You might think that the only strategy required in blackjack is to score as close to 21 as possible with your cards and hope that it’s enough to beat the dealer.
That is one way of looking at this ever-popular game that dates back to the eighteenth century, but beginners to blackjack should be aware of some common strategies and tactics that will help you to maximize your chances of winning.
Here’s a trio of time-served blackjack tactics to get you started.
Split on Aces & Eights
As you may know, if you are dealt a pair when playing the vast majority of blackjack games then you can split them in an attempt to create two winning hands.
You might think in doing so that your chances of profit increase, but that really does depend on which cards you split.
A common approach is to split aces and eights only. If you split the aces you have two chances of drawing the perfect blackjack hand, while in some versions of the game you cannot stand on 16 – which naturally makes a pair of eights very weak unless you split them.
Other strategists will tell you to split tens or face cards, but think about it logically: You’ve gone from having an excellent tally of 20 (which can only lose if the dealer has 21, remember) to a pair of tens which could then become14, 15 or 16 if you are unlucky with your draw cards; your position is weakened considerably.
Double Down? But Only When the Time is Right
In most American versions of blackjack, one of the dealer’s cards is kept faceup throughout. This has significant implications for your next move, despite the fact you only know 50% of what’s in their pocket.
Let’s say, for example, that their face card is an eight. In a single deck game, this leaves 51 cards in play. Of those, 16 offer the score of ten (the number itself and the face cards).
That leaves a 31% chance that, after turning over their second card, their total haul will be eighteen.
In that case, if you had doubled down on a score of nine, ten or eleven, you would have won with comfort.
If you have ten or eleven in hand, it is advisable to double down. You stand alone-in-three chance of landing a ten as your extra card, and a greater than 50%chance that your third card will at least leave you in a position where you can stand with 17 or more.
You Gotta Know When to Fold Them
In many forms of the game, you can “surrender” your cards when necessary.
There are two occasions when you absolutely must do this. The first is when your cards equal 16, as – in a 52-card deck – 20 cards are worth five points or below and 32 score six or more.
In short, you have a 38% chance of improving your hand if you hit on 16, and a 62% chance of busting. So why take the risk?
The same is true when you have 15 and the dealer’s upturned card is worth 10. In this scenario, the dealer has more cards that will take their score to 16 or more than you have to make your tally up to, say, 18, 19, 20 or 21!
You can put these theories to the test by playing a variety of blackjack games at Bet on Aces today.