Best Basic and Advanced Blackjack Strategies

Blackjack is thought to have been introduced in the early 1700’s at French casinos, however this can neither be confirmed nor denied. What we do know is the fact that this simple card game has gone on to become one of the most popular casino games ever.

Its simplicity allows anyone to enjoy it, but if you really want to get the most bang for your buck, well then you'll need to do research. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about blackjack, from the basic rules to betting systems that have been working for players. It is vital that you remember the game of blackjack is very much on the luck of the draw, however, that doesn't mean you won't be able to increase your odds against the house with a little strategy.

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Getting Started

1

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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The dealer will work from their left and will deal each player 2 cards. Each player will receive their cards face up, but the dealer will only receive 1 card that is face-up and the other remains hidden.

Getting the Basics Right - 1
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In the original version of the game, once everyone has received their cards, the dealer will go from left to right asking each player whether they wish to receive another card or not. Depending on the variant you're playing, the rules may differ slightly so be sure to familiarize yourself with the little nuances.

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Should a player get 21, they will receive a payout of 3:2 at most casinos, however, keep in mind that this will vary depending on the casinos and the variation of blackjack you're playing.

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Blackjack Card Values

Understanding the value of cards in the game of blackjack is certainly not rocket science. Each card is worth their numerical value, with the exception of picture cards and the ace. The values work as follows:

1-10 are worth their face value.
Jack, Queen & King are all worth 10.
Ace is worth either 1 or 11.

As you can see, it’s all very much self-explanatory with the exception of the Ace which is like a wildcard of sorts. Because the ace is able to be two numbers, whenever a player has one in their initial hand, it is referred to as a soft or flexible hand.

Basic Blackjack Strategy

Blackjack is one of the few games where strategy can actually increase your odds of beating the house. The more you know, the better it is for you, so it pays to do a little research and memorize what to do and when.

Here are some of the basic strategies that should give you more of a chance:

Pair Splitting

Pair Splitting

What may seem like a simple act, pair splitting can often be the difference between a win or loss. One of the most common pair splitting moves involves 2 aces. Players should always split aces, however, you should never split tens as a hand of 20 is the second best hand.

Soft Totals

Soft Totals

This refers to when your initial hand is composed of an ace and another card. The reason it is called soft is because the ace is capable of being a 1 or 11. This allows players flexibility in the sense that they can hit and not go bust.

Hard Totals

Hard Totals

When a player’s hand holds a 10 and another card, it’s considered hard because there is no way to change the toal and should be carefully thought about when deciding whether to hit or stand.

Late Surender

Late Surrender

A wonderful way to recoup half your bet is to have a weak hand. Be wary when relying on this move as all too often, players will automatically surrender even if their hand is not that weak.

What is Card Counting

Card counting gained its fame from players winning massive sums of cash on a regular basis. The skill is not easily learned and takes loads of practice, not to mention a mathematical mind. In the early days of casino card games, only 1 or 2 decks of cards would be used in blackjack.

This made the art of card counting slightly easier as the number of cards in play were always known. This system works because you know what has been dealt and what should be left. Therefore, with every card dealt, the odds of a certain card appearing next increase. This is card counting in its simplest form.

These days though, casinos will use between 2 and 10 decks of cards which makes card counting almost impossible to do with any level of certainty.

Blackjack Betting Systems

So the art of card counting is now considered illegal in the industry, but there are many other betting strategies that players employ with a decent success rate. Let’s take a close look at the more prominent ones.

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Martingale

This is probably one of the most famous methods when gambling and is the simplest option for both newcomers and regulars. Basically, all players need to do is double their bet each time they register a loss. The premise being that when you win, you'll have recouped all the previous losses. This works fine for high rollers but for those with slimmer bankrolls, this tactic can burn through it at an astonishing rate.

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d’Alembert

Almost exactly the same as the Martingale tactic, but instead of doubling your bet with every loss, you only increase it in increments of 1. When the players win, they drop their count by one. As you can see, this is yet another simple technique that is considered to be one of the safest methods.

3

Split Strategy

Also referred to as the 1-3-2-6 strategy and is used by many blackjack players around the world. Yet another simple system whereby players will bet first 1, then 3, then 2 and then 6. They will continue doing this consecutively and everytime they register a loss, they will stick to their previous bet.

4

Fibonacci

Known throughout mathematical circles as the golden ratio, the fibonacci sequence is famous the world over. In the sequence, every number is the sum total of the two previous numbers. This is what it looks like: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 & 34 which continues on infinitely. Only when the player doesn't win, do they stick on a number, otherwise they'll keep progressing through the sequence.

Blackjack Terms & Glossary

Term Definition
Burn Card The card that is removed from the deck to disrupt cheating.
Bust When the total of a hand exceeds 21.
Double Down When a bet is doubled and players can only take 1 more card.
Face Cards Refers to the Jack, Queen and King cards.
Flat Bet Betting the exact same amount for each hand consecutively.
Hard Hand A hand that consists of a high card but not an ace.
Hit When a player’s request another card from the dealer.
House Edge This refers to the odds the casino has of beating the player.
Natural A hand that is worth 21 without needing any other cards.
Push This is when the player and the dealer tie. There is no win or loss.
Soft Hand When a hand has an Ace, it offers flexibility.
Surrender Players are able to get half their bet back.
Up Card Refers to the dealer’s card which is facing up.

FAQs

How do I play blackjack online?

All you need to do is choose a casino and your blackjack variant and you'll be able to play from either your mobile device and desktop.

Can I play Blackjack for free?

Yes, there are many online casinos that will have a variety of games, including blackjack available to play for free.

Do I need an account to play free games?

No, that's the best part of playing for free at online casinos.

Why should I play blackjack for free online?

Firstly, it’s free fun. However, the most important factor is that you are able to test out strategies without the risk of losing real money.

Can I play blackjack online for real money?

Yes, there are loads of blackjacks variants available online.

Is blackjack rigged online?

No, as long as you've chosen a legitimate casino, you can be sure you're playing a safe and fair game. Check out our list of recommended casinos.

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