So you want to play real, live casino games from anywhere? Your best bet is to play online blackjack. Part of the game’s timeless appeal is just how easy the rules are to pick up, letting you get to those virtual tables in no time at all. But while the basics of blackjack are easy to learn, there are many endless tips and tricks to learn to help you come away with that big score.
In this article, we’re going to cover several of these pro tips to help you take your game from 0 to… well… 21! Let’s call it Blackjack 102. If Blackjack 101 is teaching you the basic rules of the game, Blackjack 102 consists of One. Single. Rule. And that rule is this…
Assume the next card in the deck is worth 10.
As you’ll see in the strategies below, they mostly function off this one principle. And think about it… 4 out of the possible 13 cards will give you a point value of 10 (10’s-Kings). That’s 30.8%, or nearly a one-in-three chance. So without further ado…
Pro Tip 1: Have a Pair of Aces or 8’s? Split them!
When you get a pair, you are allowed to “split” them: each will get another card from the deck, essentially making two hands out of one (you’ll have to match your initial bet to do so, however). Knowing when to do this can help you win some big bucks.
A pair of aces add to 12 – not an awful hand, but not great. But remember the golden rule. If you assume the card coming your way is going to be worth 10, each of your Aces has a one-in-three chance of becoming a blackjack! As for that pesky pair of 8’s…well, 16 is statistically the worst hand to have. But split them, and you potentially have 2 hands of 18, giving you good odds at winning the hand.
Pro Tip 2: When Not to Split
Splitting may sound great, but it doesn’t apply to every situation. For example, a pair of 10-value cards (meaning 10-King) give you a hand of 20. Don’t ruin a strong, potentially winning hand by splitting them up. And this goes double for a pair of 6’s. 12 may not be the greatest hand in the world, but 16 – what you should assume you’ll get from the deck – is the worst in the game.
Pro Tip 3: Insurance Scam
Are you counting cards? No? Then don’t take insurance. This is offered when the dealer is showing an Ace, but the payout always favors the casino. Not to mention you can’t count cards in online blackjack! Long story short – don’t bother with insurance.
Pro Tip 4: Let the Dealer Bust!
If the opportunity arises, let the dealer do your work for you… by making himself lose.
Let’s say the dealer is showing a 5 or 6, and apply our golden rule – that means the dealer has a 15 or a 16. Since the dealer has to keep taking cards until they get to at least 17, ANY card of 6 or above means the dealer will bust, and you win! And just so you know, the odds of busting on a 16 are 62%, almost 2/3 chance!
If your hand total is 11 or below, go ahead and hit. You’re safe, because no matter what you can’t bust (this is called having a “soft hand”). If you have anything higher than 11, and the dealer is showing a 5 or 6… just stay, and let the dealer do all the sweating.
Pro Tip 5: Double or Nothing
If your hand totals 11, you should strongly consider doubling down. This means you double your bet… but you get one – and only one – more card. But again, if you apply our rule from Blackjack 102, you have a one-in-three chance of getting a blackjack! You should also consider doing the same if your total is 10… it’s not as strong of a hand, but still will leave you in a good spot if you manage to snag another 10.
Pro Tip 6: If Unsure, Look Online
In short, all sorts of easy to read tables exist that tell you how you should act, depending on your cards and the dealer’s shown card.
Now that we have our tips out of the way, let’s zoom through some basic strategy…
- Don’t bother with insurance
- If you have a soft hand (less than or equal to 11) go ahead and hit, since you can’t bust
- Is the dealer showing a 7 or higher, and you have a between 12 and 16? You should hit…assume Blackjack 102, and that he at least has a 17. He’ll stay, and beat your hand
At the end of the day, Blackjack isn’t about getting to 21 every time. Rather, it’s about playing your hand against the dealer’s, and letting the odds be ever in your favor from there. Follow these pro tips and you’ll find you have a good shot of taking the house for all it’s worth!