Online Blackjack Strategy
Blackjack is one of the most popular card games to play, in both the online and offline gambling communities. Why? Because it’s considered a game of skill more than luck, and there is an element of prestige that comes with understanding how to win at blackjack. In other words, the odds are generally more in favour of someone with a solid skill-set having a winning session than they are for someone who doesn’t. By fully grasping the options available, you can take the first step to becoming a skilled player, as several decisions need to be made per hand that could have game-changing consequences.
While many believe that the aim of online blackjack is to try and get as close to 21 as possible, that’s not actually true. The aim is more clear-cut…it’s to beat the dealer. Here we’ll discuss aspects like blackjack betting strategy, blackjack card counting, and blackjack side bets, as well as basic blackjack rules, and more. Let’s take a look!
Blackjack Strategy Chart
When you’re playing online blackjack, one of the best opportunities for you to get to grips with the game is to refer to a blackjack strategy chart. This is, essentially, a colour-coordinated diagram showcasing both yours and the dealer’s hands, while providing suggestions on what your next move could be. In addition, it’s easy to get hold of – simply put in a search online, download the chart, and keep it on hand when you’re playing. The moves recommended in the chart are generally regarded as the statistically best decisions you can make in specific situations. While following the chart does not mean you will win every hand, it will result in long term wins. In other words, it’s important that you understand what is being presented to you, so that you can apply the suggestions when you’re playing online blackjack. From when to stand, hit, surrender, split or double up, you’ll find it all on your strategy chart, and we highly recommend you refer to one when playing.
Basic Blackjack Rules
Remember that when you’re playing online blackjack, it’s just you versus the dealer, even if there are other players taking part. In other words, it doesn’t matter if the additional players are winning or losing, it will have no effect on your hand. Also, when we refer to the dealer, it’s a virtual one when you’re playing the standard online blackjack game, and an actual person when you’re playing the live online casino version.
Essentially a comparing card game played with decks of 52 cards, the objective of online blackjack is to beat the dealer, which you can do in the following ways:
- Score 21 points on your first two cards.
- Attain a final score that’s higher than the dealer’s, without exceeding 21.
- Let the dealer keep drawing extra cards until their hand is over 21.
To start a hand, you must bet by clicking on a chip denomination and then again on the table to put your bet down. In online blackjack, you will see that there are lower and higher limits, so make sure your bet size is not only somewhere in-between, but also appropriate for your own bankroll. Once you’ve completed the betting action, you can click or tap the “Deal” button. You will then be dealt two cards that are face-up to show you the value of your hand, while the dealer is given one that’s also face-up and one that’s looking down. The dealer must then check the value of the face-down card (referred to as the hole card), and if “blackjack” is possible, the cards are turned over, the dealer wins, and you go bust. If the dealer doesn’t have blackjack, you will have the following options:
- To Stand: You are happy with your cards and you’ll keep them as is for the next round.
- To Hit: You want to draw another card – take note that you can continue to draw cards as long as the total does not exceed 21, in which case you’ll bust.
- To Double: You want to double the bet size and get an extra card.
- To Split: If you have a pair, or any two cards with 10 points each, you can split and double the size of your bet. An extra two cards will then get added to give you another hand. Take note that if you’re splitting Aces, you will only score one extra card.
- To Surrender: You give up immediately after seeing your initial two cards and receive half of your stake back.
Blackjack Card Values
When it comes to knowing the value of blackjack cards, it’s easy, as these are generally what’s denoted on the cards. In other words…
- 2 – 9 Points: Any 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 card.
- 10 Points: Any picture card or a 10 card.
- 1 or 11 Points: The Ace card.
As for the best hand, which is of course, ”blackjack”, it’s when you hit both an Ace and a card with a 10 value.
How to Beat the House Edge
The house edge is the statistical advantage the casino builds into every game – in other words, it’s the percentage of the money you’ve bet that the casino gets to keep. To beat or reduce the house edge or advantage, you must use a basic blackjack strategy. The correct decisions can make winning a 50/50 possibility. The key is to refer to your blackjack strategy chart while you’re playing to help you with your choices. If you don’t, you could end up making the incorrect decisions regarding standing, splitting, hitting or doubling down. Just by using a basic strategy you can reduce the house edge by 0.14%.
A Basic Blackjack Strategy
This is the best way to optimise your chances of winning when playing online blackjack. The objective of a basic blackjack betting strategy is to not only win as much as possible, but also to maximise your wins, while minimising your losses and reducing your chances of busting.
Of course, you must remember that the house will always have a slight edge – they’re in it for profit after all, not your entertainment. But strategy can help reduce that edge significantly, especially when you’re playing blackjack online. If you are new to the game, we recommend that you keep a blackjack strategy chart nearby, either on your PC/mobile device or printed out, as a quick and easy reference guide. You’ll find that the more you play, the less often you’ll have to refer to it, as you begin to memorise all of the possible situations and outcomes, and start seeing general patterns at play that you can use to your advantage. For example, always hit if your hand is below 11, and always stand if its 17 and above, unless it’s soft. A soft hand is one that has an Ace valued at 11 as one of the cards, while a hard hand is a hand that doesn’t have an Ace, or has an Ace that counts as 1.
Using Side Bets
In order to encourage more play, casinos often offer side bets in online blackjack. This usually requires a small wager. Here are some examples…
- Insurance: If the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, you will have the option of taking out a side bet “insurance” before the dealer checks the value of the hole card. If the hole card is checked and its value is 10, you can win 2 x the value of the “insurance” side bet.
- 21 + 3: This side bet is based on the initial two cards that you’ve been dealt and the dealer’s face-down card. If these three cards together form a flush, three-of-a-kind, straight flush or straight, you’ll win.
- Royal Match: This is based on the first two cards you’ve been dealt. If they’re both suited, say a queen and a five of hearts, you’ll score 5 to 2.
Blackjack Card Counting
Many players are seduced by the idea of card counting in online blackjack. This is when you keep track of every card that’s been dealt, so that you can determine what the odds will be for the next hand. However, this is incredibly difficult to do when you’re playing blackjack online. That’s because a computer programme using random number generator technology generates the cards that are dealt from a full deck. In other words, each hand is played from a fresh deck. It’s not all in vain, however, as attempting to card count does sharpen your skills while promoting more disciplined betting. It might prove a little easier when playing live online blackjack games as you’ll see the deck being shuffled, but still…card counting is extremely hard work and requires a lot of time and training.
We would therefore definitely recommend that you rather put a basic blackjack betting strategy in place and learn the rules of the game so you can play from experience rather than by using a tool.
When playing blackjack, you need to know that it’s unlike other games, such as slots, for example. Blackjack is a game of skill, as opposed to a game of luck, which means the quality of your blackjack strategy play and the extent of your knowledge will go a long way towards helping you win with the bets that you make. However, there are blackjack tips and tricks you should consider in order to help you increase your winnings.
- Practice! The leading online casinos offer blackjack in ‘Free Play’ mode, which means you can play for free while honing your skills. Once your confidence levels are up, you can start playing for real money.
- When you start playing for real, make sure you’ve determined how much your bankroll will be. You need to look at this amount as money you can actually afford to lose.
- Take advantage of a casino’s sign-up bonus – you can use this to play the blackjack game of your choice. However, make sure you check on the requirements when wagering as this varies from casino to casino.
- Always play the variations that have the lowest house edge, as this increases your chances of winning big.
- When it comes to selecting the best blackjack table, a rule of thumb is to always go for the one with a betting limit of no more than five percent of your bankroll. This will assist you in losing less, plus it helps to lengthen your play time. More importantly, it’ll help improve your chances of scoring.
- Make sure to split when it comes to pairs of 8s and Aces. And understand the rules regarding when to hit and when to stand: For example, you hit hard before you reach 17+, and you stand when you’re on 17+.
- Always be observant when it comes to blackjack card values as these help determine your strategy. For example, you can double your 10 if the dealer holds 9 or lower.
- Vary your betting patterns – if you are losing, then decrease your bets, and if you are winning, then increase!
Most importantly, though, have fun!