Blackjack can be an easy online gambling game — you just have to be able to add to 21, after all. But there’s much more to the game if you hope to tip the casino’s edge in your favor. Take this gambling advice, follow these best blackjack tips to improve your strategy so you don’t miss opportunities to squeeze some extra bucks out of the casino when the cards are going your way.
On the flip side, these best blackjack tips have cousins on the bad side. These will help you avoid the moves that separate you from your hard-earned cash in the long run. The house already has a built-in statistical edge (those casinos weren’t built by losing money), so keep your head and play smart.
Here are our three best blackjack tips, and three worst. And, we’ll toss in two bonus blackjack tips, too..
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Mastering basic strategy — If you’re serious about making a few bucks at the table and plan on playing at some decent stakes, mastering basic strategy is a must, and top the every list of best blackjack tips. There are numerous books and websites devoted to the subject, so check them out and know how to play each hand that’s dealt versus the dealer’s up card. Got two nines? You’ll want to split those versus a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 or 9. Stand on a 7, 10 or ace. Following perfect basic strategy can reduce the casino’s edge to about 0.5 percent, the best bet in the casino.
Doubling down — Players who know basic strategy will know when to utilize this option at the tables. Doubling down allows the player to double the bet and receive one card. This is also a good bet in more situations than just holding 9, 10 or 11. For example, it’s usually a smart move to double a soft 17 (ace-6) against a dealer’s 4, 5 or 6. Simply doubling the initial bet may not seem like a big advantage, but in the long run, winning these bets can be the difference between a losing night or a winning night.
Splitting aces — While you never split 10s, splitting aces is absolutely a best blackjack tip. (If you don’t, you lose.) When splitting, you’ll ante up another wager for the second hand, and then receive a card for the first with options to stand or hit. The same continues for the second hand. Some casinos allow for splitting if another of the same card is dealt again. With so many cards valued at 10, odds for a blackjack is high. And with nines and eights also in the shoe, players have a great chance of drawing two winning hands here instead of one. Like doubling down, these types of hands increase profits in the long run and can help turn a losing night into a winner.
Splitting 10s — Are you crazy? You’ve hit that great hand of 20, and then want to break it into two separate hands and two separate bets? All this move does is turn a usual winner into possibly two losers. And yet people still make this mistake all the time at the tables. Invariably, the (un)lucky gambler will draw two inferior hands or bust after splitting and the dealer will draw to an 18 or 19. Don’t pass up opportunities to book a win. Take the money and run.
Taking insurance — Insurance is an option for players when the dealer is showing an ace. A player can usually bet half his bet as “insurance” against the dealer having a blackjack. The bet pays 2 to 1, so even if the dealer does indeed have 21, the player ends up at break-even. However, a player who has blackjack and takes insurance will only get paid even money for his if the dealer doesn’t have it. With a blackjack paying 3 to 2 (or 6 to 5 nowadays at many Vegas Strip casinos), ponying up for insurance is a loser in the long run and should be avoided. Insure your car, insure your house — don’t insure your blackjack hand.
Taking a stand — This one is pretty simple to remember: Never stand on a 12, 13, 14, 15 or 16 if the dealer has a 7 or higher. The odds aren’t in your favor to win this one and you will lose in the long run (see basic strategy above). Too many uneducated players are passive with these hands, scared to bust. But more often than not, you’re guaranteed a loser — with more money going to the casino.
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Don’t go cocktail crazy — A night out at the casino can be fun, but there’s a reason the drinks are free. Getting sauced can be a great way to lose more cash than you planned. Even if playing online, don’t imbibe in too many Bud Lights in the recliner.
Have a plan — Don’t gamble more than you can afford. This may sound obvious, but it’s a best blackjack tip for a reason. Have a set gambling amount and stick to it. Know when to walk away, or shut down that laptop.