If you’re new to Blackjack, you’re in luck. You may not beat the pros out of the gate, but you can increase your odds of taking some money away from the house with a few simple strategies. As far as online gaming is concerned, Blackjack is one of the few games out there where the deck isn’t stacked against you. The odds are decent, and you have a lot of choices as a player. Here’s how to turn those choices into money.
The Basics Of Gameplay
The game is played either in a casino or on an online gambling website. The main concept is to beat the dealer. In this sense, it’s a fun game because you’re not competing against other players or trying to take their money. In fact, other players might be your friends and might encourage you during a hand.
The object of the game is to get as close to a score of “21” as possible, without exceeding that number. Every card in your hand has a value. Face cards are assigned their face value – 10s are worth 10 points, 9s are worth 9 points, and so on. Face cards, like Kings and Jacks, are worth 10 points. The Ace is worth either 1 or 11, your choice given the hand you have and whether it will cause you to win.
When the dealer first deals, you’re given two cards. If those cards total 21, it’s called “blackjack” and you win – payout is 2:1. Otherwise, rounds are played until players either surrender their hands or they go bust or someone wins – even if it’s the dealer.
Some gaming tables, even online tables, have “house rules,” where the house pays after a set number of rounds, regardless of whether anyone actually achieves a blackjack. This is typically done to keep players happy, interested, and to keep the game from getting “stale.”
Each round, you are allowed to “stand,” “surrender,” tell the dealer to “hit,” “split,” “double down,” or go for “insurance.”
The hit option means the dealer “hits” you with another card from the deck. This increases the value of your hand, but watch out. If you go over “21,” you lose. The stand option lets you stick with your current hand and reject the dealer’s offer of another card. Choose this option if you think you can win with your hand.
The split lets you receive a hand of two similar cards, like 4s or 8s, for example. The double down option lets you call a card from the deck, double your bet, and then automatically stand. The insurance option lets you take insurance if you think the dealer might have the winning hand. Finally, surrendering is done when you think you’ll lose – you surrender your hand, and lose half of your bet (instead of all of it).
Strategy For A Hard Hand
Let’s say your hand totals 12 on the first deal. You hit against the dealer’s 2 and 3. You finally get to 17. What should you do? You should stand against a dealer’s 4, 5, or 6, since it’s really hard to beat you when you’re so close to 21 and he’s so far behind you.
If your hand totals 13 to 16, hit against a dealer’s 7, 8, 9, or 10. Why? Because he can easily beat you on the draw. But, if you’re at 15, you might want to consider surrendering the hand. It’s a risky call to hit at this level. Now, if your hand totals 10, it’s time to double down. Why? Because 10 is strong, and you can hit all the way up to 17 and then stand.
The dealer may still beat you, but it’s more difficult. When your hand is 11, double down and hit until you get to 17.
Strategy For A Soft Hand
If you have a soft hand, know that this is only a temporary situation. When you hit your soft hand, it will often become a hard hand. For a soft 13 or 14, double down against the dealer’s 5 or 6. For a soft 17, double down against the dealer’s 3, 4, 5, or 6. Hit everything else on the table.
If you’ve got an 18, double down up to the dealer’s 6, and then stand at the dealer’s 2, 7, 8, and ace. Hit against 9 and 10.
These basic strategies should be enough to win you a few hands, get small bankroll built up, and give you some decent practice.
Bradley Heath is a self-confessed gaming fanatic of many years. When he’s not playing, he’s writing about his latest and greatest discovery. Look for his entertaining articles on a variety of gaming sites and blogs.