Learn How to Play Blackjack Like a Pro

Likely created by the French in the 17th century, Blackjack is a popular card game now played the world over.

It has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity since the advent of mobile gaming. Online blackjack is highly searched and played daily by people around the world.

For many, it’s become more than a hobby, as they play online gaming and share tips on platforms such as:

  • Twitch
  • YouTube
  • Sites such as 888 casino

If you’ve considered dipping your toe into the entertaining game of skill and chance, you need to learn more.

What are the basics of Blackjack?

Blackjack is a card game where you need to get a hand as close to 21 as possible. It is played with a 52-card deck, or sometimes a shoe, which is two-eight decks combined.

The card values are as follows:

  • 2 – 10 are the same value as the number
  • Jack, Queen and King have a value of 10 each
  • Ace can be 1 or 11, depending on your hand

There are no jokers in the pack for Blackjack.

The dealer initially deals one card to himself, the up card, which players can see. Then he deals one card to each player, then another round of cards and finally his own second card.

This second card for the dealer is the hole card, which is face down while the other players bet.

No matter how many players there are at the table, they are all playing the dealer.

First decisions in Blackjack

Once everyone has two cards, the dealer starts at the left and the players must decide what to do. Here they also have some actions, should they stand, hit, split or double?

When you stand, that means you’re confident that your hand can beat the dealers. Normally you wouldn’t stand unless you have 17 or higher.

When you hit, that means you’re asking for another card. You can continue hitting until you’re satisfied, or you go ‘bust’, which means you’ve gone over 21.

If you get two cards of the same value, then you have the option to split. This means that you can play two hands, as you will be dealt cards on both.

Doubling down is when you double your bet (you must be confident!), take another card, then stand. You cannot get any more cards after this.

Win or lose?

Some tables allow you the choice to surrender. When you get a bad hand, you can surrender and get half your bet back but you don’t play on.

You could strike it lucky with a natural 21, which is an Ace and 10. In this case, the dealer immediately pays you one and a half times your bet.

If the dealer has a natural, he immediately collects all the bets.

In the unlikely event that you both have a natural, it’s a tie and you receive your wager back.

If you hit and go over 21, then you go bust. That means the dealer wins.

If you stand close to 21, and beat the dealer, then you receive 1:1 of your bet. That means that if you bet $1, you would receive $2 – your bet and the same amount on top.

When you get a Blackjack, you are paid at 3:2.

Insurance bets

I the dealer has an Ace as his up card, then the players are offered an insurance bet. This costs half their original bet, and if the dealer gets Blackjack, it is paid out at 2:1.

Although it seems like a good move, as the player can make their money back, be wary. The laws of probability determine that it is unlikely to be – it’s just giving away money.

Blackjack experts advise against taking the insurance bet.

Tips for new players

Everyone wants to become a whizz at Blackjack, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Here are some tips to improve:

  • Watch experienced players – especially in live games
  • Read about the subject further – Arnold Snyder has some good books for beginners
  • Watch YouTube tutorials and online terminology.
  • Use your free deposit bonus to practice
  • Play free games online wherever possible

Also remember these simple to follow tips:

  • If you have 12 – 16, and the dealer has 2 – 6, then Stand
  • If you have 12 – 16, and the dealer has 7 – Ace, hit
  • Split when you have aces or 8s
  • Double your bet if you have 11, and the dealer has 2 – 10
  • If you have a pair of 9s and the dealer has Ace – 7, Stand.

Some players follow a rule of assuming the unseen card is a 10.

Blackjack is a fun game to learn, and you only need a few hands to get into it. You can improve your strategy as you go.

There’s plenty of material out there to learn from online strategy and playing live games will help too. It can also be a sociable game where you meet other players regularly.

The great thing about Blackjack is that it’s as complicated as you want to be. You can sit and have an easy few hands, or get into the complexities of it when you know more.

Don’t forget to recognise a streak when it’s happening, and when it stops.

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