hard hands, soft hands, and pairs.
One of the easiest ways to find a blackjack strategy card for your preferred game is to make use of a basic blackjack strategy calculator. This will help you generate a strategy for the game, and they’re extremely easy to use and understand.
Blackjack Strategy for Side Bets
Strategy cards are certainly useful for most blackjack games, especially if you’re new to online blackjack.
But they don’t usually cover side bets. A blackjack strategy, however, should take into account every aspect of the game, and that includes whether or not you should place bonus bets and if you should, how much you should bet.
The thing is, online blackjack is a came with a low house edge. What’s more, skilled players can reduce the advantage even more by using various strategies. This is exactly why online casinos started adding extra decks to different blackjack games in the hopes of increased the house edge and, of course, their revenue.
Hence, we get different side bets. Side bets add an element of variety and fun to any game, but they can work against you.
This being said, the best blackjack strategy for side bets is to not place any. Rather stick to your strategy cards until you get the hang of the game and are ready to move on to more advanced variants.
The Best Blackjack Betting System
As we’ve established, making use of a blackjack strategy card can help you make a sound decision. But it doesn’t help you with how much to bet. There are plenty of different betting systems out there. A lot of them claim to beat any online blackjack game. A big part of those systems is progressive betting, based on the idea that if you lost several times, you’ll probably win at some point. This isn’t true. In fact, we’d go so far as to call it a fallacy!
The truth is, no betting system can help you beat the house on its own. However, there are those that can help you improve your odds when you combine them with other online blackjack strategies.
For instance, when you use a basic strategy along with card counting, you can increase your bet amount when the count is high. This typically works best when you play live dealer games. However, if you’re playing Random Number Generator games, the best strategy is to bet the same amount for each and every hand.
What Do You Mean By Card Counting?
When new players hear the term “blackjack strategy,” they think of card counting. It’s a strategy you may still be able to pull off in a land-based casino, but it’s pretty impossible when you play online blackjack. The exception, however, is live dealer blackjack.
Card counting is a blackjack technique the helps you follow the high and low cards giving you a little insight into which card might come next. Hi-Lo is the easiest blackjack card counting system. For each low card (i.e. 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6), you add a point. For each high card (i.e. 10, J, Q, K, Ace) you deduct a point. The higher the count, the greater your chances of getting 10-valued cards, which are usually good for you and not so good for the dealer.
A Basic Strategy for Players
Unlike other casino games, like betting on black and red in roulette, online blackjack doesn’t have a fixed house edge. That’s because there are so many strategy decisions for you to consider. Even an experienced player can only get the edge down to about half a percent less. Beginners, though, who don’t at least learn a basic blackjack strategy give the house a much larger edge.
The best beginner tips we can give you is to play within your bankroll. Also, pick your games carefully and set out to learn everything you possibly can about the game.
To succeed at blackjack, there are two things to understand:
- There are gameplay tips worth learning, like how to play certain hands
- There are bigger-picture decisions like what stakes to play and which casino to play at, as well as how to manage your bankroll.
Pick Player-Friendly Variants
Whether you want to play RNG games or live dealer blackjack, look for those where the dealer must hit a soft 17 and ones where they use the lowest number decks. Also, keep an eye out for games that let you hit and re-split the Aces. When it comes to splitting Aces, some casinos give each Ace one more card, which means you don’t get to re-split or double-down.
Always Split Eights and Aces
If you’re dealt a pair of eights or aces, split them. Always. Two eights equal 16, which is the very worst blackjack hand to have. Splitting your aces gives you a chance to hit two naturals or even draw to a better hand.
On the flip side, don’t split 10s, since they’re not likely to do any better than 20.
Know When to Double Down
Doubling down is a good way to get more money on the table when the odds look in your favour. Double down when you have a total of 10, but never if the dealer also has a 10-point card or ace showing. Also, double down when you have an 11 and your dealer shows anything other than an ace.
Always Practice First
Now that you have an understanding of blackjack strategy, it’s time to start testing your skills. Before you start wagering real money, though, we highly recommend testing your skills in free or demo mode at any of the minimum deposit casinos on our recommended list.
All that’s left to do is have some fun and hone your blackjack skills!