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Blackjack Strategy Tips for Beginners

Written by:
Payton
Published on:
Jan/23/2020

Blackjack, also commonly known as 21, is a popular card game that has been played for centuries. It’s now a staple at casinos, where you’ll find it alongside slots, poker, roulette, and all the other latest offerings and technologies. It’s a great choice for casino beginners because it’s fairly easy to pick up. Although the object of the game is simple — to beat the dealer — that doesn’t mean the game itself is simple.

To make the game harder, six or eight 52-card decks are typically used when playing in casinos. (Online, the number of decks used is often even larger.) A blackjack table can usually fit five to seven players, but only one player (not counting the dealer) is required to play. To start the game, you’ll need to make a minimum bet.

Before we can discuss strategy tips, it’s important to note that there are many different versions of blackjack, many with different rules and approaches. The most popular version that’s played offline and online is the classic version (or traditional blackjack). Other variants include Pontoon, Blackjack Switch, Spanish 21, Double Exposure Blackjack, and themed versions like Deal or No Deal blackjack. Then, there are different ways to play, like video, multiplayer, VIP, premium, and live blackjack.

Basic Strategy Tips

So, you want to beat the dealer. For traditional blackjack, this is accomplished by getting as close to 21 as possible without going over (as long as the dealer goes over) or by receiving a bigger total than the dealer’s total. But what about strategy?

Once you know the terms and the basics of the game, you’ll be able to begin with strategy. First, you need to memorize the correct way to hit, stand, split, and double down. This is one of the most important strategy tips — it will help to bring down the house edge and improve your odds. There are many charts online discussing strategy rules for single and multiple decks in depth. Since single decks are less commonly used today, here are a few strategies for multiple decks:

  • When the dealer has 2-6, stand if you have 12-16. Hit is the next acceptable option.

  • If you have 9-11, the dealer will double down on select cards (3-6, 2-9, 2-10) or hit on Ace (A).

  • If you have 17, 18, 10-10, A-8, A-9, or A-10 the dealer will stand.

  • If you have A-2 through A-6, the dealer will double on select cards (5-6, 4-5, 3-6) or hit.

  • If you have A-7, the dealer will double on 3-6; stand on 2, 7, or 8; and hit on 9, 10, or A.

  • If you have two As, the dealer will split.

  • If you have a 2-2 or 3-3 the dealer will split on 2-7.

  • If you have 8-8 the dealer will always split.

  • If you have 9-9, the dealer will split on 2-6 or 8-9 and stand on 7, 10, or A.

However, if you don’t want to memorize any of the above, blackjack strategy charts are available to print or purchase. It will definitely be worth your time to do so, even just to study it. You’re often allowed to have this chart at the table too, as long as you don’t slow down gameplay.

Additionally, while basic blackjack strategies are often the same for many of the variants, many of them do require slight adjustments from game to game (otherwise, it wouldn’t be a variant). But once you know the basics for traditional blackjack, you’ll be able to move on to the other variations.

Final Thoughts

If you’re playing at a casino, pick a table that aligns with the bets you’re willing to make, but avoid sitting in the first chair so you’ll have more time to review your hand. This will also give you more time to assess the dealer’s style and get used to playing at the table. Start with the minimum bet and see how things play out (i.e. if the dealer is on a hot streak or not) before making riskier moves. And if you’re offered the chance to make an insurance bet, or a bet to protect your hand in case the dealer has 21, don’t take it.


 

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