Out of all the card games that are considered staples in both land-based and online casinos, Blackjack is one of the most well-known among them, second possibly only to poker. Some love it because their odds of winning at it are quite good while others like how fast-paced the game can be which creates the exact kind of atmosphere they want.
Whatever the case, one of the most common mistakes that
beginners in particular make when playing Blackjack is thinking that it’s so
easy that you don’t need a plan to win at it. However, that is far from the
truth as Blackjack is no different from practically every other table game out
there. This applies regardless of whether you’re sitting at a real table with
other players in a land-based casino or at home in front of your computer with
a digital table on your screen. Simple or complicated, every game will become
easier to win if you apply at least a basic strategy to it and Blackjack is no
Here’s the breakdown of a basic strategy that is easy to
follow and should help you increase your chances of winning at Blackjack the
next time you play the game.
Set a cut-off point for yourself and stick to it
Perhaps the most common issue when it comes to playing
casino games is knowing when to step away and that unsurprisingly also applies
to Blackjack. As such, the first unofficial step of any basic Blackjack
strategy is to establish a limit on how much you’re willing to lose with the
understanding that you’ll stop if and when you reach it. Feel free to keep
going if you’re on a winning streak but if things don’t go your way, just call
Stick to relatively small bets
Just because Blackjack has one of the most favourable odds
among all casino games doesn’t mean you should go into it guns blazing and risk
running out of funds before you’ve even really started. The most basic strategy
you can apply to it is the same basic strategy you should apply to every other
casino game out there: Start with small bets and then adjust accordingly
depending on how the game as a whole is going for you.
Take note of the dealer’s hand
At the start of every new Blackjack round, your hand and the
dealer’s hand will have just two cards each. You will naturally be able to see
both the cards in your hand but only one of the cards on the dealer’s side will
be open. This is called the ‘up’ card and every basic Blackjack strategy hinges
on paying close attention to its value. Don’t let that second hidden card
distract you; the ‘up’ card should be the only thing on your mind as that
basically determines the next step of your strategy.
Know when to do what
There are only a handful of options you have to choose from
with every new round of Blackjack and how many you’re presented with depends on
what kind of hand you’re dealt. While most beginners tend to go with their gut
when deciding what to do next, this is actually the point where you exercise
any strategy you have to win the game no matter how basic or complex it might
Generally speaking, the following is what casino game expert
John Marchel recommends:
- If the dealer’s ‘up’ card is 2 to 6 and your hand’s value is 12 to 16, stand.
- If the dealer’s ‘up’ card s 7 to an Ace and your hand’s value is 12 to 16, hit.
However, different actions should be taken under special
circumstances according to him:
- If the dealer’s ‘up’ card is 2-10 and your hand’s value is 11, double your bet.
- If you have a pair of Aces or 8s, split your hand.
- If you have Aces-6s, either hit or double your bet.
Avoid the insurance option
Sometimes options are good and sometimes they’re not, and in
this case it’s the latter. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what
‘insurance’ means in the world of Blackjack, it’s an additional bet you can
make on whether the dealer has Blackjack. This option only appears if the
dealer’s ‘up’ card is an Ace but it’s considered quite literally not a bet
worth making due to the low chances of it panning out. No decent strategy would
recommend it and this basic one certainly isn’t doing that either.
Ignore all those myths and urban legends
Many say casino players are some of the most superstitious people in the world next to athletes of all sports from basketball to tennis and they wouldn’t exactly be lying. But superstitions are just that and while we’re sure some of our readers have their own good luck charms or routines, you shouldn’t let them completely dictate your gameplay or strategy. Just pick the any of the free Blackjack version from your preferred iGaming provider and follow all the basic tips we’ve already outlined above.
And there you have it! This basic Blackjack strategy should help you to bet smarter and hopefully win more the next time you load up this beloved classic. However, you should remember that decisively ‘beating’ a game where luck is still a major factor isn’t actually possible so there will still be downs with your ups. Having said that, the important thing is to have fun and don’t go overboard which is probably the most basic and successful strategy you could apply to Blackjack or any other casino game and it’s a good one too so go with it!
Learn more about the origins of Blackjack in The History of Blackjack.