Blackjack is one of those games that is fairly easy to learn, but not so easy to master. But if you do master it, if you learn the ins and the outs and know what to expect, then you can turn a big profit on a consistent basis.
One of the ways you can get ahead playing blackjack is to use a few basic moves, all of which have been taken from Basic Blackjack Strategy. These moves are varied and they cover each and every aspect of the game. To give you an idea of what to expect and how you can use them yourself, we have written about a few of them here. We’ll show you what to do when splitting, when to double down, whether you should take insurance, and more.
When to Hit or Stand
Whether you should hit or stand will depend on a number of factors and it’s difficult to list all of these here. What we can tell you, however, is that the dealer’s cards often mean more than your own cards. For instance, if the dealer lands an ace or a ten, then you should be willing to take more risks and you should avoid standing on 15s and 16s.
That’s because there is a very high chance that you will be beaten in a single turn of a card. Think about it: if the dealer has an ace and you stand on a 16, then you can be beaten by a 6, 7, 8, 9 10, jack, queen and king. That’s more than half the deck. What’s more, if they get a 2 or a 3, then there is a very high chance that the card that comes after that will give them a total greater than yours.
So, in this situation you should be taking more risks. You basically have to assume that they have you beaten if you land on 16 or 17, so you goal should be to get more. If, however, the dealer shows a 2 or a 3 to begin with, then you know that there is a high chance they will go bust. So, in this case you should be looking to get to 16 before standing. In fact, a 17 or an 18 in this case will win you the hand more often than not, whereas even a 16 will give you victory more times than it will lead to defeat.
So, focus on their cards as well as your own and remember that it’s better to go bust trying to get something good than it is to simply stand low and then pray for a miracle.
When to Split Cards
In blackjack you can spit your hand where you land a pair. This allows you to play two hands, using one pair for each. You will then get two more cards—one for each hand—and your bet is doubled. You will also get another chance to beat the dealer, because they still only have the one hand.
You should always split aces, because this way you have a great chance of success. There are four cards with a value of 10, and any of these can give you 21 and can lead to a win. You should also always split 8s, and you should also re-split both of these if you end up with an additional ace or 8.
However, contrary to what many seem to think, you should never split 10s. This might seem counterintuitive, but it’s all about improving your hand. If you have two 10s then you have a score of 20, which is very good. But if you split then you need an ace to improve on that hand, and the odds of that are pretty slim. If you end up with another 10 then you’re just back where you were.
It is generally accepted that you should always double down when you are on a hard total of 10 or 11, and that’s definitely the case. It can go wrong, but more often than not it will lead to a victory and because of the double down you should be able to win big. A double down basically doubles the bet and give you one more card before the hand is over. It is possible to end up with a 2, 3 or 4 from this final card, in which case you end up with something very small. But even then there is still a chance of success, and if you end up with a 8, 9 or 10 then there is a very good chance.
So, always double down on a 10 or 11. There are also occasions when you should double down with a 9. For instance, you should never double if the dealer has a 7 or more, or if they have a 2. But you should double down the 9 when they are showing a 5 or a 6. In such cases you stand as much chance of winning big as you so when you double-down a 10 or 11 at any other time.
Card Counting Online
You might think that it would be easier to count cards online. You have all of the time in the world, you can have a calculator on standby if you want and no one is going to kick you out for it. All of those things are true. But unfortunately you can not count cards online, simply because this method would not work.
Card counting works because traditional games of blackjack involve the use of a shoe. Used cards are added to the back of the decks and all of the cards in those decks have to be used before the used cards come back into play. This means that if you pay attention to what has been out before then you know that they will not come out again. If you base your play on that, then you have a better chance at winning.
That is, in essence, what card counting is. It doesn’t work online because all of the cards are shuffled back into the decks after they have been used. This means that those methods will not have any affect whatsoever. It makes sense when you think about it, otherwise everyone would be doing it and the casino would lose out.
On the flip side, most online games of blackjack have a very low house edge. This edge is there because the competition is so high, but it is also there because they know that no one will be counting cards and therefore further decreasing that edge.
Insurance essentially covers you incase something goes wrong. It can be taken when the dealer is dealt an ace. That’s because if the dealer was to then receive a card with a ten value, then they would have 21 and they would win. So, you take insurance to counteract that and to cover you just incase that 10 value does come.
Not all blackjack variants will let you take insurance, but that’s okay, because you shouldn’t anyway. This is one of the main rules of Basic Blackjack Strategy and it exists because most of the time insurance will cost you more than it saves you. We’re drawn to features like this naturally, because we want that cover and we want to believe that we’re still okay even if the worst does happen.
We’re also drawn to it because we know there is a good chance it will happen and because we might have experiences in the past when it happened two or three times in a row. We use this as precedence and we let ourselves believe that it’s going to happen more often than not.
However, we often forget the times when insurance didn’t pay off. We focus more on the times when we didn’t take it and the dealer hit, than we focus on the times we did take it and the dealer missed. And trust us, the latter will happen more often than the former. So, in the long-run you’ll always be worse off if you take insurance.