Tips and Tricks for Winning at Blackjack
Blackjack has been played for well over a hundred years and has more literature on it than perhaps any other casino game. And unlike slots or roulette, skill definitely comes in handy when playing the game. In other words, it is a game that someone can consistently win, much like poker, but this takes an awful lot of practice, dedication, and some key tips and tricks to keep the game simple and in front of you. So, before you sit down to stake big money, let's go over some blackjack tips that might transform you into a winning player.
Useful Blackjack Tips to Employ
The first tip we want to discuss is playing a solo game. This means a game that consists of you and the dealer. There's nothing wrong per se with playing at a table with other people, but it does drain the cards more quickly. Now, you cannot count a deck at an online casino; the algorithm is simply impossible to keep up with, plus it shuffles after every hand. But while you're in a hand, you can better keep track of the 10-value cards in play when it's just you and the dealer. Having other players in the hand simply takes away from your odds. Plus it breaks you out of rhythm. If you like a fast game, other players may slow it down, or vice versa – they might speed it up too much if you need time. Most online casinos have plenty of live dealer blackjack tables open to you; pick a solo table and play one-on-one for the best odds of winning.
Differentiate Between "Soft" and "Hard" Counts
The next tip is to understand exactly what it means to have a hard hand and a soft hand. For instance, let's look at two scenarios that may seem the same on their face but are actually very different. In scenario A, let's say you're dealt a 10 and a 7. In scenario B, let's say you get an Ace and a 6. Both hands give you 17, but they're not even close to being the same. The "soft" 17, the one with the Ace, gives you far more options. It's always best to hit on a soft hand such as this. When it's said and done, you're really looking at a numeric value of 7, so getting another Ace gives you 18, getting another 10 gives you 17, or you can get a 6 or 7 (13 and 14 respectively) and be in good shape for a hit that puts you close to 21. Whereas having a hard 17 means you need a 4 for 21, and anything over is a bust. Understand that soft hands are good for hits, while hard hands should be an automatic stay.
Know What to Split and What to Play
No two like cards should be instantly split. On our rules page, we used 10s as a split example solely to illustrate how tough the decision should be for you. However, statistically speaking, you should never split your 10s – unless you want to do it in play-money to get a feel for the game. You should also never splits 5s. Why? Well, having a numeric value of 10 puts you in a spectacular position to hit against anything the dealer has (barring blackjack). Odds are good that you'll get another 10, giving you 20, and having two 10s to start with gives you 20 off the bat, so only a 21 from the dealer can beat you, which is statistically unlikely. Split hands like 4s, 7,s and 8s. Leave the 5s and 10s alone.
Don't Buy Into Momentum
Momentum is a myth! It simply does not exist. Let's say that you're at a blackjack table and have won five hands in a row. This is a big feat. So, you're feeling lucky, and you bet huge on hand number six. What are the odds that you're winning? The same as any other hand you've ever played; and as it relates to any percentage you have gained because of winning the previous hand, the needle moves exactly 0%. This isn't just us dispelling the idea of momentum on a whim, like we simply disagree. This is math. In an online casino, the algorithm shuffles and resets after every hand, and the dealer is every bit as likely to get closer to 21 as you are for any given hand. If you have won five in a row, maybe pay attention to the way you've been playing and keep up that strategy. Don't chalk it up to luck and "hot cards." This is a mathematically impossible myth that will leave you busted in the long run.
Stick with Five Decks or Fewer
With most legal online casinos, you can actually look at their terms and game information to see how many decks they use in a shoe for their algorithm. Some casinos use around 5, while others use 8. You want to avoid blackjack games with 8-deck shoes. It just becomes a mess. While you're waiting for that explosion of 10s to happen, you end up getting hits with 2s and 3s and 4s like all the high cards are hiding. Adding in another 156 cards to your game can seriously throw your game off. If you can find games played with 5 decks or fewer, this is what you should stick with.
Be Well Practiced and Prepared
There is no tip in the world that can substitute for practice. There's that old adage out there about needing 10,000 hours to truly master something. And whether that's necessarily true or not, what's undeniable is that the person who plays 10 hours of blackjack knows more about the game than the person who plays 1 hour. Practice may not necessarily make perfect, but it does put you in the position of being familiar with a wide assortment of hands and scenarios. And when playing for real money at a casino, this experience will come in handy. Knowing how to navigate every scenario is an invaluable tool.
Never Chase a Value
For the final tip here, never chase down a value. For instance, let's say you've been playing a few hands and have yet to see a five. So, for this hand, you've been dealt a 10 and a 6. You see the dealer is showing a 3. So, you decide to chase that 5, in hopes of hitting 21. At best, the dealer has 14 and will need to hit. But what you're overlooking is that the dealer's hand makes your hand practically golden! You see, the dealer has no choice but to take a hit and chase your 16. If you stay, it is likely the dealer busts out. Whereas if you chase, it is likely that you'll bust out. Don't buy into the myth about cards that are "due" to come up. They're not due at all. Play hands individually and gauge your hand by judging what the dealer shows. Do not chase a predefined value; it's a losing strategy.
These tips for blackjack are designed to help you increase your odds of winning, but there are no guarantees. Remember to approach blackjack cautiously and to always practice before you play. Also make sure you are playing with a reputable and legal online blackjack site to avoid potential problems with getting paid.