Blackjack Tips For Beginners

Strategy IconBlackjack is one of the most popular casino games around. Making your debut at the blackjack table either online or offline can be a little intimidating, but it is a simple game when broken down. We have compiled several different tips and blackjack strategy that will help novice players find their bearings at the tables. We’ll begin with some of the blackjack basics and then wrap up with introducing the Simple Strategy.

How To Play Blackjack – The Basics

Players are dealt a single card to start off a round of black jack. Each card has its own number value. Cards 2-10 are valued at their corresponding number. Face cards (Jack, Queen, King) count as 10. Aces can be played high or low (11 or 1). Typically, they are counted as 11 unless you are getting close to. The object of the game is to beat the dealer—not hit 21. If your combined card value goes over 21, you bust.

Once you’re dealt that single card, you have the option to either hit (receive a second card) or stand (not receive another card). In the event you manage to get 21 in your first 2 cards, you have achieved what is called a “blackjack” or “natural”. Aside from hitting or standing, players do have some alternative options when it is their turn.

Learning Your Options

Players can take insurance when the dealer is showing an ace. This means placing a new bet at 2-1 odds that the dealer has a blackjack. It is called “insurance” because if you lose your first bet but win the insurance you will break even. Doubling down is when you double your initial bet and only receive one more card. Players often double down when their card values fall somewhere between 8 and 11. Splitting is another option and can only occur when you get 2 cards of the same value. For example, if you get 2 Kings (which would equal 20), you can split the pair and have 2 separate hands starting at 10. If you win both hands you will have doubled your money, lose one and you will break even or lose both and lose double the money. Now that you know a little about how the game works, we can go over some basic strategies.

Things Not To Do When Playing Black Jack

Players should know that all additional actions (taking insurance, splitting, doubling down, etc.) are inherently designed to favor the house. Casinos want to make money off you, not lose money to you. However, there are ways to beat the system.

Doubling down is risky because you only receive one more card. You should never double down if the dealer has an ace or a face card. If you have 11, it is generally safe to double down no matter what the dealer is showing. Splitting can be both a helpful and hurtful technique. You should never split 5s. You already have a 10 and will likely beat the dealer as is. It is considered better to always split 8s or aces. Splitting aces is tricky because you are only allowed one additional card per hand, whereas for normal splits, any number of cards may be drawn to each new hand.

The Simple Strategy Of Blackjack

There are 2 main strategies that are adopted by most beginners—the simple strategy and the basic strategy. The simple strategy is broken down into 5 situations and what to do when you find yourself facing those circumstances. The first is to stand on a hard 12-16 against a dealer 2-6 (‘hard’ implies two non-ace cards; ‘soft’ implies the presence of an ace). The second is to double on 10, 11 against a dealer 2-9. The third hint is to always split 8s, 9s and aces (splitting these pairs has a higher percentage of yielding winning hands). The fourth hint is to stand on soft 18 or more. The fifth is to stand on hard 17 or more. In the event that the 5 aforementioned situations are not present, simple strategy advises to hit. Players should also never take insurance, as they have better odds at winning the initial bet.

Other Considerations For Novice Players

There are some additional things a player can do to give themselves the best shot at walking away winner at the tables.

  •  Play at a legal blackjack site: This is one of the most important things any player can do when gambling online.  If a site is legally licensed, they are likely regulated under strict oversight.  This isn’t always the case, but by playing at legally licensed sites, you are certainly putting yourself in a position not to get taken advantage of with cheating software.
  • Take advantage of blackjack bonuses: This is another simple thing that players can do to give themselves the best shot at walking away winner.  Because the online gaming industry is very competitive, nearly all online casinos offer enticing bonuses to attract new players.  It’s simply how they compete for your business.  By taking advantage of these offers, you essentially double and sometimes triple your bankroll giving you more money to play with and ultimately a better shot to catch a run all on their dime.  Just make sure you read and understand the terms of any offer you take advantage of so you don’t find yourself in a situation where you broke the terms and conditions which will void your winnings.
  • Consider playing live dealer blackjack: This is common with the high rollers that gamble for big money online.  Players that bet  thousands per hand like to see the cards being dealt live by a real human compared to playing against a computer.  And I can’t say I blame them.  While I think random number generators do ensure fair play, it’s also been proven that some RNG’s are flawed and the number sequences can be predicted.  The industry is also on the brink of offering provably fair games with blockchain technology which will guarantee fair play for all players.

Other Strategy Articles In Our Series

Blackjack Strategy For Beginners

Knowing Your Hand Gives You The Upper Hand

Blackjack Strategies To Avoid