Online gambling. It is an industry that continues to grow, and one that is not going away anytime soon.
Part of that industry is online casinos, and generally, one of the most popular games in casinos is blackjack. Part of this is because it gives such favorable odds to the players, with just a .5% house edge.
With that said, you still need to know what you are doing in blackjack in order to get that little edge between you and the house.
So, what blackjack tips do you need to know to make sure you play this game right? These are 13 of the most essential gambling tips.
- House Rules
Know the house rules before you sit down at any blackjack table. Most amateurs or guests just out for the night may not pay attention to how these can affect the house edge, but the veteran player definitely is.
The biggest rule to look for is what the house pays out on a blackjack. If it is 6 to 5 rather than 3 to 2, don’t even bother sitting down. That is the rule that takes away any chance of you evening out with the house.
Other things to look out for are if the dealer can hit or stay on a Soft 17 hand, what hands you are allowed to double down on if you are allowed to Surrender at all, and how many decks of cards a table plays with.
You need to do your homework here, and at least read up on what other players here. This Bovada Review, for example verifies that the casino discussed is one of the best online options for blackjack.
Paying attention to these can either minimize the house edge to virtually nothing or make you have insurmountable odds to overcome.
- Playing Chart
In the intro, we talked about the house has about a .5% edge on you. Well, guess what. That is only if you know what you are doing.
This strategy chart is well respected in the blackjack community and tells you exactly what you need to do on every hand that you see.
So, for example, the chart will tell you to stay against any card if you have 17. But, if you have 12, the chart says that you should only stay if the dealer is showing you a 4, 5, or 6 card.
There are other rules here we will get to later, but the basic premise is that you need to memorize this chart in order to make sure that you are making the right moves for every hand you may face.
How much money are you willing to put down in one night? That is the question that you need to answer BEFORE you start playing.
You need to have a strict budget in mind. But, there is a balance here.
A veteran player will bring enough money to be able to recover from a cold streak. You see, blackjack is basically a 50/50 game, but you can get 10 lost hands in a row even if you do everything right.
You need to make room for that. The best way would be to bring say $500 with you for blackjack if you are betting $10 a hand instead of just $100.
Have enough money to cover a cold streak, but set a limit for how much you are willing to spend in one session.
- Disciplined Betting
This goes hand-in-hand with bankroll because it forces you to be careful with how much money you bet per hand. It gets complicated here because it can depend on what style you play.
For example, if you are counting cards, it may be more justifiable to put $100 down after you had several bets in a row at just $10.
But, if you throw $100 down on a bet just because you are bored and lost the last five bets at $10 each, then that is just reckless. Have a plan, and do not break that plan even if you are losing.
- Bust Cards
These are the cards that veteran players love to see the dealer showing. This is because, in theory, it gives you the player the best odds of winning your hand.
The bust cards are generally considered to be when a dealer is showing a 4, 5, or 6.
A lot of players like to get cautious here and stay on everything. Most of the time, that is the right move. But, if you follow the strategy chart, being a little more aggressive can allow you to earn a lot of money in this situation.
If you have normal cards, then you should stay. But, soft hands and pairs may allow you to get aggressive in this situation.
- Double Down
Doubling down is when you are allowed to match the bet you initially made. The catch is, you get just one card after that, no matter what it is.
Knowing when to double down can earn you twice the money. Generally, the most common situation is anytime you have 11, anytime you have 10, besides facing another 10 or ace, and if the dealer is showing a bust card.
- Split Cards
Splitting cards can be a good play when you have a pair of the same card. Almost everyone splits 8s and aces, that is definitely the most common time this comes up.
However, even splitting cards as low as 2s and 3s can be considered the right strategic move if you are up against a low enough card that the dealer is showing.
- Soft Hands
A soft hand is when you or the dealer have an ace in your hand. It is called a “soft hand” because an ace allows you to treat it as 1 or 11.
So, say you have an ace and seven in your hand. This would be considered a soft 18.
On a normal 18, you would stay at all costs. But, with a soft, you are only supposed to stay if the dealer has seven or eight. Against a 9 or higher, you hit here. Lower than seven, you double down if the casino allows it.
Soft hands provide you with a lot more flexibility, but they also give the dealer flexibility too if they have under 17.
This is one of the least talked about plays in blackjack, and the reasons for that are it is not a very common play AND it can be considered boring.
A surrender lets you give up your hand and you only lose half of the bet that you put in. However, the catch is that you cannot use this option once you take a hit.
Some casinos do not even offer this as an option, but for those who do, it can be a great way to get out of a bad hand. The general time to play this is when you have a hard 16 and the dealer has a 9 or higher.
- No Insurance
Some casinos will offer insurance for you if the dealer has blackjack. This will happen when the dealing is showing a 10, face card, or an ace.
Insurance gives you the chance to keep your money if they have blackjack, by making another wager for about half of the money of your original bet.
However, the odds are high enough against them having a blackjack that this is something that you should not act on.
Do NOT play blackjack if you are going on tilt. This is an expression described as a player getting frustrated, angry, and potentially reckless in betting.
This happens when a player is either on a bad losing streak and/or just had a bad beat in a recent hand. This can cause the player to bet angrily, forget strategy, and put more money on the table than they should to try to recover losses quickly.
Casinos thrive on this, as this generally causes you to lose your focus, play dumb, and give them even more of your money. If you feel a tilt coming, just walk away.
- Stay Sober
Relating to tilt, you need to keep your head sharp when gambling real money. Playing drunk can make you place reckless bets, and frankly, ones that you should never do.
If you have enough drinks in you, you may not think about the little things like not splitting a pair of 9s against a 7. Or worse, you may double down when you have a 12 against a bust card, when you should really stay.
- Have Fun
Most importantly, remember to have fun! Remember, this is just a game.
Don’t get too out of control, don’t take it too seriously, and try to remember even if you are losing that this is supposed to be a fun time, not a business trip.
As long as you remember that and are not too reckless with your money, you should get a positive experience of playing the game.
See More Blackjack Tips
These are 13 of the best blackjack tips for you to go out and take away the house edge. Are you ready to start playing blackjack, or do you want to master it first?
Read more of our Blackjack articles for additional tips and strategies.