A far as casino table games go, blackjack remains the most popular on the planet. It’s enjoyable, accessible and pretty easy for beginners to pick up within minutes. However, the main problem with blackjack is that many players don’t know enough about the best strategies to apply when sitting down for a few hands. Or for that matter, what kinds of strategies exist in the first place.
Whether you’re a complete blackjack beginner or a seasoned player looking to take your strategy to the next level, you might find the following food for thought before your next attempt at beating the dealer. That said, it’s best if you accept from the get-go that there’s no 100% guaranteed way of wining at blackjack.
Even if you make all the right moves, you still need Lady Luck on your side – something not to be taken for granted!
Combating the Casino’s Edge
Even if you’re a complete amateur when it comes to gambling, you won’t be surprised to hear that casinos have a built-in advantage known as an ‘edge’. They know that for every single bet, they will keep a certain percentage of profit over the long term. With roulette, the house edge can be as high as 5%. So for every £100 wagered on average, £5 goes into their pockets. But with blackjack, it’s only 0.5%. This might seem like a low figure, but the fact remains: over the long term, they have an edge over you. Or to put it another way, the house always wins…technically…and eventually.
So how can you combat this? Or should that be, can you combat this?
Well, what makes this game unique is that blackjack players have a number of advantages over the dealer, when it comes to decision-making at the tables. Players can earn a 3 to 2 bonus payoff, compared with a 1 to 1 blackjack bonus payoff for the dealer. You can also double down on a hand when you’re in good shape to beat the dealer after the initial cards are dealt, as the blackjack strategy guide on Betsson explains. Dealers also cannot split their pairs, restricting them hugely as to how they can maximise their favourable positions.
As far as all this goes, there’s really no big secret involved in how to make it work for you. Instead, all you need to do is carry out the necessary homework to gain a deeper knowledge of the various bets, odds and options available to you. Otherwise, you’re essentially playing blindly and could be selling yourself short.
How to Minimise Damage to Your Chip Stack
One of the keys to success at the blackjack tables is always making sure that when you’re dealt a bad hand, you minimise your losses. The surrender strategy is the most popular tactic in these situations. It’s pretty self-explanatory; if you’re dealt a two-card hand that doesn’t match up favourably with the dealer’s upcard, it is within your rights to surrender this hand, forfeiting half of your wager. To confirm your wish to surrender, you must verbally announce this to the dealer, while some casinos will let you surrender using a hand signal, drawing an imaginary line from left to right using your index finger.
If you know that the chances are you’re far more likely to lose, surrendering is a great way to halve potential losses and live to fight another day. Across every casino game without exception, knowing how to quit while behind is one of the most important skills any gambler can ever pick up. They say every penny saved is a penny earned – save more pennies by walking away at the right time and you’ll be in a far better position long-term.
How to Maximise Profitable Positions
It’s often said that the most effective strategy to give yourself the best chance of winning long-term at blackjack is to follow the basic rules. You might be surprised that it’s nothing complicated, but remains without doubt the optimal way to play at the tables, or even online.
This basic strategy has been devised using statistical probabilities, giving you the opportunity to make the best possible move in terms of your hand and the dealer’s upcard. The ultimate goal of the basic blackjack strategy is to win as much as possible, maximising winning opportunities by doubling down, reducing the chances of busting and surrendering to halve expected losses.
It’s basically cold hard maths at the service of your bankroll.
But the best news is that you don’t have to be a maths genius to make it work. Instead, it’s simply a case of memorising the rules, recommendations and the right moves you should be making if and when. The basic strategy of blackjack can be adhered to by sticking to one of the many rulesheets available online. These simple tools recommend the best action to take at any stage a hand is dealt, depending on your cards and dealer’s upcard.
Now, for obvious reasons you can’t exactly take printed copies of these sheets into real-life casinos and use them to help you out. Even if you don’t get thrown out, you’ll still feel way too ridiculous to take your gaming seriously – as will those around you. But when paying blackjack online, it’s a totally different story. Keep one of these babies close to hand and you’ll always know what the best move is – in a statistical sense, anyway.
If this basic strategy is followed, the theoretical return to player (RTP) under standard rules is 99.63% – a better RTP than virtually any other casino table game! Which means that regardless of the homework you might need to do, it’s a small price to pay to tip the odds in your favour.
Still, and as mentioned earlier, it’s important to acknowledge the fact that the odds always have and always will favour the house. So unless you plan to master the art of card-counting – not to mention get away with it – don’t count on blackjack to pay your bills.
Just have fun – it’s what casino gaming is all about!
You might also find the following articles interesting:
- A Beginner’s Guide to Roulette – Getting Started
- Are Slots Really Better Than Blackjack?
- Body Language and Bluffs – Making Sense of Poker Tells