Blackjack Tips for Beginners
I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately from casual blackjack players that don’t want to learn how to count cards, but just want some simple tips for increasing their chances of winning at blackjack. I’ve decided to post a list of blackjack tips for average players, but I must give fair warning that these tips will not swing the odds in your favor. That requires learning about card counting. However, these tips will increase your chances of hanging onto your money a little longer and maybe even catching a lucky run.
Please Note: These blackjack tips do not always apply to card counters. If you’re using good card counting strategies, then you should know the appropriate times to go against these tips.
So you’re not Rain Man (1988 movie), but you would still like to improve your chances of winning at blackjack? Here are 17 great blackjack tips for players that are not counting cards.
Beginner Blackjack Tips
Tip #1 – Learn correct basic strategy! Nothing is more important for beginners. (View Basic Strategy Charts for help)
Tip #2 – Never play a game that pays 6:5 on blackjack. Always stick to games that pay the full 3:2. An 8-deck game paying the full 3:2 on blackjack is far better than a single deck blackjack game paying only 6:5.
Tip #3 – Less decks is better than more decks. Just remember, this is only true if the rules are consistent over both games. Therefore if a casino’s double deck game has the exact same rules as their 6-deck game, the double deck game has better player odds.
Tip #4 – Try to find the best table rules you can. Ideally you want the dealer to stand on “Soft 17”. If you’re playing a 6-deck or 8-deck game, play where you can surrender.
Tip #5 – Never use the dangerous Martingale Betting System that requires you to double the size of your bet when you lose. Believe it or not, you can (and will) lose an incredible number of hands in a row at some point. You may survive for a while using the Martingale, but when that losing streak hits, you will lose everything you previously made and a lot more.
Tip #6 – Playing at lower stakes doesn’t necessarily mean you will lose less over time. If you’re playing $20 per hand on a 6:5 paying table, you may be at a large 2% disadvantage causing an expectation of a 40¢ loss per hand. If you’re playing a game like the high limit 6-deck at Aria Casino in Las Vegas, you’re only at a .26% disadvantage. That’s an expected loss of just 26¢ per $100 bet. Notice that the $20 bet will lose more than the $100 bet over time.
Tip #7 – Don’t take insurance! It doesn’t matter how much you bet or what your hand is, insurance is a bad bet! Only 4 out of 13 possible cards will give the dealer a blackjack under the ace. That’s a 30.8% chance of blackjack. If you are only getting paid 2:1 on an insurance bet, that’s a losing bet. If you’re an advanced player using a card counting system, then insurance is a great option in certain situations.
Tip #8 – A dealer showing a 5 or 6 is more likely to make a hand than bust. Don’t go crazy doubling your 7 or less just because the dealer’s showing a 5 or 6. You may get a small card and want to take another hit. Remember, the dealer will make a hand in this situation more times than not.
Tip #9 – Never stand on your “Soft 17”. This hand cannot bust by taking a hit and can only push against a dealer’s 17 if you stand. This is always either a hit or a double.
Tip #10 – The dealer doesn’t control whether you win or lose. Even if you’re frustrated with how things are going, don’t be rude! Believe it or not, the dealers actually want you to win so they can hopefully make some tips and avoid listening to players moan and groan.
Tip #11 – Don’t make bets or playing decisions based on emotions or gut feelings. Know ahead of time what you will be betting and how you will play your hands.
Tip #12 – Make the correct play regardless of your bet size. Just because your biggest bet of the day is on the table doesn’t mean you should suddenly stand on a 14 versus the dealer’s 10 to avoid busting. Play the hand, not the money.
Tip #13 – If you’re playing for comps, sit at a full table. This will slow the game down considerably and allow you to play longer without risking a lot.
Tip #14 – Don’t overuse the surrendering option. Only surrender a 16 versus a dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace, and a 15 versus a dealer’s 10. This is assuming you’re playing a multi-deck game and not counting cards. If you are card counting, then hopefully you know all the correct surrender plays to maximize the potential of this great player option.
Tip #15 – Never double 4,4. This is only a hit unless you’re facing a 5 or 6, then it’s a split. For some strange reason players that would never double a 3,5 or 2,6 suddenly want to double a 4,4. Don’t do it!
* The only exception to this rule is on a single deck game where you cannot double after splitting. Only then would you double 4,4 versus a dealer’s 5 or 6. Keep in mind, most of you will not be playing a game like this.
Tip #16 – Whether the table has been winning or losing doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not it will continue to win or lose.
Tip #17 – Never go all-in. Always leave yourself enough money to double or split your hand. There aren’t many scenarios more painful in blackjack than getting dealt two aces, not having enough money to split, then hitting for two facecards and busting. Ouch!