Of all the various table games on offer at casinos, blackjack probably rivals poker as the most popular one. It may not have the iconic reputation that poker enjoys, but it has other advantages that make it attractive for people.
Probably the biggest of these is that the essential idea behind blackjack is not that difficult to grasp. The main purpose is to try to build a hand of cards that adds up to 21 to beat the blackjack dealer.
Blackjack also incorporates the sophistication aspect of table games that options like slots cannot really match. That makes it a game many choose to play during a casino evening out.
However it is also a much-picked game at online casinos and it is ways of playing successfully at those sites that we will be looking into here.
The Basic Rules
Blackjack sees the player going face-to-face with a dealer as each try to get a hand that is closest to 21 in value. When it comes to the value of individual cards, the numbered ones are self-explanatory, but the values of the others are as follows:
- Ace = either 1 or 11
- Jack = 10
- Queen = 10
- King = 10
As you can see the scoring is very simple. The key point to remember is that should your cards add up to even one more than 21, you will lose and the dealer will win.
Both the player and the dealer initially get two cards, and then the player has four options:
That means taking further cards from the dealer.
This means sticking with the initial two cards
- Doubling down
This means purchasing an extra card at the price of whatever their first bet was.
This involves dividing the cards up into two hands and betting on each individually.
Tips and Strategies
Find Single Deck Games
These are rare at land-based casinos, but blackjack online will usually include single deck games. The reason why it is better to pick single deck ones – especially if you are new to blackjack – is that they make following the flow of the game easier.
Know When to Stand
If your initial cards add up to around 12 or 13 it is very tempting to hit in the hopes of getting closer to 21. In reality though, what you know is crucial to success in blackjack.
The player can see one of the dealer’s two cards but not the other one. If the visible card is a high value Jack, Queen King or 10, there is a good chance that the hidden one will take the total value to around 15 or 16.
Making the dealer take another card will likely lead to a bust, which will let you win with just that 12 or 13.
Never Split 10s
Splitting if you have a pair of cards can be a good strategy when you believe the dealer has a weak hand. It is not the best move if the pair is of 10s though, even if splitting can potentially create two high value hands.
Those two 10s are already very close to blackjack and will almost certainly constitute a winning hand, no matter what the dealer does. For that reason, keeping them together is a smarter blackjack strategy when playing online.
When to Double Down
Doubling down is a risky move because the player has to equal his or her original bet to buy one extra card from the dealer. That means it leaves the potential to lose twice as much, but also to double any winnings.
When it comes to doubling down, it is important to pay attention to whether the dealer holds a hard or soft hand of cards. A hard hand is one with no ace, while a soft hand is one with an ace.
If it is a hard hand of 9 and the dealer produces a low card of between 3 and 6, this is a good time to double down. The same is true with a hand worth 10 or 11.
In a soft hand situation, the best time to double down is on a hand worth between 15 and 18 when the dealer has low value cards.
Pay Attention to the Table
Online blackjack tables feature information about payouts that can help with strategizing. If there is a choice between one paying 6 to 5 and another paying 3 to 2, the latter will produce bigger winnings over a long night of play.
Being aware of the rules of the table and the kind of blackjack you are playing is an important tip to remember.
Follow these strategies to achieve success at online blackjack.