Choosing the Best Games
If you are completely new to Blackjack then here are the basics. You and the dealer receive two cards each. One of the dealer’s cards is face down and the other face up, while you can see both of your cards. The aim of a round is to have a hand that has a larger total than the dealer’s hand but without exceeding 21. You will also win if the dealer’s hand is worth more than 21.
The value of the cards is simply added together. Aces can be worth 1 or 11, the face cards are worth 10, and the remaining cards are worth their face values. You are able to request additional cards if your total is low (hit), and you can even split pairs of cards into two hands.
There are a few more rules to learn, but using the above information, you can get started playing. However, you need to learn how to spot which blackjack games have the most favourable rules. There are many small rule variations in blackjack and each of them changes the odds and returns.
The most important rule to look for is that Blackjack, which is a hand containing an ace and a 10 card, pays at 3:2 or better. Never play at a table that pays 6:5. A few other favourable rules you should watch out for are:
- Double down allowed after a split
- Double down allowed on any two cards
- Dealer stands on soft 17
- Late Surrender is offered
- You can split a pair resulting from a split pair
Managing Your Blackjack Bankroll
Beginner blackjack players are sure to make a number of mistakes, but this is part of the learning process. However, one type of mistake that is easily avoided is poor bankroll management. Bankroll management is very simple, takes little time to learn, and should be practised regardless of what type of casino game you are playing.
Properly managing your bankroll will help keep your losses under control and ensure that you will never lose more money than you can afford, which in turn ensures that playing Blackjack remains fun at all times. Furthermore, proper bankroll management makes it much easier to assess how well the game is going. You will know exactly how much money you started with and how much you are left with.
There are various techniques for bankroll management, but none is very complicated. For example, you could decide that you have €200 to gamble with in a month and you know that you want to play twice a week. This means that each gaming session will have a budget of €25. Therefore, you start playing with a budget of €25 and you stop as soon as you run out of funds. Of course, if your bankroll grows then you can continue your session or set aside your profits for an additional session in the future.
Learn to Use Basic Blackjack Strategy
Just as it is important to find the blackjack games with the most favourable rules, it is also important to make use of basic blackjack strategy.
The basic strategy shows you the mathematically optimal way to play in every situation. While this may sound complicated, it is actually incredibly easy to follow, even if you are terrible at maths. The strategy is shown in charts and you simply need to look up what you should do based upon the two cards you are holding and the dealer’s face up card.
For example, if you are holding a five and a four and the dealer is showing a jack, then you just look at where these meet in the chart and it will tell you whether to hit, stand, double down, and so on. By following the correct strategy, you will be giving yourself the best chance of winning.
Better yet, these charts can be printed on cards and casinos will normally allow you to take them to the gaming tables. If you are playing online, then you can keep a copy of the card open on your computer. However, be sure that you are using the right strategy card for the version of blackjack that you are playing, as there are small but important differences between the strategies. Luckily, it is very easy to find these cards online and you should have no problem doing so regardless of which version you are playing.
If you are still learning the basics of blackjack, then it is best to avoid the side bets as they can drain your bankroll very quickly. However, what many people don’t realise is that Insurance is also a side bet, and therefore should be avoided.
When you place the insurance side bet you are betting on the dealer having a facedown card that is worth 10 points. If the dealer does, then the bet pays at 2:1; however, the odds of the dealer having a 10 card are 2.25:1. This means that on average, you are going to lose more money each time that you place the insurance side bet. This rule applies to all the other side bets in blackjack, and while they can be enjoyed when budgeted for, in general, they are best avoided.
Use Basic Card Counting
You probably think that card counting is illegal and that you will be thrown out of a casino if caught. The good news is that it is completely legal and while casinos may ask you to leave if they catch you, employing a few card counting tricks is unlikely to do any harm.
The simplest thing to do is keep track of all the Aces and the 5s that are played. If more 5s have been played than Aces then you bet more, if more Aces have been played than 5s, then you bet less. A way of doing this is by starting with 10 as your base number. If you see an Ace played then subtract 1 from the number and if you see a 5 played then add 1.
For example, if you see two Aces and seven 5s played then you will have subtracted two from 10 for the aces, which takes you to 8, and then add seven for the fives, which takes you to 15. When the number is over 10, you bet more.
Once you have mastered this system, you can begin to look at more advanced systems that are a bit more nuanced.
It really doesn’t take very long to get to grips with the basics of blackjack and its strategies. It may have only taken you five minutes to read the above guide, but it is worth investing a little more time studying it and practising the advice it contains. Then you will be ready to take on the casino and see if you can start winning your first hands.