One of players’ all-time favourite casino game is definitely classic Blackjack where players try to hit 21 with two cards and beat the house’s representative, dealer. This guide will help you to squeeze the house advantage as small as possible or even turn it around in order to maximize your chances for big wins.
This table game is based on odds and probabilities with various variables so it is extremely important to make solid decisions throughout your session unless you want to pretty much throw away your money. With the optimal Blackjack strategy you can increase your RTP up to 99,8% just by making right calls based on probabilities. All you need to do is to learn and stick to the strategy.
Best Casinos for Blackjack
How Blackjack Works
In Blackjack there is a dealer that is representing the house and which the other players are trying to beat in a race to 21. The ultimate goal is to achieve 21 with 2 first dealt cardsm which is called the Blackjack. You can score 21 by getting an ace and one card worth 10 points that can be anything between 10, J, Q, or K.
If you’re lucky enough and can hit 21 like previously explained, you’ve hit the Blackjack and will get paid 3:2. If you have bet 20 units, the Blackjack will pay you 30 units as a win and you’ll obviously keep your stake. Only exception is that if the dealer also gets 21 with 2 first cards it will be a tie.
When you don’t score a Blackjack things get more complicated and it is time to draw out the strategy chart and start thinking more about what to do next. If you or dealer don’t posses 21, then the higher hand wins. If you go over 21 you’ll be busted and you lose the hand automatically. When you’re able to beat the dealer, you’ll get your money back 1:1 i.e. double your bet.
Rules and Conditions That Affect Your Chances
Blackjack has one of the best return-to-player rates in all gaming in theory but many players are giving the house more advantage by not knowing what they are doing or by choosing shady tabels with dreadful rules. Usually the worst places to play Blackjack are the ones where is no direct competition as bars, nightclubs, small town casinos and cruise ships to mention a few. Next we’ll list the most significant rules that affect the RTP.
Dealer Must Stand
Usually there is a limit at which point the dealer cannot take any more cards based on the table rules. More than often the limit is 17 but at some places I’ve seen tables with DMS 16. There is also a difference if it is a hard or soft number, soft meaning that the hand includes an ace.
The best option is when dealer must stand on soft 17 meaning still at 16 a card needs to be taken, which increases the possibilty of getting busted. Also it means that with an ace the dealer can’t take anymore cards as usually when hitting soft you’ll get pretty much a free card on top of your hand.
There are major differences in tie rules as some places let you keep your bet everytime you match the dealers hand but there are also awful places where you can lose everything even if you hit a Blackjack and dealer manages to pull one off too. Check this rule before you start playing so that you don’t go all Full Metal Jacket mental when they rob your chips off the table after a BJ-tie.
Number of Decks
In addition, the number of card decks used at the table have some influence on the RTP %. Just by using one deck you’ll get almost 0.6 points better advantage against the house because the less cards there are, the better your possibility to score 21. Also if you’d like to count the cards and predict the outcome, then 1-deck table is absolutely the best for you.
Some BJ games and tables offer you the chance to surrender your hand after the first deal of 2 cards. This can be quite convenient in cases you end up with 15 or 16 against dealer’s 10 or ace when your odds are pretty low.
An easy rule for surrendering is to use this option when you have 16 and the dealer posses 9, 10 or A in his hand or when you got 15 and dealer has 10. If you decide to surrender, you’ll always get half of your stake back.
After receiving the deal of two first cards the player either has the Blackjack and gets paid automatically or has something else and has to act. Here is what you can do:
- Hit more cards and try to get closer to 21
- Split if you have 2 of the same cards and play with 2 hands
Basic rule is that everytime you manage to get 17 or more you should always stay no matter what the dealer has in hand. If you have less than 17 after 2 cards you can make other choices based what the opponent posses.
If you are dealt with two of the same cards for example 9+9, you have the chance to split them and start playing with 2 hands instead of one with 9 as the base card for both hands. Whether it’s wise or not depends on the dealer’s card but you can always take a look of the strategy chart and see the best option. However, there are two easy rules: split aces always and never split tens.
Doubling is one of the best chances in the game to increase your profits as you can double your bet after the first deal and see if you have advantage over the dealer. Usually it is a good choice to double with 9, 10 and 11 depending on what the house has against you.
We covered surrendering earlier and it is a smart move to use everytime you have your back against the wall if the rules allow it.
Insurance and Early Cash-Out
Players are offered an insurance every time the dealer gets an ace as their first card. To insure your hand, you’ll have to pay additional half of your stake to get covered. If the dealer gets a Blackjack you’ll lose your deposit but get to keep your stake. If there is no BJ, you’ll lose your insurance anyway and keep playing as usual with your hand.
You should NEVER TAKE the insurance as the cost is way higher than the possible reward is and it is pretty much just a way for the house to rip you off when you’re in a vulnerable position. If you’ll hit Blackjack and the dealer has an ace on the table you’re offered to cash-out early and only get paid 1:1 instead of normal 3:2 payout. This is also a dumb offer to take as the odds are in your favour.
This chart we show here is called the optimal Blackjack strategy that has been created by mathematic probability calculations and simulations so that it covers thousands of different variables and outcomes of the game. At some casinos they even give you a leaflet of this chart so that you can always take a look of the strategy and enjoy your play even more.
On the other hand, there are places where you might even get kicked out of the building if you show up at the table with the chart or try to look through smart phone screen. For this kind of case it is important to take a few minutes and try to remember the system. You can always practice it at home by playing free mock Blackjack games or play at the online casino.
The chart is quite simple and is easy to read. Always check your own hand on the left side column and then take the dealer’s hand using the top row. From the crossroads of these two you’ll find your recommended optimal play. For example you have 14 in your hand and the dealer has 6 open on the table. You’ll go and see that for this situation the chart recommends you to S = Stand so you should not take any more cards that can decrease your chances.
The symbols explained:
N: No Split
Optimal Strategy at Online Casino
You can definitely use or at least practice this strategy at any online casino. If you’d like to try counting cards and predicting the deck, it’s a bit tricky against a computer as there is no physical deck but a random generator. However, the strategy still applies!