Make Yourself into a Great Blackjack Player

Make Yourself into a Great Blackjack Player

Blackjack is a very cerebral game in which the player has to make critical decisions before the dealer plays his hand. The dealer actually has no decisions to make. The dealer must take a card on 16 and must stand on 17 or greater. However, as we shall see, this is not always the case.

Blackjack strategy is so vast that this short post cannot cover everything. Fortunately, there is a lot of information about blackjack on the internet so we advise you do avail yourself of it. Here are a few tips that most online strategy sites don’t tell you about.

Play For Free

One of the great advantages of playing at an online casino is that you can play for free for as long as you wish.  Cyberspace is like outer space: it is functionally unlimited. So, an online casino has no problem making space for you to play for free. The casinos see it as a marketing tool. If you play for free for a while, you’re more likely to play at the same casino for real money down the road.

The reason it’s a good idea to play blackjack for free is that you can play a lot of games at an online casino in a short period of time. The learning curve in a thinking game like blackjack is fairly long but, by playing for free, you get a lot of learning in at no cost.

Learn the Rules

The bare basics of blackjack are the same for almost all variations: value of a blackjack, value of a tie, doubling down, and splitting. But each variation has its own set of rules that go beyond these very basic ones.

For instance, how many times can you split cards? How many times can you split aces?

Online casinos have so much space that they can offer many variations of blackjack. You need to know the nuances of any variation you might want to play. At land based casinos, the other players don’t want people slowing the game down by learning the rules as they go along.

Play Games That Don’t Shuffle the Deck after Every Hand

Online, you can always find a game that uses a single deck. At land based casinos, many blackjack tables are equipped with a constantly shuffling machine. All discarded cards are placed in the machine and reshuffled.

As difficult as counting cards is, it’s absolutely impossible to count cards in a permanently shuffling game.

Count Cards only if You Can

Land based casinos hate when blackjack players count cards so if you do count cards, be sure that the house doesn’t catch on. This takes hundreds of hours of practice to perfect. It’s much harder to count cards surreptitiously in blackjack than to get rid of your poker tells.

Be realistic. If you feel that you’ll never learn to count cards, even rudimentally, you should probably play blackjack online where you can use a strategy card.

Play within Your Means

If you go to a land based casino and the lowest bet you can make in blackjack is, say, $10, and that minimum bet is above your budget, maybe you should find a more amenable casino.

At an online casino, you can always find a blackjack game with a very low minimum. If you can’t find one at the casino you have open at the moment, close it and open another. These days, you don’t have to download a casino to play there.

Soft 17

Some blackjack variations have the house hitting on soft seventeen. That’s 17 points with an ace as an eleven. This is a big advantage to the house so don’t play those games.


Never take insurance. The house enjoys a big advantage when you take insurance even though they make it seem as if they’re doing you a favor by offering it. At a land based casino, the others at the table might get upset with you if you don’t take insurance. That sets the pattern of the cards off and they might think that you’ve brought them bad luck.

Avoid Stupid Players

Some players at land based casinos get crazy when you make a good strategic decision that causes them to bust because of the change in the pattern of the cards. When you encounter such other players, simply leave the table.

Stupid players are one reason so many players have taken to playing blackjack online.

Progressive Jackpots

Unless you are playing specifically for the jackpot, never play at a blackjack game with a progressive jackpot. The overall return to player rate is always lower at these games.

Memorize the Basics of Blackjack Strategy

Maybe you can’t learn every possible permutation in blackjack but you can learn the most basic strategy decisions. You’ll have to decide whether to hit or stand on almost every hand. What do you do if you have 12 or 13 points? In many cases, it depends on what the dealer is showing. If you’re playing at a full table at a land based casino, it will also depend on all the other cards you see.

The one card the dealer has, and all the other cards at the table that you see, are the only real clues you have as to how to proceed with your hand. So, learn how to evaluate your hand in this light.

At a land based casino, it’s usually better to play at a full table so you can see the largest number of cards.

Full Exposure

There is one blackjack variation that allows you to see both of the dealer’s cards. It sounds like a great variation to play. However, the house has changed the rules to such an extent that you, as the player, have far worse odds seeing both of the dealer’s cards than in all the other blackjack variations where you only see one card.

Getting Tired

Whether you play at an online casino or at a land based casino, you’ll get tired. When you’re tired, stop playing. It’s as simple as that.

If you play at a land based casino and you get a couple of free drinks, as soon as you feel your ability to think clearly waver even slightly, leave the table.

What a Great Game

For players who prefer thinking about their next move, blackjack is a great game. If you like to just play casino games without thinking so much, we might recommend craps or roulette. Both of these games have 1-1 bets that will keep you gambling for a long time at very little cost.

featured photo via Wikimedia
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