Blackjack is one of the few casino card games where players can actually reduce the house edge by improving their basic game play. Unlike slots and other casino games, blackjack requires skill, patience and strategy in order to beat the dealer and come out ahead.
If you are a keen online casino enthusiast, you might have heard of the basic blackjack strategy. This is a simple set of rules that should be followed when faced with certain hands. Players who follow the strategy have a much greater chance of winning over a long term period. In the notes below we are going to look at simple blackjack strategies that can improve your game.
Knowing the Game
For those who are new to the game, the aim of blackjack is to beat the dealer by creating a higher scoring hand of up to 21 points, without going over 21, or bust. At the start of the game, both you and the dealer are dealt two cards. In most blackjack games, the dealer will have one card facing down and one facing up. Each card is worth a point number, cards 2 to 10 are worth their face value. The Jack, Queen and King are worth 10 points while the Ace is worth 1 point or 11 points; depending on what you need at the time.
Playing for free at first is a good way to learn and refine your skills and strategy. When you switch to real money play, look out for blackjack bonus offers that will give your bankroll a boost and allow you to bet bigger, or play for longer.
Understanding the Hands
The strategy you use will be based on the type of hand you are dealt. There are three main types of hands in blackjack. These include soft hands, hard hands and pairs. A soft hand is any blackjack hand that contains an Ace along with any other card from 2-9. A hard hand is any hand that does not contain an Ace. A pair is a hand containing two cards of the same value.
If you are dealt a soft hand, the basic strategy is as follows:
- If you are dealt a hand of 19, stick.
- If you are dealt a 17 or lower, it is best to hit
- Any soft hand between 13 and 18 can be doubled if the dealer’s card shows a 5 or 6.
- If you are dealt a hand of 18, you can hit when the dealer’s card is 6 of less
- If you are dealt a hand of 18, you can hit when the dealer’s card is 7 or more
If you are dealt a hard hand, the basic strategy is as follows:
- If you are dealt a 9 or less, take another card
- If you are dealt a 10 or 11 it’s best to hit
- You can double down on 10 or 11 if your total is more than the dealer’s up card.
- If you are dealt a hand of 12 through to 17 it’s best to stand unless the dealer’s up-facing card is a 7 or higher.
- If you are dealt a hard hand of 17 or higher it is best to stand.
If you are dealt a pair, the basic strategy is as follows:
- Never split a pair of 4’s, 5’s or 10’s
- The first choice is to split a pair of 8’s and Aces
- You can choose to split any other pair is the dealer’s card is 6 or less
Using this basic strategy you should see your blackjack success skyrocket, and you could well be on your way to winning big.