Posted in Guides November 18, 2018
13 Ways on How to Win At the Blackjack Table
Most casino and table games may be a game of chance, but if you stick to a few tested rules and strategies, you can actually increase your odds and take home the winnings. This is particularly true for the classic game of blackjack, a popular game that tests your analysis, decision-making skills and your chance against luck. To help you start winning, we have collected a dozen strategies and tips which you can use as the basis for playing. Keep in mind that the following strategies have been collected and discussed with a casual casino player in mind, and not for the professional card counter.
Note: To ensure a concise and clear way of describing the strategies, a few abbreviations are used in this guide including:
S17: Dealer should stand on soft 17
DAS: A double-down after a pair splitting is permitted
H17: Dealer should hit on soft 17
NDAS: A double-down after a pair splitting is not permitted
Split Aces and Pair of 8s
Many players will not split their cards if they have a pair of 8s and Aces, especially if the upcard of the dealer is an Ace, a 9 or 10. For many, this approach will not work, and will only give them costly losses. What is more important to learn here is that you can actually increase your odds by having two hands, with each one starting at 8, instead of simply playing just one hand with a value of 16. It works because the Aces will bring in gains on your part, and the 8s will allow you to limit your losses or even earn more money. Now, if a surrender is offered in a multi-deck game featuring an H17, or a double-deck blackjack with NDAS and an H17, your best approach is to surrender your pair of 8s.
Don’t Split a Pair of 10s or 5s
A pair of 5s is equal to a hard 10, and you are better off sticking with these cards. Splitting 10s may give you a slight hope of winning, but if you can keep both cards for a value of 20, you can still increase your chances.
Make it a Point to Double Down on a Hard 11
Experienced players will always double down when faced with a hard 11, except in one case. If you are participating in a multi-deck game where the table rules state that dealer must stand on soft 17, then your are chance of winning is better if you hit against the dealer Ace instead of attempting to double down.
When Faced with a Dealer’s 2 or 3 Upcard, the Best Approach is to Hit a Hard 12
Instead of simply standing, it’s better to risk it by hitting a hard 12. There is a basis for the fear and indecision of players because of losing money, but you can lose less if you decide to hit.
When Faced with a Dealer’s Upcard of Ace, 9 or 10, the Best Approach is to Hit Ace-7 (Soft 18)
It’s understable to be cautious in a game of blackjack, like holding and standing on a soft 18. If the dealer’s upcard is an Ace, a 9 or 10, the pressure is definitely on, and an 18 may seem like a safe bet. Keep in mind that if you hold an Ace-7 against an upcard of Ace, 9 or 10, you are actually on a ‘losing end’, but you can lessen your losses if you hit using that card combination. The reason for this is that if you manage to draw a small card, like 2,3 or an Ace, you can boost the hand beyond 18, and if you managed to get 10s, the hand will not be affected. In short, it’s best to hit with an Ace-7 if the upcard is an Ace, 9 or 10. but if you are playing in a single-deck blackjack featuring an S17, you can do better if you stand on an Ace-7 if the dealer’s upcard is Ace.
Check the Following Suggestions if the Game Rules Specify that the Dealer Will Hit on a Soft 17
With a hard 11, double down on a dealer’s Ace, do the same for a soft 19 and Ace-7 against a 2 from the dealer. If you are a participant in an H17 game, the steps and strategies above can be used versus a similar game with following the rules of S17.
Double Down on a 10 if the Upcard is 9 or Less
You have a better chance of winning if you have a two-card 10 working against a dealer upcard of 9 or less. Since you have the edge here, you may want to double down.
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Double Down Ace-2 Through Ace-7 if Faced with an Upcard of 5 or 6
This is the best strategy that you can adopt when playing blackjack. Always make it a point to double down on an Ace-2 to Ace-7 if you noticed that the upcard is a 5 or 6. Keep in mind that the range of upcards where you should double down may range, depending on the playing rules or the number of decks used. But as a general rule, you should always double down if you face this scenario.
Stand if you Get a Pair of 9s and Upcard is 7
The common practice for many players is to split two 9s when faced with an upcard of 9 or less. The mistakes start to show if they realized that the upcard is 7. If you are in this scenario, you are better off to stand. The idea behind this is that there’s a big chance that the dealer will have a 10 in the hole since there are more 10s than other ranks. This means if the upcard is 7, he is more likely to get 17, which is definitely lower than your 18. With this hypothetical scenario, you are in a better position if you will stand.
Surrender a Hard 15 When Playing an Upcard of 10; Surrender a Hard 16 When Playing an Upcard of Ace, 9 or 10
If you have a hard 15 or 16, then consider yourself in a critical situation, especially if the upcard is an Ace, 9 or 10. While this is generally considered a losing position, keep in mind that you can temper your losses if you will surrender the hands given the following upcards.
Double Down on 8 When Playing an Upcard of 5 or 6
This strategy is particularly helpful when you are playing in a single-deck blackjack game. To double down on an 8 when the dealer’s upcard is a 5 or 6 is your best in a single-deck card, but this strategy is not recommended if playing in multi-deck games.
Reminder: This strategy works with a pair of 4s and if the rules call for DAS, always split the 4s.
Stand on Hard 16 (Multi-card) When Playing with an Upcard of 10
The traditional strategy here is to hit when the upcard is 10, given that a surrender is not available. This strategy works but you can still increase your odds by considering if your 16 is a multi-card 16. If yes, like a 4-5-7, then your best move to take is to stand if faced with an upcard of 10.
Don’t Play the Insurance Bet
It’s never recommended to take the insurance bet especially if the upcard on the table is an Ace. Even if you are presented with a good hand, say a 19 or 20, experienced players do not recommend taking this bet. This is considered a sucker bet that pays 2 to 1 which is less than the odds that the dealer of the game will take in a blackjack.
Additional tip: Some dealers may give you ‘even money’ if you managed to collect a blackjack and they have an Ace as upcard, which works like an insurance bet. If you get a blackjack, you may be tempted to get the money even before the dealers take a look at the down card. As a rule, don’t fall into the offer since you can earn more on the table if you will decline the offer!
Care for more reading? Hit over to the Complete Guide to Playing and Winning at Blackjack!