If you’re planning to visit an online casino this weekend, place the blackjack table on your priority list. This game may not have the gloss and excitement that comes with online slots, or the ‘exclusivity’ offered by baccarat. But it’s one table game that can work wonders for you.
Of the classic table games to play, blackjack offers the best odds of winning. In many online casinos, the house edge is just pegged at just 1 percent. More than the manageable house edge, online blackjack is highly recommended because it’s easy to play. As a player, you just need to look for that ‘magic number’ that can beat the dealer’s hand without exceeding ‘21’. Also, you’re not playing with hooded tournament poker champs; there’s a big chance that you’re playing with beginners too.
But this doesn’t mean that you play the game unprepared. There’s still a house edge, and you boost your chances of winning or at least minimize the loss.
How to play Blackjack
Before you play, check out the basic rules of blackjack. In online blackjack, the challenge is to beat the dealer by collecting a hand with a value close to 21 without exceeding it. The game is based on the values assigned to individual cards. The face cards, from Jacks to Queens, get 10. Your Ace is 1 or 11, and all other cards assume their face values.
Before the deal, each player submits a bet to the table. After all, bets are collected, the casino dealer awards one card face-up to each player and one card to himself. Another round of cards is distributed face-up, but the card for the dealer is displayed face-down. After this step, all players get two cards face-up, with the casino dealer holding two cards, with the other card face-down.
The player to the left of the dealer is the one to act first. If you’re the player, you decide to ‘stand’ (if you’re satisfied with the hand) or ‘hit’ (if you need another card). You can hit for another card until you decide to stand or you go bust (exceeds 21). If it happens, you lose and the dealer gets the bet.
You need to set the wager first before the start of the play. There are two general decisions that you can make on the table: you can ‘hit’ or ‘stand’. aside from these decisions, you can also ‘split’. This can happen if you are handed two cards of the same denomination, like 7-7 or 8-8. If this is the case, you have the option to split and play with two hands. Also, there’s an option to ‘double down’, which means to double the bet when the first two cards’ value total to 9, 10, or 11.
If you’re serious about winning, then you need to incorporate a few strategies in your gameplay. Here are a few strategies to keep in mind:
1. Follow the basic strategies on doubling down and splitting. For example, double down on hard 11. If you have identical cards, you can split a pair of Aces and 8s, and don’t split 10s or 5s.
2. Be conservative if you’re a beginner. Don’t risk your bankroll by betting a large amount at a time. Take it one step at a time, increasing your bet for every win.
3. Be aggressive if you have the experience (and bankroll). The primary betting strategy to use here is the Martingale strategy where you double your bet for every loss.
Types of Blackjack
Blackjack is one of those games that are available in different variants. Some of the most popular blackjack variants you can play are the American Blackjack, European Blackjack, Blackjack Switch, and the Blackjack Perfect Pairs. Although these are all blackjack games, they still vary in terms of the specific betting rules followed. For example, in American Blackjack, the dealer collects the hole card before the players decide on their hands. The European variant, on the other hand, allows the dealer to collect the hole card after players have made the decision.
You’ll also find live dealer versions of blackjack. In live blackjack, you have the chance to play against the casino dealer in real-time, even if you’re located hundreds of miles away. In short, live blackjack allows you to play an authentic table game experience from the comfort of your home or office!
Tips & tricks on how to win at Blackjack
If you’re a beginner, we recommend that you follow the tips listed below:
1. Start by playing the demo version of the game.
2. Use a blackjack cheat sheet or chart. This is a free downloadable sheet online that suggests whether you’ll need to stand, hit, or double down based on your and the dealer’s cards.
3. Skip the insurance.
4. Remember that there’s a house edge. You can’t win every time. If you have won enough, consider walking away from the blackjack table.
5. Check the specific rules of the game before you play.
6. Choose a table that offers a 3:2 payout instead of 6:5.
Aside from these tips, other game experts also recommend other tested and personal playing strategies. However, there’s one important tip that you should not forget: to play in moderation.
Remember, no amount of complex strategies can help you if you waste your money playing the game all day.
Common Terms You'll Encounter When You Play Blackjack
To improve your gaming experience, make sure to learn the different terms used in the game.
- Bust. If your hand count exceeds 21.
- Bust card. The card that brings the hand to exceed ‘21’.
- Double down. To double the bet and to get one more card from the dealer.
- Hit. To request another card.
- Hole card. The card that’s dealt face-down.
- Insurance. This is offered if the dealer shows an Ace. You have the option to place a side bet up to half the total value of the original wager.
- Shoe. The box that holds the cards.
- Split. To split two cards of the same value, like 5-5.
- Stand. The player is satisfied with the hand and no longer asks for a card.
- Surrender. To abandon the cards.
1. Why do dealers burn the first card?
In casino card games, to burn means to discard the card and remove it from play. This is a traditional practice in gambling, and for many operators, it’s also one way of leveling the playing field and to avoid cheating.
2. What is card counting?
Card counting is a strategy in blackjack where you track the card values on the table and adjusts the bets if the count is in your favor.
3. How much of an edge can you get when counting?
Card counting can help you keep track of the card values on the table, but it doesn’t significantly alter the standard house edge. Many good card counters in the business will get an average or 0.5% gain, but that’s enough to boost one’s odds.
4. Is a single deck better than a multiple-deck blackjack?
Making all rules equal, the single-deck blackjack game offers a much lower house edge compared to the multiple-deck game.
5. Is online blackjack similar to live blackjack?
The basic betting rules and gameplay remain the same in online blackjack and its live dealer version. The only difference is that a live blackjack arrangement allows you to play against a professional dealer in real-time.