Blackjack Strategy - Beginner and Pro

Blackjack is an extremely popular casino game, mostly because it is so easy to understand. However, there are many different strategies available to boost your chances of winning. Here, we detail some of the most common blackjack strategies, including the famous Martingale, d’Alembert and more. We also explain the basic rules of each strategy, card counting, and popular betting systems, among others. Let’s get started.

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What is a Blackjack Strategy?

It should be said that there is no fool-proof way to win blackjack, although using an effective blackjack strategy can certainly increase your chances. This is done by understanding the value of the cards, implementing card counting techniques and knowing what strategy works best for your gameplay.
What is a Blackjack Strategy

Getting the Basics Right

Blackjack is known for being a simple game, but there are some interesting rules to understand before playing for real money. Below is a basic overview of the rules of the game. It is important to understand how to play blackjack before developing your blackjack strategy.

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The aim of the game is to beat the dealer by getting as close to 21 as possible without going over. If your hand is more than 21, you lose your bet.

Getting the Basics Right - 1
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Players and dealers are dealt two cards each. The player’s cards are face up while only one of the dealer’s cards face up.

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There are many variants of the game and each version has slightly tweaked rules. These small changes could affect the outcome of the game. Be sure to understand the different rules before playing for real money.

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Landing 21 means you receive 1.5x your total bet, although this depends on the casino.

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Understanding Card Values

When playing blackjack, you’ll find that most card values are self-explanatory. In blackjack, the number is important and not the suit or colour of the cards. That said, there are a few cards that may confuse newer players in terms of value. For instance, 10, J, Q and K are valued at 10 points each while Ace cards can be worth either one or 11 depending on how it affects your hand.Also, any starting hand featuring an Ace is referred to as ‘soft’.
Understanding Card Values - 1Understanding Card Values - 2

The Basic Blackjack Strategy

Blackjack is a game of chance and skill. Therefore, every decision you make can affect the outcome of the game. Unlike casino games like slots and roulette, there is a level of skill and decision-making involved when playing online blackjack. Decisions like whether it hit, stand, double down or split are common in blackjack, so knowing the right move is key to success.

Let’s Talk about Card Counting

While frowned upon at land-based casinos, card counting is a common technique used at online casinos when playing blackjack. The idea behind card counting is to use mathematics to figure out how many high or low cards have been used and how many are left in the deck. In this way, you can work out what move to make to land a winning hand. Card counting can be a part of a successful strategy and can actually decrease the house edge by as much as 1%.

Hi-Lo Card Counting Strategy

This is a common blackjack card counting technique whereby a value of -1, 0 or 1 is assigned to each card dealt facing up. This card counting technique requires a good memory and mathematical skills. It should also be said that this is not a fool-proof method of winning. Instead, Hi-Lo card counting is based on approximations.

Hi-lo Card Counting Strategy

Blackjack Betting Systems

In addition to betting strategies, blackjack has also inspired many betting systems, which refer to a series or sequence of repetitive play. Playing either of these systems is completely different from playing a blackjack strategy as systems are used to improve the chances of beating the dealer. Below are a few common betting systems in blackjack:

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Martingale

This betting system requires the player to double their bets after every loss with the understanding that you will get on even ground eventually and eliminate your losses with one massive win. This is a popular betting system that has huge returns if successful, however, it is quite risky.

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d'Alembert

Here, players raise their bets by one unit after every loss. Once a win occurs, the bets are lowered by one unit. This is considered a safer betting system and recommended to newer players who still want to play conservatively.

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Fibonacci

Based on the famous mathematical sequence called the Fibonacci sequence, this system dictates that each number is the sum of the two previous numbers. As part of the betting system, a player’s bet moves along the sequence for every loss. Once a win occurs, they stick with the number they were on when they won. This system is considered similar but slightly less aggressive to the Martingale system.

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1-3-2-6

Referred to as a split strategy, here players bet 1, 3, 2, and 6 units after each other. These unit bets go up every time a player wins but remain on 1 unit if a loss occurs.

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Parlay

This positive progression betting system operates with the idea to create a pyramid of wins. Once a win occurs, the player will bet the winnings and the original bet. However, if the player loses, only the original amount is wagered in the next round.

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Oscar’s Grind

This betting system was originally designed as a system for craps, but has, over the years, been implemented in blackjack strategies as well. Another progressive system, bets increase by one unit every time a player wins. In addition, the bet is doubled after each win.

Blackjack Glossary

Now that you understand the ins and outs of blackjack strategies, you may want to familiarise yourself with some of the common terms you’re likely to hear while playing online. Below are some of the most popular terms used by players and dealers when playing blackjack to help you get the most out of your gaming experience.

Term Definition
Bankroll The bankroll refers to the money available in your casino account, which is to be used for playing for real money.
Burn Card This is the first card drawn and is located at the top of the deck. The name refers to the card being ‘burned’, or removed from the deck. This disrupts the order of the cards and prevents cheating attempts.
Bust This is a hand that goes over 21. If this happens, the player automatically loses the bet. A bust can only take place after ‘hitting’ and can be avoided as, due to the card numbered system of the card, your starting two cards can never be worth more than 21.
Card Counting This is a popular and often effective system of tracking the cards in the deck to work out the likelihood of a dealer going bust. That said, card counting only really works when playing in real life as random number generators are used at online casinos.
Deck Penetration This refers to the percentage of cards being played since the previous shuffle. This information is crucial when card counting.
Double Down Double down is the move to double your original bet and accept one more card. If the hand contains more than two cards, you do not have the option to double down.
Face Cards These are cards that feature the classic royal suite and no numbers. This includes all King, Queen and Jack cards in a deck.
Flat Betting Flat betting means to bet the same for each hand. This is considered a bad strategy as no variation in bet size is involved. That said, this method can work if a player is not counting cards.
Hard Hand This refers to a hand with only one value, either without any aces or with a high enough value for any aces to be worth 1.
Hit This is the most common action at a blackjack table. Hit refers to asking for an additional card from the dealer with the intention to improve your blackjack hand.
House Edge The house edge refers to the casino’s advantage over the player. The house edge varies depending on the game, bets placed, players and strategies being used.
Natural This is a hand that naturally adds up to 21 without having to take any action. The hand must contain two cards and is a guaranteed win.
Push This is a hand that ties with the dealer and results in neither a win not a loss.
Soft Hand A soft hand refers to a hand that contains one or more aces. Since aces have a degree of flexibility, this is an advantage as it could protect you from going bust.
Surrender Surrender is a form of insurance when playing blackjack. You give up your hand to receive half your wager back. This must be performed before other actions and is usually taken on a really bad initial hand. If you feel the hand cannot be salvaged, opting to surrender may be the best move.
Up Card This is the dealer’s card that is faced up when the hand is first dealt. This up card is useful to the player, especially those following a basic strategy or counting cards as it can provide insight into the dealer’s chance of winning.

Time to Play Blackjack?

Blackjack continues to be one of the most popular casino games available today. The rise of online gambling and casinos has certainly put this game on the map and introduced it to a whole new generation of players. Online casinos and mobile sites typically offer a wide range of blackjack games and variations to choose from.

These games can either be played for free or real money. When playing for real money, it is important to utilise some form of blackjack strategy to get the most out of your experience. Our list of recommended blackjack casinos covers some of the best gambling sites available. Choose your preferred casino, make a deposit and start playing for the chance to enjoy plenty of fun and rewards playing this famous game.

FAQ

Blackjack is a common game at online casinos. Our list of recommended sites features the best blackjack casinos operating today. These sites can be easily accessed from your desktop or mobile device and are often available to play for free or real money. Simply visit the site or download the app, sign up and start playing.

No. In addition to all our featured sites being proven fair and safe, all casino games at reputable sites use random number generators. This ensures that all results are 100% random and unbiased. This means that games simply cannot be rigged and there is no way to cheat the system.

Playing blackjack for free is the ideal way to practice your blackjack strategy. Players can try out their strategy without risking any money. Alternatively, playing for free means you can enjoy limitless hours playing for fun without having to bet any real money.

Blackjack strategies are designed to improve your chances of winning. It is not a fool-proof way of beating the dealer. So yes, they work to boost your overall gameplay but there is no strategy that guarantees a win.

Yes, although counting cards is often frowned upon at land-based casinos, it is completely legal and doesn’t constitute cheating. It is simply using mathematical skills to work out whether your dealer has the advantage or not. That said, counting cards is pretty impossible at online casinos since random number generators are used.