You’ve finally decided to stop throwing your money away at the blackjack tables and asked yourself the question: How to win at Blackjack? Whether you’re looking to win some extra cash on your next trip to the casinos whether online or in person, or grind it out for bigger profits over time, you’ve come to the right place. This guide is going to teach you everything you need to know to gain an edge over the house and walk away with their money in your pocket. Forget everything you think you know about blackjack strategy so far – we’re going to start from scratch and build up your skills the right way. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll know the perfect way to play every possible hand, how to find the most profitable games, and the insider tricks the casinos don’t want you to know. Stick with us, follow the advice exactly as laid out, and you’ll be well on your way to blackjack mastery and consistent profits. Let’s get started!
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How to Play Blackjack: The Fundamentals
So you want to beat the house at blackjack? First, you’ll need to know how the game actually works. Blackjack is a card game played with a standard 52-card deck. The goal is to get a hand as close to 21 as possible without going over. Most online casinos use between 6 to 8 decks (To minimize the advantage of card counting therefore maximizing the house edge). It is important to sit at a live dealer tables when playing online where you can physically see the decks. Now you can see when the decks get shuffled and confirm the amount of decks used.
The dealer deals two cards to each player, including themselves. The dealer’s first card is dealt face up, the second face down. Your two cards are dealt face up. You need to make a decision based on your hand and the dealer’s showing card.
- Hit: Take another card. Keep hitting until you reach 21 or bust (go over 21).
- Stand: Stop taking cards. Stand with your current hand.
- Double down: Double your bet and take exactly one more card.
- Split: If you have two of the same card (like two 8’s), split them into two hands by matching your original bet.
- Surrender: Forfeit half your bet and sit out the rest of the hand. (This is less often an option playing at an online casino)
A hand of 21 with two cards (ace and a 10-value card) is blackjack. It pays 3:2, meaning if you bet $10, you win $15. Other winning hands pay even money. The dealer must hit until they reach at least 17. Go over 21, and you bust – the house wins. Most casinos also provide sidebets and bonuses that could pay out up to thousands of times the bet, however if you are playing for long run and grinding for your profit, you should always avoid placing bets on them.
With the fundamentals down, you’re ready to put in the practice required to become a consistent winner. Know when to split, double down and surrender. Learn proper basic strategy, how to count cards, and money management. The house has a slight edge, but by mastering the game, you can overcome it and gain the advantage.
Blackjack has specific terminology and jargon that is important but pretty easy to understand. We’ve compiled the most used terms here so you can learn them before going to show your magic on the tables.
- Blackjack – A card game where you must beat the dealers hand without scoring over 21
- Bust – If your hand scores over 21, you lose, or bust. The dealer wins regardless of their hand
- Doubling – You can place an additional bet equal to your original, and you receive 1 extra card. Doubling can be used on your first two cards, the players has to stand after doubling.
- Hard Hand – When your hand doesn’t have an Ace. a 7 and 10 is called hard 17
- Hit – When you want another card to better your current hand
- Insurance – If the dealer is showing A, you can insurance the hand by placing a side bet worth half your original bet. If the dealer gets a Blackjack, you will be paid 2 to 1. But if the dealer doesn’t, you lose your insurance bet. We recommend you not to ever use insurance, since it’s a losing bet
- Push – You can Push when ending up with a same score than the dealer (for example player and dealer has both 18). Player keeps his bet
- Soft Hand – If your hand contains an A, it can be counted as 11
- Split – Splitting one hand to create two new hands. For example Splitting 8s, instead of Hard 16, you now have two hands with 8 and upcoming new cards
- Stand – When you stick with your current hand, this becomes the final value of your hand
- Surrender – You can fold your hand before you see what dealer gets. You will get half of your initial bet back. Surrendering 16 against dealers 9, 10 or A and surrendering 15 against dealers 10 is recommended.
- Reshuffle – In a game using decks 6 to 8, cards are usually reshuffled when 40% – 60% cards have been used.
The #1 Key to Blackjack Success: Bankroll Management
To consistently win at blackjack (or any gambling frankly), the most important thing is managing your bankroll properly. Your bankroll is the amount of money you have set aside specifically for gambling. Without effective bankroll management, the house edge will eventually deplete your funds, no matter your skill level.
Set a budget and stick to it
First, determine how much money you can afford to lose, and set that as your initial bankroll. Only gamble what you’ve budgeted – nothing more. As you play, keep records of your wins and losses to make sure you stay within budget. If at any time you lose your bankroll, stop playing for the day. Discipline is key. Remember to always set your goals when taking profits and stop loss limits. One of the most important things in gambling is knowing when to stop. And it goes both ways.
Never make bets that exceed 5% of your bankroll. For example, if your bankroll is $1000, bet no more than $50 per hand. This minimizes the risk of losing a large portion of your funds on a single bet. Also, increase your bets slightly only after winning, and decrease them after losses. This method of “betting progression” helps you ride winning streaks and limits losses during downturns. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 100 betting units when starting a session. This means if your betting unit is $10 a hand, you should have a bankroll of $1000
Know when to walk away
If you lose half of your initial bankroll, walk away from the table before you lose the rest. As a inexperienced player, staying when you’re running bad often leads to tilting and poor decision making in an attempt to win it back quickly. Take a break and come back another time with a clear head and replenished funds. Conversely, if you double your initial bankroll, feel free to keep playing with your winnings or pocket it and start over with your original budget. Discipline and patience are virtues in blackjack.
By managing your money and emotions properly, you greatly increase your chances of overcoming the house edge in the long run. Stay within budget, bet smart, and know when to call it a day. Follow these keys to success, and you’ll be well on your way to become a better player at blackjack.
Basic Blackjack Strategy: Why You Need to Know Blackjack Charts
To consistently win at blackjack, you need to master basic strategy. Why? Because it tells you the statistically best way to play each hand. When you make the right plays over time, the house edge evaporates and the odds shift in your favor.
First, you’ll need to memorize blackjack strategy charts that map out the optimal moves for each possible hand against each dealer upcard. (Don’t worry you can use the downloadable infographics and chart created by tipsfortoday.co until it sticks.) Study them until you know them by heart. This includes:
- Hard hands (without an ace) like 8 – 6. For these, the chart says whether to hit, stand, double down or split.
- Soft hands (with an ace) like A – 7. Since the ace can be 1 or 11, the strategy is different. Often you’ll hit or double soft hands.
- Pairs like 8 – 8. The chart tells you whether to split, hit or stand for each pair. Splitting eights, for example, is almost always the right move.
Why follow the chart? Because over thousands of hands, making the statistically optimal choice each time results in the highest payout. Even small strategy mistakes give the house an edge.
So study the chart, then practice at home or find an online tool or free blackjack simulator so you get maximum amount of reps. Deal out some hands and make the right choice for each. Start at a low limit table, use your strategy, and watch your winnings grow over time. Once you’ve mastered the chart, you’ll have a real edge and be well on your way of being profitable blackjack player
The key is patience and discipline. Stick to basic strategy, don’t get greedy, manage your money, and the odds will be in your favor. Before you know it, you’ll be a consistent winner!
Blackjack basic strategy
Here’s the basic rules you should always follow. Try to digest and memorize these and you’ll find yourself winning more at blackjack. We’ve provided the chart for visual learners, and for those who like to keep it open on a separate screen.
- Always split A’s
- Never split 10’s
- Pair of 9’s splits against dealer 2 – 9 except for 7, otherwise stand
- Always split 8’s
- A pair of 7’s splits against dealer 2 – 7, otherwise hit
- A pair of 6’s splits against dealer 2 – 6, otherwise hit
- A pair of 5’s doubles against dealer 2 – 9, otherwise hit
- A pair of 4’s splits against dealer 5 – 6, otherwise hit
- A pair of 3’s split against dealer 2 – 7, otherwise hit
- A pair of 2’s splits against dealer 2 – 7, otherwise hit
- Soft 20 (A,9) always stand
- Soft 19 (A,8) doubles against dealer 6, otherwise stand
- Soft 18 (A,7) doubles against dealer 2 – 6, hits against 9 – A, otherwise stand
- Soft 17 (A,6) doubles against dealer 3 – 6, otherwise hit
- Soft 16 (A,5) doubles against dealer 4 – 6, otherwise hit.
- Soft 15 (A,4) doubles against dealer 4 – 6, otherwise hit.
- Soft 14 (A,3) doubles against dealer 5 – 6, otherwise hit.
- Soft 13 (A,2) doubles against dealer 5 – 6, otherwise hit.
- 17+ always stands.
- 16 stands against dealer 2 – 6, otherwise hit.
- 15 stands against dealer 2 – 6, otherwise hit.
- 14 stands against dealer 2 – 6, otherwise hit.
- 13 stands against dealer 2 – 6, otherwise hit.
- 12 stands against dealer 4 – 6, otherwise hit.
- 11 always doubles.
- 10 doubles against dealer 2 – 9 otherwise hit.
- 9 doubles against dealer 3 – 6 otherwise hit.
- 8 always hits.
- 16 surrenders against dealer 9 – A, otherwise don’t surrender
- 15 surrenders against dealer 10, otherwise don’t surrender
Memorizing these by heart, helps you to improve your play and help you win hands at blackjack. Common beginner mistakes include standing on a hard hands between 12-16 when dealer has a 10. Some players for example hesitate to hit at 16 when dealer shows a 10, and end up losing the hand most of the time. The goal is to improve your odds winning hands and stick to the game plan. Players usually fall into this the ultra-conservative ‘never bust’ approach, where the player sticks on any hand that could go bust on the next card (i.e., any hand of 12 and over). Since the dealer must draw until they reach 16, this approach will certainly pay off some of the time. A second popular strategy is ‘mimic the dealer’ where gamblers sit on 17 or more but draw to 16 or less. The psychology here is that if it’s good for the dealer it must be good for the gambler. Keep in mind, the goal is to gain edge and unlearn all the bad habits you might have – trust the numbers – they don’t lie!
We’ve provided you the visual help to play better. If you are a beginner or still need some confirmation what to do in a certain position, feel free to open this chart on a second monitor.
Blackjack Card Counting: How to count cards?
is card counting illegal?
Card counting, made infamous by movies like Rain Man and 21, is a blackjack strategy used by profitable players to gain an advantage over the house. The idea is that by tracking which cards have been dealt, you can determine which cards are left in the deck and bet more when the deck is rich in tens and aces. While casinos actively try to thwart counters, the strategy does work — if you do it right. A common misconception is that card counting is somehow illegal. This is just false. Counting cards is nothing but using your brainpower, although casinos might want you not to do so.
Card Counting: Assigning Values to Every Card
The key is using a proven card counting system, like the Hi-Lo method. Each card is assigned a value: +1 for 2 – 6, 0 for 7 – 9, -1 for 10 – A. As cards are dealt, you keep a running count, adding and subtracting card values. A higher count means more high cards left, so you bet more. A lower count means more low cards left, so you bet less.
Seems easy enough, right? There are a few catches. First, you have to be extremely proficient at adding and subtracting quickly in your head while playing. Second, you have to bet in the proper correlation to the count — and this takes practice. If the true count is +8, you need to bet substantially more to gain an edge. You can google for card counting simulators or download an app for your iPhone to hone your skills on card counting until you feel comfortable with higher pace and make no mistakes on your count. It might take little effort for a casual player to get used to it but practice makes perfect.
Some tips for novice counters:
- Start with a simple system like Hi-Lo and memorize the card values. Practice on a simulator or with flashcards until second nature.
- Bet in proportion to the true count. At +3, bet 2 units. At +6, bet 4 units. At +9, bet 6 units. This correlation is key.
- Take breaks to avoid fatigue and reset your mind. Even pros can only count effectively for periods of time before mental fatigue sets in.
With practice and persistence, card counting can give you the edge over the house. But it does take work. For most casual players, it may not be worth the time and effort required to become proficient. But for those looking to seriously beat the game, it remains the best strategy out there.
Card Counting: Calculate the True Count or Count Per Deck
In order to casinos retain their edge over the player, naturally multiple decks are used. To utilize our running count effectively in a game with multiple decks, we need to convert our information into a “True Count,” which represents the count per deck. Let’s go through each step of this process.
When we have a +5 running count and there are still 6 decks left, it’s a different situation compared to having the same +5 running count with only 1 deck remaining. In the first case, there is less than one additional high card per deck remaining, so the player does not yet have the advantage. It’s not just the number of extra high cards that matters to a card counter; it’s also the proportion of high cards compared to low cards.
Now, if you had a running count of 5 with only 1 deck remaining, we can infer that there are 5 extra 10s and Aces among the remaining 52 cards. This situation gives the player an edge! This is precisely why the “True Count” holds significant value.
True count formula is simply the Running Count (+5) (5 / 6) divided by the decks remaining (6)
- If your Running count is 8 and we have 4 decks remaining, our True Count is 2. (10 / 5)
- If your Running Count is -9 and we have 3 decks remaining, our True Count is -3. (-9 / 3)
How to Spot the Best Blackjack Games
To consistently win at blackjack, you need to find the best games. Not all blackjack tables are created equal, so scout the casino floor to spot the most player-friendly rules and conditions.
The fewer decks in play, the better your odds. Single or double deck blackjack is ideal, as your chances of getting blackjacks and winning hands are higher. More decks mean the house edge increases, so avoid tables with 6+ decks.
Dealer stands on soft 17
If the dealer has to stand on soft 17 (an ace and 6), your chances of winning are greater. If the dealer hits soft 17, they have a better chance of improving their hand and beating you.
Being able to surrender a hand, forfeiting half your bet and keeping the other half, is a player-friendly rule. You can surrender hands you know are losers, like a 16 against a dealer ace, limiting losses. Not all tables offer surrender, so prefer one that does.
Double down after splits
If you split a hand and want to double down on one or both hands, make sure the table allows it. Doubling down after splits gives you a chance to increase your winnings, while not being allowed to double down reduces your odds.
Some tables only allow you to split aces once, while others let you re-split them if you get another ace. Being able to split aces multiple times is preferable, as it gives you more chances to make winning hands.
Smaller minimum bets
Tables with $5 or $10 minimum bets give recreational players more flexibility to make strategic moves like splitting or doubling down without worrying as much about the cost. Higher minimums mean each bet and decision carries more risk.
Spotting the most favorable rules and conditions is key to overcoming the house edge at blackjack. Seek out the best games on the floor and avoid the rest — your bankroll will thank you for it! Focusing on the details can make a big difference in becoming a consistent winner.
The Top 10 Tips and Tricks for Beating the House
To consistently beat the house at blackjack and turn a profit, you need to master a few key tips and tricks.
1. Know when to split pairs
When you’re dealt a pair of 8s and As always split them. These pairs give you the best chance of winning one or both hands. Never split 5s or 10s since two fives give you a good chance at getting a ten for 15, and faces are already strong hands.
2. Double down on 11
If you’re dealt an 11, always double your bet. This is the best chance you have of getting a high hand. Doubling down means you double your bet in exchange for receiving only one more card. You’re hoping that card is a 10 for a 21.
3. Stand on 17 or higher
Once you have 17 points or more in your hand, stand. The odds of the dealer busting are high, so you want to stand and let the dealer draw cards until they bust. The exception is if you have a soft 17, meaning an ace and 6, in which case you should hit.
4. Know when to hit or stand
Use basic strategy charts to determine when to hit, stand, double down or split based on your hand and the dealer’s upcard. These charts outline the mathematically correct play that will give you the best odds of winning. Study them and memorize them before hitting the tables.
5. ALWAYS HIT A HARD 12 AGAINST 2 OR 3
Common mistake is being afraid of busting a 12 against dealers 2 or 3. In the long run you will lose money whether you stand or hit, however you lose less by hitting even with the risk of busting from time to time.
6. always hit soft 18 when dealer’s upcard is a, 10 or 9
When dealer showing a strong upcard, it’s common for beginner players to think 18 is a sure win and they end up standing. However this situation is similar to one before – you being the underdog whether you hit or stand. Therefore the best option is to hit hoping for a small card like A, 2 or 3.
7. never take the insurance
This might be tempting for a recreational player (the dealer always get’s the blackjack but not me right?). But the payoff of the insurance bet being 2 to 1 means it’s less than the odds that the dealer will draw a blackjack, making it a losing bet. Even if you have strong hand, don’t make the insurance bet.
8. find the best table
You should find a table with best table rules you can. Most importantly the Dealer to stand on soft 17, playing low deck tables and the possibility to surrender.
9. understand the house edge
Understanding the the difference between the edge of 2% and 0.5%. For every $100 you bet in blackjack you’ll lose $2 and naturally with 0.5% the equivalent is 50 cents. You can find the house edge calculators online where you input the table rules and you get the percentage the house wins. This helps you to play tables have smaller house edge.
10. importance of card counting and true count
When effectively counting cards, you raise your bets as the true count rises. You want to bet bigger when the cards favor the player, and bet small when the count is negative or neutral. Understanding and capitalizing the true count is what separates the profitable players from losers.
Mastering these ten tips will put you well on your way to overcoming the house edge and gaining the upper hand at the blackjack tables. Study hard, practice a lot, and watch those profits start rolling in!
FAQs: What Is the Trick to Winning at Blackjack?
So, what’s the trick to winning consistently at blackjack? The truth is, there’s no one secret or gimmick that will guarantee you profits every time you sit down at the table. However, by following some tried-and-true strategies, making smart bets, and avoiding common mistakes, you can improve your odds and win more often.
Have a Game Plan
The first key to success is going in with a solid strategy for how you’ll play each hand. The basic options are hitting, standing, splitting, doubling down, and surrendering. Know the optimal choices for each card combination based on the odds. If you’re not sure, you can use our helpful strategy charts that will guide your decisions. Stick to the plan — don’t make impulse plays!
As a beginner remember and internalize these scenarios by heart!
- Hit (or double 10 against dealers 2 – 9 and double 9 against dealers 3 – 6) when your hand totals 11 or less.
- Stand on 17 or more.
- Stand Soft 20 and 19
- Split aces and 8s.
- Always double 11
Make Smart Bets
Only make bets when the odds are in your favor. This means avoiding side bets and fancy options with a higher house edge. Stick to the standard game and bet behind players who make solid strategic decisions. Also, know when to increase your bets (high true count) and when to bet small (negative or neutral true count). Have a fixed budget and walk away if you go over it.
Avoid Rookie Mistakes
Some common errors will doom you to losses. Never take insurance, as the odds always favor the house. Don’t split 10s or 5s. Don’t double down if the dealer has an ace (except with a high true count and hard 11). And never, ever, draw to a hard 17 or higher in the hopes of getting an ace — the odds of busting are just too great. Discipline and patience are key.
By learning basic strategy, making smart bets based on the odds, and avoiding greedy impulse plays, you can gain an advantage at the blackjack tables. Stay focused, follow your plan, and with a bit of luck, you’ll be well on your way to blackjack mastery in no time. The real trick is using your head, not chasing gimmicks. If you play smart, the wins will come!
You now have everything you need to become a profitable blackjack player. The secrets to success are simple but not easy: learn perfect basic strategy, find the right games, manage your money wisely, and avoid tilt. If you can do all that, the odds will always be in your favor. So get out there and put in the hours of practice at the tables. Have patience through the ups and downs. Stay focused on the long game. Before you know it, you’ll be beating the house and building your own little blackjack dynasty. The keys are in your hands – now go unlock your potential as a winning blackjack player.
We’ve also provided a bigger Blackjack infographic for your assistance to become a better player! Subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top for more ultimate guides, tips, previews and predictions to become a better player!
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