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Blackjack is popular among many casual online players because it is an easy card game to learn. The object is to get as close to 21 as possible without busting on 22 or more, while still finishing on a higher total than the dealer.
Beginners need to learn the intricacies of when to hit, when to stand, when to double down and when to split. Since Blackjack is the only casino game that tilts the odds slightly in an expert player’s favour, it’s worth putting in the homework and memorising how to bet in any situation.
Some Betting Basics
Buying insurance against the dealer drawing Blackjack works in the casino’s favour in the long run, so avoid it. Instead, place the ante bet only. Both player and dealer are dealt two cards; the players’ hand is dealt face-up, but only one of the dealer’s cards is.
If the player has Blackjack, namely an A with a 10, J, Q or K, and the dealer doesn’t, the player immediately wins the hand and is paid 3:2 on the ante bet. If the dealer also has Blackjack, the bet is pushed, and the player retains their ante bet.
For all other hands, you need to know how to respond to the card the dealer is showing. If you win, the payout is 1:1.
Playing The Best Odds
Always stand on hands totalling 17 to 21, no matter what card the dealer is showing. You should generally hit, in other words ask for another card, if your total is 16 or less, but there are several exceptions. If you have 13 to 16, for example, you should hit unless the dealer is showing from 2 to 6, in which case stand.
If you have a total of 11, always double, but the dealer’s upcard will determine whether to double on other totals near 10, or any combinations involving the A. Similarly, you should always split 8s or As and never split 10s, but whether you split, hit, double or stand on any other pair depends on the dealer’s upcard.
Several online gaming sites have lists of how to bet in any situation. Practise betting until comparing your hand to the dealer’s upcard becomes second nature, if you want to be a winning Blackjack player. If this sounds too complex, you can always stick to the best pokies online games instead!
A Surefire Winning Strategy
Many players try to find the best Blackjack “system” of betting to maximise profits. Some, like Oscar’s Betting System or the 1-3-2-6 system, can provide modest returns or at worst minor losses, but extend your playing time. Others, like the Martingale, occasionally deliver massive wins but generally end up wiping out bankrolls at record speed.
The only sure-fire way to win at Blackjack is to learn to count cards. This involves adding or subtracting points in your head for every high or low card dealt from the shoe, and then using the size of the positive or negative total to determine whether a high or low card will be next out of the shoe.
It's a hard skill to master, and only works in casinos that manually reload a shoe with a set number of decks for each round of Blackjack. It’s impossible to count cards with a continuous-shuffle machine, but this method remains the only proven way to take advantage of Blackjack’s tiny bias in favour of the player.