Blackjack is a game of chance, but also one that requires some strategy. There are things about this game you cannot control. The cards you are dealt with is one of the things you have no control over; so is the number of players and decks in the game.
However, with the right strategy, you can increase your likelihood of winning while decreasing the house edge at the same time. This game takes a mix of chance and strategy, and here are some odd strategies that will increase your winning occasions.
Basic Blackjack Strategy
This is the easiest strategy you can use for any game. Most experts say it is the only one that can guarantee your win, if well executed. The basic strategy involves memorizing numbers based on what is shown on the dealer’s up-card.
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This strategy is in line with four game rules. It is important to note that these rules will not apply to all variants of the game.
- The game has 4-8 decks
- The dealer stands on a soft 17
- Doubles are permitted after splits
- When a dealer gets a blackjack, you only lose your original bet.
So, how does the basic strategy apply to games which do not follow these four rules? When there are fewer than four decks or a dealer is allowed to hit on a soft 17, you should:
- Double on eleven versus the dealer’s Ace
- Surrender fifteen or seventeen versus the dealer’s Ace
- Double on a seven and an Ace versus the dealer’s two
- Double on an eight and Ace versus the dealer’s six
- Surrender or hit on eight and eight versus the dealer’s Ace
How to Deal with Insurance Bets
Regardless of the variant you are playing, you should always turn down insurance bet offers. They often increase the house edge. At the same time, they have no benefit to individual players.
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Most casinos will not tell you this, but insurance bets do not actually protect the players’ hands. Instead, they shell out more profit for the business. However, advanced blackjack strategies might necessitate insurance, and this will be discussed later in the article.
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When to Split
Knowing the right times to make a blackjack split might increase your chances of winning using this strategy. Split when:
- You are dealt two eights or Aces – a sixteen is impossible to work with so you better split it and play two hands
- The dealer has a six or below, and you have sixes and sevens – you will have the upper hand
- The dealer has four to seven as the upcard, and you have twos and threes – however, do not split if the dealer has any card higher than seven.
When to Double
Knowing this strategy enhances the possibilities of your final triumph exponentially. You should double when:
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- When you have a total of ten, and the dealer does not show a ten or Ace
- When you have an eleven, and the dealer does not show an Ace
- When you have a nine, and the dealer shows three to six.
When to Surrender
Choosing when to surrender depends on which game you are playing. Some blackjack variants allow late surrender, that is, surrendering after the dealer has checked the cards for a blackjack.
However, these tips are for games that give the early surrender option. Surrender when:
- You have a hard five to seven, and the dealer has an Ace
- You have a hard twelve to seventeen, and the dealer has an Ace
- You have two threes, sixes, sevens or eights, and the dealer has an Ace
- You have a hard fourteen to sixteen, and the dealer has a ten
- You have a pair of sevens or eights, and the dealer has a ten.
How to Increase Your Odds
The basic strategy and blackjack etiquette will help you to reduce the house edge. The following advantages will assist you in increasing your odds:
- Double down your hands if you have a favorable one
- Split your pairs
- Choose whether to hit or stand on sixteens
- Win three to two while the dealer receives one to one.
Advanced Blackjack Strategy
This is a more refined version of the basic strategy. It uses the same principle of making moves based on the card the dealer holds. You will also have to count cards.
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With the advanced strategy, you have to see the cards held by the other players. Then, you will estimate how many tens are left over in the shoe. The advanced strategy is different from the basic one in the following ways:
- You can take insurance – only if you have four or higher, the dealer holds an Ace and you can tell there are many tens left in the shoe
- Stand on a sixteen when the dealer holds a ten up-card – this is different from the basic strategy where you have to hit when you have a sixteen
- Stand on a fifteen when the dealer holds a ten up-card
- Split tens when the dealer has a six up-card – this gives you a better chance of hitting high numbers
- Split 10s when the dealer has a five up-card – if you can predict a high number of tens in the shoes, this move will lead to your big wins
In blackjack, there are many bad strategies. Those that have not been tried and proven, or have no mathematical basis are sure to cause you huge loses and finish your bankroll.
The basic strategy is easy to master and requires you to consider the dealer’s up card at all times. You should be wary of insurance and always aim at lowering the house edge. You can learn it quite quickly.
Although the basic strategy can lower the house edge, you need to have added advantages in order to guarantee a win. This is where the advanced strategy comes in.
The advanced strategy goes a notch higher, necessitating card counting. Card counting is not cheating, however, it is quite hard to execute, and you can easily make a mistake.
Regardless of which strategy you choose, always remember that blackjack requires a mix of skill and chance. All you can do is make your move and hope the odds turn in your favor.