Blackjack strategy

Blackjack strategy

Click here to see basic strategy charts for American and European blackjack

Blackjack strategy can mean the difference between winning and losing, and the serious player should put in the hard yards and learn as many blackjack techniques as possible. While the basic rules of the game give the illusion of simplicity, 21 is a casino mainstay because of its ability to thwart the casual player and provide a challenge to even the most seasoned veteran.

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This page shares some of the best tactical tips and strategic advice that we at have managed to accumulate through our vast collective experience at the 21 tables. Some can be applied immediately, while others may require countless hours of practice to absorb. In either case, we recommend you give them all a try. Since nobody is holding a gun to your head, you always have the option of keeping the ones you like and discarding the rest.

Top Tip: Play Blackjack Online

There’s no two ways about: for the best value blackjack games, the Web is the only way to go. Putting aside the unparalleled convenience that comes with gambling online, we also get a much greater variety of game styles compared to traditional brick-and-mortar casinos.

Microgaming Classic Blackjack Gold SeriesMost importantly, the house edge on these virtual blackjack titles – such as Microgaming’s Classic Blackjack Gold Series, left – tends to be far lower than what we’ve become accustomed to on the main floors at Crown, The Star, Jupiters, and every other major casino in Australia. Real money blackjack games online can return at an expected rate of up to 99.9 per cent, whereas land-based Australian 21 tables usually sport a house edge of well over 0.5 per cent. That might not seem like much, but in blackjack terms it’s an enormous gulf.

There’s a few key things to consider when deciding which Web casino to sign up with. Can you play with real money in your local currency? Which banking methods are accepted? What security measures are in place? What blackjack games are available? Are there any sign-up bonuses and promotions on offer? Do your research before you start typing in credit card details.

Each one of our recommended blackjack sites supports real money deposits and withdrawals via trusted money services like Visa, MasterCard, Neteller, and Skrill (Moneybookers), while all transactions are watched over by 128-bit SSL (Secure Socket Layer) digital encryptions – the kind used by online banking operators worldwide. And as far as game selection goes, each one of these trusted online casinos is powered by leading software developers such as Microgaming – the doyen of online blackjack software.

Best blackjack sites for USA players

Due to restrictive online gambling laws, players from the US have fewer options when it comes to playing online blackjack, but that doesn’t mean they’re left completely in the dark. There are several reputable offshore casino sites that continue to service the American market, with each hosting a handful of instant-play and downloadable blackjack variants, allowing safe deposits using US-dollars and offering some hefty sign-up bonuses for USA players.

The top-rated real money blackjack sites accepting USA players include:

Best Blackjack Advice

No matter how much you practice, the outcome of a game of blackjack still comes down to a random deal of the cards. While this might fill some with dread, the prepared player is ready to confront the challenge head-on. By using the tips and techniques listed below, you will give yourself the best chance of putting a few extra dollars in your bank account. There’s also plenty of bad advice you should avoid when gambling.

Pick the right table limits for you – Not all blackjack games are created equal. In fact, the table you choose can have a major impact on your success. Casinos have tables with different limits to accommodate a wide range of players, and choosing a limit that’s too high can result in your gaming session being brought to an abrupt halt. A good rule of thumb is to find a table whose minimum wager requirements are no greater than five per cent of your total bankroll. So if you have $100 in the kitty, choose a game where the minimum bet is $5 or less.

Read the rules before you play – Besides different bet limits, the 21 games at land-based casinos and real money gambling sites can use any number of different rule interpretations. Many of these turn the favour firmly towards the house, so it is important to keep searching until you locate the most player-friendly table available. This can be difficult in land based casinos these days, especially with the advent of games like Blackjack Plus – a decidedly crooked format where the dealer can push with 22.

Microgaming Vegas Strip Blackjack Gold SeriesNever buy insurance – Casinos love to offer blackjack insurance, but a smart player should be suspicious of this “helpful” wager. While a dealer natural does pay out at 2 to 1 odds when the insurance side bet is purchased, the house hits blackjack less than one-third of the time when an Ace is showing. So like all side wagers in real cash blackjack, insurance is nothing more than a sucker bet. Don’t fall for it.

Don’t be superstitious – Like most casino games, blackjack has a number of silly superstitions associated with it. The smart player doesn’t pay attention to such nonsense, as they’re too busy thinking about blackjack strategies that might actually allow them to win. A perfect example involves the play of others at your table. This has nothing to do with your hand, but some punters become irate because they believe a poor decision by a fellow player will hurt their chances of winning and wreck the “sacred flow”. In reality, all these individuals are doing is demonstrating their ignorance.

Learn the art of splitting – Depending on the rules of the casino, a player may be able to split their cards into two distinct hands if the value of the two original cards is the same. While splitting can sometimes be a powerful weapon, it isn’t recommended in every situation. For example, a pair of Aces or Eights should almost always be split (except in some European-style games), while Fives and 10-value cards are just the opposite. Other situations are more complicated, but the serious player should take the time to learn when splitting is appropriate in blackjack.

Is counting cards worth it? – The short answer is: no, not really. Novice players often believe that counting cards is illegal, but nothing could be further from the truth – although gaming establishments do reserve (and often exploit) the right to ban players who win big with this method. However, the advent of the continuous shuffling machine (CSM) – as well as the random number generator (RNG) in online play – means decks can be automatically shuffled after every hand, which severely limits the efficacy of card counting techniques.

If you’re interested in counting cards nonetheless, there are plenty of systems out there – from the single-level count of the Hi-Lo method, to more advanced applications such as Wong Halves and Zen Count. We suggest starting with a simple system such as the Ace-Five Count. This should take a while to master, and you always have the option of graduating to a more complex system later on.

Know when to stand – Players love to hit at the blackjack table, but keep in mind that there is a time and a place for everything. If the dealer is showing a card ranging from an Eight down to an Ace, then it’s often a good tactic to hit. However, you should stand if the dealer has a Four through Six and your own hand has a total above 11. These are very rudimentary guidelines – for more detailed info on when to hit, stand, split, or double, take a look at our basic strategy charts.

When you’re in the thick of a gaming session, applying the blackjack strategy discussed in this article can provide an immediate boost to your chances of winning. Keep in mind, however, that nobody wins every hand of blackjack; otherwise casinos the world over would not offer it in such abundance. Therefore, it’s important to enjoy the experience of playing the game while employing proper bankroll management to ensure that your session lasts as long as possible.

For more helpful hints and guides to optimise your chances of winning in blackjack, read up on the following:

Our other top-rated blackjack sites are listed in the casino table at the top of this page. We recommend Raging Bull Casino as our top-rated casino site for players from United States, which has some excellent welcome bonuses available for new players along with a great range of blackjack variants, online slots and other table games.