Blackjack, also known as “21”, is a popular casino card game that has been around for a very long time.
It is a game of skill and strategy, with the aim being for players to beat the dealer by getting as close as possible to a 21-result without going over or “bust”.
Even though there is no sure-fire way to win at Blackjack every time you play, there are several strategies that can help you improve your chances.
Basic Strategy Is Magic
The first step in playing a winning Blackjack game is simple: learn basic strategy.
Basic strategy will teach you how to play every hand in the best possible way – based on the face-up card drawn by the dealer.
Basic strategy cards are freely available on the internet. Strategy cards may be used for reference whenever you are unsure as to what to do next. Most casinos allow the use of basic strategy cards but do be sure to check the table rules with your dealer first to avoid embarrassment.
Manage Your Money
Just like budgeting for other expenses, managing your bankroll is crucial when looking to win at any casino game – including Blackjack.
Proper bankroll management means setting a budget for your monthly gaming spend – and sticking to that budget, no matter how large the temptation to overspend.
Also important to remember in this regard is to avoid chasing losses.
Top money-management tips include:
- Set a budget. Decide for yourself how much money you can afford to lose, and never exceed that amount.
- Never chase losses.
- Set your winnings aside. When on a winning streak, always set a portion of your winnings aside for another day. This will help you to avoid losing everything you’ve won.
- When on a tight budget, use small bets. This will make your money (and the fun) last much longer.
- Choose the right games for your budget. This will help you to maximise your winnings.
- Don’t ever borrow money to gamble. This can lead to massive financial problems.
Know The Rules Of The Game
Knowing the rules of any game is crucial for those wanting to be successful. Before you start your Blackjack journey at Lucky Creek or at a land-based casino, be sure to familiarise yourself with the rules and finer intricacies of the game.
Focus your quest for knowledge on when to hit, stand, double down, and split. What’s more, be aware that rules may differ among casinos, such as whether the dealer stands or hits on a soft 17.
Knowing the rules is important because:
- When wanting to win at any game, it is vital to understand the objective. Knowing the objective of Blackjack helps players to understand when to hit, double down, stand, etc.
- Knowing how cards are valued. To each playing card in Blackjack, a points value is attached. Knowing what this value is, is important for making a strategically correct decision. A good example of this is an Ace card doubling up as either a 1 or 11.
- It helps to avoid common mistakes. Common mistakes can easily lead to losses and knowing the rules will help the player to avoid making them. A great example of a common mistake is taking out insurance against the dealer’s Blackjack.
- Knowing the rules will help the player to maximise their winnings.
Pay Attention To The Dealer
Always pay close attention to the dealer’s up-card. The up card will provide you with crucial information about what to do next.
For example, if the dealer’s up-card is 2-6, a bust for them is very likely. As such, you might want to avoid taking unnecessary risks by standing on a lower hand.
Some other important reasons for paying attention to the dealer include:
- It will allow you to determine the specific rules in play at the table.
- It will help you to predict the next card with greater accuracy.
- It will help you to determine whether any of your fellow players are counting cards.
- It helps to spot mistakes on the part of the dealer. Players should always keep in mind that dealers are only human, and prone to making mistakes. By paying close attention to the dealer, it is possible to spot possible errors, and use them to your advantage.
- Body language matters. By paying close attention to the dealer, a player can at times learn subtle information about the cards they are holding. This can give a player a decent sense of just how good or bad their hand happens to be.
Avoid Alcohol When Playing
It’s a well-known fact that alcohol can severely impair one’s judgement. For this reason, over-indulging at the Blackjack table will likely lead to poor decisions.
If you’re wanting to play to win, it is best to steer clear of alcohol. Below are just some of the reasons why:
- Alcohol can lead to a reduction in self-control. This can easily lead to reckless and impulsive behaviour while gambling. Reckless behaviour can include chasing losses, or even going way over budget.
- Alcohol lowers your inhibitions. Lowered inhibitions will make you more prone towards revealing personal information, or even making inappropriate comments in a social setting.
- Increased willingness to take risks. This can lead to a player placing larger or more frequent bets that are unwise.
- Alcohol blurs your focus. This will make you more likely to make mistakes or even miss important information and cues.
Take Regular Breaks
Taking regular breaks during an evening of play will help you to stay rested and focused on the game.
Whenever you begin to feel tired or even just frustrated, be sure to take a break. This is better than to keep playing and possibly making unnecessary mistakes.
Avoid Insurance Bets
While insurance can certainly seem like a good idea for the player when the dealer’s up-card is an Ace, probability suggests otherwise.
Research and countless tests have shown that insurance bets award a massive edge to the house (casino). This should always be avoided.
In fact, insurance bets aren’t a good idea over the long run. The only exception to this rule is being a phenomenal card counter.