How To Become A Master At Blackjack


Most casino games either rely on pure luck, or a mixture of skill and luck, and blackjack is possibly the most perfectly balanced between the two. The skill involved means that it is possible to master the game to the extent that you will win more often than not, but the secret to success lies in preparation and maths, so it does take a little time to understand.

Unlike poker, in blackjack, the players are only trying to beat the dealer and anyone with a winning hand will get a payout. This means that there is no need for players to try and psychologically size each other up looking for tells or trying to bluff their way through a terrible hand.

Not only are players only trying to beat the dealer, but the dealer will adhere to set rules about how they play their hand. This makes the outcomes even more predictable and allows players to develop specific strategies to increase their chances of winning.

Many players practice their blackjack skill onlines, and there are plenty of sites with promotions on offer available at Seasoned players can dramatically increase their odds of winning at blackjack by following some of the most basic rules, which include:

When to surrender

In most casinos, if you have the option to surrender, it's only available after being dealt the first two cards, so before you even think about what you might do with those cards, you need to consider your options. If you have a sixteen, you should surrender if the dealer's card is a nine, ten, picture card or ace, and if you have fifteen, you should surrender if the dealer has a ten.

When to split

Assuming you don't surrender, you may then have the option to split, and this should be your next consideration. You can split any pair of cards or any two cards that are valued as tens, and there is plenty to consider, although the most important rules are:

- Never split tens
- Always split aces and eights
- Split nines if the dealer has between two and nine
- Split sevens, threes, or twos if the dealer has between two and seven
- Split sixes if the dealer has between two and six
- Split fours if the dealer has five or six

When to double

Doubling means betting the same amount as already wagered mid-round in return for an additional card that will end your turn. The rules differentiate between soft hands, that do contain an ace, and hard hands that do not.

It may feel risky, but there are certain circumstances where it is the strategy most likely to yield a payoff, such as:

- Never double a soft twenty
- Double a soft nineteen if the dealer has six
- Double a soft eighteen if the dealer has between two and six
- Double a soft seventeen if the dealer has between three and six
- Double a soft sixteen or fifteen if the dealer has between four and six
- Double a soft thirteen or fourteen if the dealer has between five and six
- Always double a hard eleven
- Double a ten if the dealer has between two and nine
- Double a nine if the dealer has between three and six

Hit or stand

Once you have considered the other options, you are left to make a call as to whether you think you can win with your current hand or whether another card will help. Yet again, there are statistically derived rules that determine the most profitable course of action, including:

- Eight always hits
- If you have a pair between two and seven and haven't split or doubled, then you should take a hit
- If you have a soft hand between thirteen and seventeen and you haven't doubled, then you should hit
- If you have a soft eighteen and the dealer has between a nine and an ace, then hit

None of these rules is secret, indeed most casinos will happily sell you a card with these basics printed on it, but the trick is to really learn each rule thoroughly so that you can play your hand to the best advantage every time. Those that play online might be interested to learn that these strategies derived from the original digital version of blackjack in which the programmer had to 'teach' a computer how to play using probability.

Once you have mastered these basic rules, there are even more detailed rules you can follow to further increase your chances of winning and it is possible to put together a detailed strategy which includes every possible combination of cards.

This requires practice and commitment, but players that enjoy the game will naturally find that they see the benefits of adopting a statistically based strategy as they don't waste money betting on hands that are unlikely to yield enough in return to make it worthwhile and win more often.