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Blackjack Strategy Guide

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in the world. Players who understand the game can reduce the house edge and therefore improve their chances of winning. In this section we will take a look at a range of blackjack betting strategies and how they work. As always we do advise you to play responsibly and remember that no blackjack strategy will guarantee you a win but you can reduce the house edge.

Introduction to blackjack

Blackjack is a fast-paced, straightforward and thrilling casino card game. Researchers claim that it originated around the 1700s in French casinos. Since then, it has been rated as the second most popular card game worldwide, after poker of course! A great reason for this is, unlike other casino games, it’s not entirely based on luck. Certainly, there is an element of luck, but a player can also become a skilled blackjack player with more knowledge and practice of blackjack strategy. There are many different ways to give yourself a better chance of winning (and we’ll tell you how in this article!). Another reason blackjack is so popular is because you play against the dealer, not other players. Therefore, no matter how many people are sitting around you at the same table, you are all playing individual games against the dealer.

The rules of blackjack are straightforward and easy to learn so it’s a popular choice for newbies too! They can learn it fairly quickly and play with confidence after learning the basics. Essentially, they need to understand three simple rules- when to hit, stand and split, then they’re pretty much good to go. BUT is blackjack down to luck or can skill be involved? That’s where Casinos Jungle is here to help. There are many different blackjack strategies that you can implement to give yourself the best possible chance of winning. Such as knowledge of effective strategies, a clear but versatile plan, good bankroll management, self-control, avoiding side bets, counting cards, being statistic driven and much more. Let’s take a look at our top 10 strategies…

1. Double down on a hard 11

This blackjack strategy is unquestionably the most popular and well-known. It’s a risky but thrilling move to make – you’ll often see ‘professional’ or highly skilled blackjack players utilizing this strategy. The reason for this? when you get a hard 11 you are in a very good position and if the double down works in your favour it can be extremely profitable! Needless to say, there is a risk of possibly being dealt a low card. If this happens, you won’t be able to hit again and will risk losing twice as many chips. But high-risk, high-reward, right? There’s an unspoken rule to never double down if you’re holding higher than an 11. Why? because the chances of going bust are extremely higher so it too risky. 

2. Split a pair of 8’s & Aces 

There will be times whilst playing blackjack that your two upcards will be of identical value and you will have the option of splitting them. All skilled blackjack players know that you should ALWAYS split a pair of 8’s and Aces no matter what the dealer’s upcard is. Why? you are statistically better off than playing it this way any other. So, effectively it will help you lose less money in the long run and is the best attempt to cut losses. In the case of Aces, you have the potential to make some significant gains! And in the case of 8’s, it will depend on the dealers’ upcard but will allow you to minimise losses and maximise winnings.

Note: You can spot the amateurs from a mile off as they commonly never use this strategy when a dealers upcard is 9, 10 or Ace. This is because of the fear that they will lose even more money. But in fact, implementing this strategy at this point will make you less of an underdog. 

3. Never split a pair of 5’s and 10’s

Like the previous strategy, all skilled players also know to never split a pair of 5’s and 10’s in blackjack. It’s almost like an unspoken rule. In fact, most players will know to never do this but newbies might not have worked it out yet. If you split the 5’s or 10’s, the odds are definitely not in your favour and there is a much higher chance of losing cash.

4. Always hit a hard 12 vs. dealer’s 2 or 3 upcard

It’s very common for players to abandon this strategy when it’s time to implement it into the game. Why? because of the fear of going bust. Therefore, players will usually think that they are playing it safe and stand on their 12. It’s very likely that you will lose money against a dealers 2 or 3 upcard regardless of your cards. However, you have a higher chance of losing less money in the long run by hitting (even with the risk of busting).

5. always hit a soft 18 when the dealers upcard is 9, 10, or ace

It’s common for players to believe that a hand that totals 18 is a sure win and is unquestionably one of the most misplayed hands in blackjack. Players will usually decide to stand on a soft 18, especially if the dealers’ upcards are strong, e.g (9, 10 or ace). For those of you that are new to blackjack, a soft 18 is when a hand is made up of an Ace (with a value of 11) and a 7. It’s important to remember – you will ALWAYS be the underdog against a dealers strong upcards (9, 10 or ace), regardless of whether you decide to stand or hit. In fact, deciding to hit will potentially be the most rewarding move you could make and cut your losses. The odds may not be in your favour, but you still have a high chance of drawing a small value card (e.g ace, 2 or 3). This means you still have a good chance of winning at the blackjack game.

6. Always double down on 10 if the dealer’s upcards are in between 2-9

If you hold a two-card 10 then you’re automatically put at a great advantage, especially if the dealers’ upcard is between 2-9. Why? you will have a higher chance of obtaining a better value card against the upcards compared to hitting in the long run. Doubling down will optimise maximum profits against a dealer’s weaker upcards. Therefore, you will have a greater chance of winning the game. Needless to say, standing in this scenario would be nonsensical, since you only stand a chance of winning if the dealer goes over 21.

7. Always stand with a pair of 9’s if the dealers upcard is a 7

If your two upcards are 9’s you should always stand if the dealers upcard is 7 and hold your total of 18. Statistics show that standing with these upcards will win you slightly more money than splitting. There is great potential that the dealer will either pull a ten (because there is four times as many in a deck) or a smaller value. Therefore, you will be closest to 21 and win. If you decide to hit and go bust, the dealer will win regardless. So, it’s a safer option to stand. Drawing another card will give you a huge risk of going bust. 

8. Always double down A-2 through to A-7 if the dealers upcard is a 5 or 6

If your initial two cards are Ace-2 through to Ace-7 – DOUBLE DOWN. This is a simple strategy that will give you the potential to win more. Why? because you cannot go bust and the dealer has a much higher risk of going bust because they have to hit until they reach 17.

9. If the casino rules specify that the dealer must hit a soft 17 (rather then stand), you must to the following:

Different casinos have different rules. In many casinos, there is something known as the ‘soft 17 rule’ in blackjack. This is when casinos specify that the dealer must hit a soft 17 rather than stand. You’re probably wondering if this rule makes much of a difference to the game? and the answer is yes. If this rule is stated then the house edge will usually increase by an average of 0.2%. So, the dealer is essentially at an advantage, even if it is only a small one. In fact, the statistics show that a dealer only has a 29.7% chance of busting in this scenario.

We’d actually suggest avoiding blackjack in casinos where the ‘soft 17’ rule is in place. Why play when the odds are not in your favour? However, if you decide to anyway, here are some strategies to help you out…

Double down on two cards that make 11 against a dealers ace upcard. Many players decide to stand, but doubling down will give you a better advantage

Double down on a soft 19 (Ace, 8) instead of standing, when you’re against a dealers 6 upcard

Double down on soft 18 (Ace, 7) instead of standing, when a dealers upcard is 2

10. ALWAYS surrender a hard 15/16 against a dealer’s 9, 10 or ace upcards

If you receive a hard 15 or 16 during a game of blackjack. Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but you’ve received one of the worst hands in blackjack. If the dealer is also showing strong upcards (9, 10 or Ace) then you’re in even more trouble. But fear not! There is a strategy that can help minimise your losses. You should simply surrender against the dealers’ upcards. Surrendering in blackjack means giving up your hand if you believe you’re at a big disadvantage and unlikely to win the hand. In this scenario, you will keep half of your original bet. So it’s a much better option than likely losing your whole bet!

Blackjack variations

We must remember that there are 20+ blackjack variations at present. The rules will vary in each variation so it’s important to study them before playing. These strategies mentioned on this page are for the classic blackjack game but fear not – they can also be implemented in many of the variations too.

Different variations include Blackjack Switch, Free Bet Blackjack, Spanish 21, Super Fun 21, Most Liberal 21, War Blackjack, Face Up Blackjack, European Blackjack. And many more! New variations of this popular card game are always being developed. So you’ll never get bored of blackjack. 

The House Always Has an Edge

Blackjack gives the best odds of winning compared to any other table casino game. But it’s important to remember, you will always be at a slight disadvantage against the dealer. In most casinos, blackjack will have a 1% house edge. If it’s higher, you should recognise where to play. 

The advantages of learning the best blackjack strategies…

Learning The Strategies Will Eventually Become Second Nature

Learning the best black strategies can seem daunting and time-consuming at first. However, before you know it, it will become second nature when playing blackjack. It establishes good habits that will increase your chances of winning in every game. Sounds good, huh?  

Minimise Loses, Maximises profits

As previously mentioned, you are always at a disadvantage when deciding to play blackjack. But thankfully strategies will help you minimise losses and maximise profits. Take notice of the players around you that are consistently making profits. What strategies are they utilizing? we can assure you that the players consistently making losses are not aware of basic strategies. If you want to make real money, STUDY THE BEST STRATEGIES!

Your fellow players will appreciate it 

Despite being at odds to lose money, blackjack should be an enjoyable game for everyone around the table. It can be frustrating for experienced blackjack players when other players misplay every single hand. Whilst it won’t take away from other players wins, it will certainly make the game less enjoyable by taking the focus off the play. We can say with confidence that all gamblers will appreciate the time taken to learn the rules and different strategies (of course, choose which ones are best for you). Don’t become the annoyance at the table.

Conclusion

We understand that initially, it can be overwhelming to learn what strategy to use in every blackjack scenario. So, we’ve done our best to simplify the strategies for you. And don’t worry… over time it will become second nature. We’ve covered our favourite blackjack strategies so you can go into your next blackjack game with increased confidence and a higher chance of winning. One thing’s for sure, implementing these strategies will give you an added advantage in blackjack. None of these strategies is too complicated so beginners and professionals will find them easy to utilize. And why not give yourself the best opportunity to win at blackjack?

After reading this guide to black strategy, you should feel confident to sit down at a blackjack table (if you haven’t before) and possess a good chance at taking the win. Take ALL of these strategies to the casino with you. Memorise them perfectly and we guarantee you’ll walk into a blackjack game with a better chance of winning than ever before. Find an online or land-based casino with friendly dealers and implement what you’ve learnt. And don’t forget to have fun!

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