Blackjack has intrigued casino enthusiasts; skilled and amateur players adore this classic casino game. It is evident when we look at the popularity of online blackjack and the crowds at blackjack tables in brick-and-mortar casinos.
Casino experts believe that the popularity of blackjack can be attributed to the fact that it has the right mix of skill, strategy, and luck.
Blackjack fans constantly scour the internet to look for a guide to blackjack strategies that might give them an edge over the casino. But it is essential to understand that finding strategies is one thing, but to implement them; one has to know how to use them.
In this article, readers will find the best blackjack strategies and the workings behind them so that they can understand and decide which is better suited to their playing style. Readers can use these at blackjack online tables or brick-and-mortar casinos and be better prepared.
Blackjack Best Strategy List
Before we list the different strategies that can be used while playing blackjack, it is crucial to understand that strategy alone is insufficient. It means that one can have the best blackjack strategy in the world, but at the end of the day, it all boils down to the cards in your hand. Hence, players must understand that blackjack strategies are more like a guide for people to increase their chances of winning than to guarantee wins.
Here is a list of 12 of the best blackjack strategies:
- Blackjack Basic Strategy
- Card Counting
- Hi-Lo Count
- Wong Halves Count
- Shuffle Tracking
- Ace Sequencing
- Dealer Tells
- Side Bets
- Insurance Bets
- Splitting Pairs
- Double Down
Hundreds of guides exist on blackjack basic strategy. People tend to get confused and lose more than they anticipate. Here, the first thing that any kind of blackjack player must do is read up on the blackjack rules. It may feel redundant at first, but it can provide players with a better understanding of the game so they make fewer mistakes.
When players feel they have a good understanding of the blackjack rules, they can then look up the basic strategy charts. These charts provide players with pointers for when they should use the hit, stand, double down, or split strategy. Players decide which one to go for depending on their card values.
For example, if the dealer has a 7 and you have a 14, the chart can help you decide if you should hit, stand, split, or double down. These charts are perfect for players new to blackjack and will help you better understand the game’s mechanics.
These blackjack strategy charts have some significance, as most advanced strategies are based on these principles. But making it a be-all and end-all strategy can be disadvantageous in the long run.
Card counting is more of a trick than a strategy, much different from the blackjack basic strategy. It allows players to predict the remaining cards in the deck based on the value of the cards already dealt. Card counting is a practical strategy available to blackjack players, and it is a great addition to their repertoire.
Many players are often scared of card counting, as there is a common misconception that card counting can be difficult. If done correctly, card counting is simple and can help you win big in blackjack. Players assign specific values to the cards dealt based in high and low value cards. You will add up these values to predict the value of the cards that are yet to be dealt.
Card counting is prominent amongst professional blackjack players, as it has served them for long. For new casino enthusiasts, card counting would be a little difficult to comprehend but it might help them have a feel when tried.
There are different card-counting methods, some of which have been listed further in the article. We suggest players look past the initial difficulty of card counting and sincerely try it.
The Hi-Lo count system, invented by mathematician Harvey Dubner, grew in popularity during the late 1970s and has been a blackjack basic strategy ever since. It is mainly a card-counting system, but the card-counting part has been simplified. The cards from 2 to 6 get a plus one value; seven, eight, and nine get zero, and the rest are given a negative one value.
The Hi-Lo count system requires a lot of discipline and focus from the players. Players need to start the counting process from the beginning of the game. Once the game begins, the player must add and subtract numbers based on the set values.
If the count is positive, means there are more higher value cards remaining in the deck. The player can bet high if they think higher value cards can bring them close to 21. On the contrary, if the count is negative, means more lower valued cards in the deck, the casino might be at an advantage. The player must be careful not to commit any extra funds if they already have lower valued cards in their hand.
With the help of the Hi-Lo count system, both new and experienced players can maximise their winning at blackjack games. The one disadvantage of this counting technique is that many players mess up the counting system. Hence, you should only try this strategy if you are confident about your counting skills.
Wong Halves Count
The Wong Halves count strategy is a more advanced blackjack strategy that involves card counting. Developed by veteran blackjack player John Ferguson, this type of card counting is for professional players. Although, if new players get used to the Wong Halves count system, it can surely give them an edge over the house.
The Wong Halves count is based on the principles of standard card counting, but it is difficult because it uses fractional numbers for specific cards. Fraction-based mental addition and subtraction can be complex, and doing it in a casino setting is even more challenging. But based on empirical data, the Wong Halves strategy is much more accurate for card prediction.
This system assigns the negative one to the ten, ace, and all other face cards. Two and seven are given one and a half points; three, four, and six are assigned one unit positive value; five is counted as one and a half; eight and nine are counted as zero and negative one and a half, respectively.
It is evident how difficult it can be to get used to this cryptic system, but it is also important to point out that this system is quite accurate and definitely gives you an edge over the house.
Shuffle tracking is another advanced blackjack strategy that differs significantly from the commonly used card counting methods.
Shuffle tracking mainly deals with the discarded pile of cards. Players can observe the discarded pile and when the cards are shuffled back into the game. Observant players can use this strategy to predict the cards when these are revealed.
Shuffle Tracking is mainly used by players observing the blackjack table. Essentially, they keep track of the higher-value cards and when they are discarded.
The players will place their bets when the dealer shuffles back the discarded pile. Shuffle tracking can be more accurately used at tables where the dealer is shuffling the cards. Tables with shuffle machines are unsuitable for this type of strategy.
Another critical aspect of Shuffle Tracking is that it is mostly done at tables with six or eight-deck blackjack games. Casino experts believe that shuffle tracking is a strategy that must be used sparingly, as it has not been very accurate in the long run.
Ace sequencing is an advanced version of shuffle tracking, and most casino experts believe this is more accurate than general shuffle tracking. Often used by professional blackjack players, this advanced blackjack strategy mainly revolves around discarded aces.
In theory, most cards do not generally change position during the card shuffling process. It means that if a player has specific markers, they can predict the cards before and after the marker. In Ace Sequencing, the ace cards act as markers.
For example, if an ace card is followed by seven, five, and ten, the player can mentally note this sequence. When the discard pile is shuffled back into the game, the player can wait for the ace card and predict that the next cards can be seven, five, or ten. Similarly, if the player sees that the cards seven, five, and ten are drawn, there is a big chance that the next card will be an ace.
This can be vital information during the blackjack game, and if a player can even get one of these predictions right, it can result in massive winnings. Advanced players can get more than a few Ace Sequencing predictions correct, and even newbie players can try it out.
Casino games like blackjack, poker, and baccarat have a specific psychological angle, meaning players must also battle it out with the other players psychologically. In blackjack games, players are generally playing against the house represented by the Dealer. Hence, it is always advantageous if players can read the dealers’ mannerisms, which might give them an edge over the house.
Reading dealer tells is considered a legitimate blackjack strategy in the gambling industry. Although it requires a lot of practice, the player must know what they are looking for. Many professional players often use the Dealer Tells strategy, and some even swear by it.
It can be difficult for new players to master, as professional dealers are often trained to maintain a poker face when dealing the cards.
Still, there are some telltale signs that, if appropriately noticed, can help you better predict the dealer’s cards. For example, the most commonly visible ‘Dealer Tells’ is when a dealer looks at their cards.
Experts suggest that if a dealer has a ten, they are most likely to look at their card quickly, as 10 is the only two-digit number. Two, five, four, ace and seven cards are visually similar, so the dealer might look longer at these cards. Face cards are the easiest to spot, so a dealer might need a glance to recognise them. Players who are good at spotting body language can use these cues to gain an advantage while playing blackjack.
Side bets are an exciting addition to the usual blackjack game. Here, players can bet on the main game and make additional wagers. It is often considered the blackjack best strategy for people who want to add excitement to their sessions. There are several different types of side bets, like:
21+3: This is the most popular side bet involving the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s face-up card. Here, players aim to make a poker-styled flush, three-of-a-kind, straight flush, or suited three-of-a-kind to win this bet.
- Perfect Pairs: This type of side bet involves the first two cards of the player or the dealer. If the cards make a mixed, colour, or perfect pair., the player wins this side bet.
- Bust It: This popular side bet is paid if the dealer busts their first hand, i.e., goes over 21. The player has to make this side bet before the start of the hand.
These ane many other popular side bets add a unique flavour to the blackjack game and give the players a chance to win big, even if they lose out on the main bet.
An insurance bet is a specific side bet activated only when the dealer’s face-up card is an ace. In most cases, when the dealer’s face-up card is an ace, there is a good chance that the dealer will have a blackjack since there are many point 10 cards in the deck.
Many online casinos offer players insurance bets so that they can make an additional side bet on the dealer hitting blackjack. By doing this, the player can breakeven on their main bet and lose no money.
Insurance bets are tempting for many players, but many experts suggest that players avoid this blackjack strategy. Insurance bets can make you lose even more money. In terms of probability, there is a 30.8% chance of the dealer hitting blackjack after an initial ace, which is less than one-third. Additionally, insurance bets have a low payout rate of 2:1, which does not recommend their usage frequently.
The name of Insurance Bet might trick players into thinking this kind of bet can help mitigate their losses, but that is not the case. Although there might be some special situations where an insurance bet is beneficial, players should still be careful with this betting strategy.
Splitting Pairs is another unique situation where players can split their hands if they are dealt a pair of similar cards. Both hands can now act as individual hands and are played like ordinary hands. Splitting pairs can be one of the blackjack best strategy for new players if they follow some general rules.
- Never Split Tens: It is common knowledge to never split tens as a double ten is an almost perfect hand, and the dealer must have an insanely lucky hand to beat a double-ten hand. Many professional players tend to split tens, and this is because they are good at card counting and have a better idea of upcoming cards.
- Splitting 9’s: Double nine hands should always be split except when the dealer has a seven. It is because the seven, coupled with a hole ten, will beat the double nine.
- Splitting 7’s and 6’s: Many experts believe 7 and 6 cards are the worst kind of cards that should be split since 7 and 6 are very prone to get busted.
- Don’t Split 5’s: Just like double 10’s, double 5’s should not be split, as players have a great chance of making it closer to the blackjack value of 21.
Splitting pairs can be a great way to maximise the winning chances, but only if done for the right pairs.
Doubling down in blackjack is when a player doubles their initial bet in the middle of the game to get one more card. It can be a risky blackjack strategy, as players are only dealt a single card after doubling down. If this card turns out to be low-value, then the player will lose double the original bet.
The concept of doubling down is easy to understand; and you need to understand it well to know when you should or shouldn’t use the doubling down strategy.
- When you get 11: Doubling down on an eleven is often considered the best option, as players have a great chance of hitting blackjack from 11.
- On a soft 16, 17, 18: If a player has an ace and 6, 7, or 8 cards, then it is considered advantageous to double down, especially if the dealer is showing a lower card.
- On a hard 9 or 10: A hard 9 or 10 is also an excellent opportunity to double down, considering the dealer shows a low-value card.
A player should never double down if the dealer is showing an ace or if the player has anything above 11.
Surrender in blackjack is not a money-maximising strategy, but players use it to cut their losses. Many amateur players believe that the surrender strategy is useless, and they lose money in the process. But ask any experienced player who understands blackjack, and they will tell you the importance of surrender.
Blackjack offers two kinds of surrender options:
Early Surrender: This surrender option is available at fewer casinos and allows players to quit early in the game before the dealer can see the hole card. It can be very advantageous for players when it is evident that the dealer’s face-up card is much better than their two dealt cards in the players’ hands.
Late Surrender: Late Surrender is a much more traditional blackjack strategy where players can surrender after the dealer gets to look at the hole card. Late surrender can be a great way to reduce losses and effectively lower the overall house edge. Players only give up half the bet amount on hands the casino was destined to win.
5 Ways To Win At Blackjack
Now that we have discussed the different strategies players can use while playing blackjack, here are some tips to help players win. Blackjack experts have developed these tips and they have stood the test of time effectively.
How to win at blackjack: 5 expert tips
- The first thing that blackjack players must do is to manage their bankroll. A casino setting is very inviting for players, and if one is not careful with their bankroll, they can lose more than they anticipate.
- Blackjack is intuitive, and all good players learn the strategies well to make better decisions. During an active blackjack game, players have to make multiple decisions, so it is essential to know the correct time to hit, stay, or double down.
- Blackjack games should never be played to make money. Many casinos offer loan options to players to lure them into playing more. Having a preset bankroll prevents players from making any impulsive decisions.
- Blackjack, like all casino games, has an inherent odds system, and players must understand the blackjack odds and overall RTP of the game to play it well. It will help players better strategise and make accurate bets while playing.
- Blackjack is mostly played against other players and dealers, so people must practise good table etiquette and manners when playing. Although this will not help you win, it will improve your playing experience.
Tips For Blackjack From Our Expert Team
At Gamblorium, we strive to improve the gambling experience of our readers in different ways with some ready tips on blackjack. Our experts are some of the most experienced real-life blackjack players so you can trust them for your game.
Here are some top tips for blackjack players from the expert team at Gamblorium:
Have a basic blackjack strategy and stick to it. The basic blackjack strategy is great for new players, and it will not only help them understand blackjack better but also get players some early wins.
Blackjack game decisions like hitting, standing, and splitting can be stressful. But the best players often stay calm during these situations and make the best choices. Players should never make decisions based on a whim but instead, put some thought into hitting or standing at a particular hand.
Splitting hands can be a great way to maximise your winnings, which is why many players get carried away with the split strategy. Our experts suggest that players must be careful while splitting certain hands. A better way is to understand the splitting concept to have a mental list of splits to avoid.
Blackjack games require a lot of focus and concentration, so our expert suggests that players avoid any kind of distraction while playing. Playing while drinking alcohol must be avoided as it can cloud a players’ judgement, leading to reckless decisions.
Blackjack Betting Strategy
Blackjack games are played in two separate phases: the card-playing phase and the betting phase. A good blackjack player must be competent in both. The card-playing part has been extensively discussed in the previous article. The betting strategy helps you get a guideline on when to increase or decrease your bets. Now let’s take a look at some popular blackjack betting strategy.
Martingale System: The Martingale betting system is essentially a negative progression betting system. It works on the principle that players can make up for small losses with an individual big win. For example, if a player starts with a $10 bet, the Martingale system calls for the player to double their bet on a loss. This progression is continued until the player wins a bet.
Winning Streak Strategy: A winning streak strategy is based on the positive progression system. Here, players are encouraged to maximise the value of a winning streak. It means that players must raise their bets after a win, and continuing this process can lead to some massive wins.
More on Surrender In Blackjack
Wish to know what is Surrender in blackjack? It is one of its most misunderstood concepts. Often, players look at the surrender option and think it has a negative connotation. Some players believe that surrendering encourages players to be less adventurous and that some early bad hands can lead to wins.
Although some early bad hands can theoretically lead to blackjack, this optimism is harmful in the long run. Blackjack is a game of probability, and it is always better to surrender a bad Hand than to play through it and lose. Furthermore, studies have proven that using surrender properly can help players cut their losses and minimise the overall house edge.