Blackjack Tips and Strategy

Blackjack is one of the casinos' most popular games. Many people are intimidated by the rules of the game and do not fully understand the methods behind trying to beat the odds with this card game. So, they shy away from playing in public or make error-prone gambles.

Many people simply match the dealers' bets --for instance, hitting on 16s, staying on 17s, and never splitting or doubling. This, in reality, will actually cause you to lose about 10 times more than if you follow a "players" strategy rather than a "dealers" strategy.

This is because you have to keep in mind that the odds are still in the house's favor.

Several methodologies and charts have been devised. One of the most common (and proven) is shown below. Don't worry... you can carry this chart with you in to most land-based casinos too (so, you don't have to memorize!).

Hit = H    Stand = S   
Double Down = D    Split = SP

 Dealer's Up CardYour Hand2345678910A17+SSSSSSSSSS16SSSSSHHHHH15SSSSSHHHHH14SSSSSHHHHH13SSSSSHHHHH12HHSSSHHHHH11DDDDDDDDDH10DDDDDDDDHH9HDDDDHHHHH5-8HHHHHHHHHHA,8-10SSSSSSSSSSA,7SDDDDSSHHHA,6HDDDDHHHHHA,5HHDDDHHHHHA,4HHDDDHHHHHA,3HHHDDHHHHHA,2HHHDDHHHHHA,A or 8,8SPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSP10,10SSSSSSSSSS9,9SPSPSPSPSPSSPSPSS7,7SPSPSPSPSPSPHHHH6,6HSPSPSPSPHHHHH5,5DDDDDDDDHH4,4HHHHHHHHHH3,3HHSPSPSPSPHHHH2,2HHSPSPSPSPHHHH

It might suprise you to know that roughly 2% more of every wager made in Blackjack is lost because of poor strategy. By simply playing error-free Blackjack by using the Blackjack Strategy Chart above, you'll cut the house's edge dramatically.

Every Blackjack player should develop their own "feel" to the game by learning and studying. If you learn to play error-free games and use strategies you feel comfortable with (your own or another), you should eventually be able to win consistently and come out a winner.

Always split Aces and 8's, no matter what the dealer's up card is.

If you have a Pat 20 (first two cards total 20), your best bet is to have the dealer showing an 8 --because if they have an Ace, 10, or 9 in the hole, you automatically win.

The odds increase dramatically if you happen to land an Ace on your first card. In that case, your odds over the house jump to 52% percent!

Many people -including pros- will tell you to never buy insurance. The funny thing is that even those pros will someone do it anyway. Why is this?

Well, buying insurance really becomes a personal preference. It's an added gamble (much like letting it ride when you're up). The difference is that in most circumstances (i.e. not having a 20 hand), the numbers are not all that great, in our opinion. Some people disagree; some people just go on pure luck.

So, in general, we say not to take insurance. However, in some cases, you might want to try your luck and increase your take. Here's a little chart of percentages/odds to help you decide:


starting hand

win

push

lose

17

11.5%

13.1%

44.6%

18

24.6%

13.1%

31.5%

19

37.7%

13.1%

18.4%

20

50.7%

13.1%

5.4%


In any case, good luck and play smart. Our recommendation is to download and play for fun to get a feel for it. Many casinos now allow unlimited free play. So, you can get your feet wet first.