Blackjack is a popular casino game that you play against the dealer. The game is fun but not as simple as some of the other games you get at casinos, like slots for instance. It requires skill and at least some level of strategy. There are, however, simple as well as advanced tips that you can use to bring down the house edge further and improve your chances of scoring a win.
On this page we discuss some useful tips to help you improve not only your game but also your winning opportunities.
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Here are a few basic tips that can help you improve your blackjack play. We start with a couple of basic tips related to general aspects of the game and then move to some more tips on how to play when you get certain specific hands.
- Learn the basics: You must know the basics of the game before you get down to playing it. Go through our entire website to learn about the different aspects of playing blackjack.
- Manage your bankroll: There is something else you need to be careful about apart from knowing the game: managing your bankroll. Ensure that you spread out your wagers carefully. Low bets to start with may be a good idea if you are a beginner; that way you can feel your way through the game and if you lose the first few hands you still have money at hand to carry on.
- Learn to quit: This is important especially if you are at the start or in the middle of a losing streak. Carry on further and you stand the chance to lose more than you probably should have. Quitting also works if you are ahead – you at least get to keep your winnings and not lose it all later on.
- One vital rule to follow: do not play blackjack for real money if you are drinking. It can cloud your decision making abilities and result in you losing more than you normally would have.
Small video showing some of the basic tips:
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.
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!
- Blackjack tips for playing blackjack like Pro
- Beginner Blackjack Tips
- Blackjack Tips FAQ
- I am on a Blackjack winning streak, should I increase my wager?
- Then, should I increase my wager when I am losing at Blackjack?
- I’ve noticed that the every player who was sitting at a particular Blackjack table was winning, should I go and sit there too?
- Is Blackjack a good option to end a fun night out?
- What is the best way to learn the Blackjack basic strategy?
- I get very happy when I win at Blackjack and very aggravated when I lose, is that good?
- There is a new variant of Blackjack that is offered at a casino nearby, should I give it a try?
- A 17 is a solid combination at Blackjack, should I stand on a soft 17?
- Will I lose my focus if I make a break and come back to play Blackjack after a while?
- Do I have to tip the dealer?
- Never split a hand of two 10s: A hand where both cards have the value of 10 is a great hand to have because the total hand value is 20, the closest to 21. When you have such a hand the dealer has no other option but to hit a 21 to be able to win. The chances of that happening each time are rare.
Should you opt to split it, you still do not know what the second card of the split hand would be, and could potentially end up with 2 hands of lesser value than 20. That is not a chance you should take, given the original hand itself has such great winning potential.
- Do not split a hand of two 5s: A hand of two 5s has a total hand value of 10. The best way to go forward is to double down. Splitting is not a great idea because it just doubles your chance of landing two hands both of which are valued at 10 each. Better have one average hand that you can do something about than two of them that you cannot do much about. This tip applies to a pair of 4s and 10s as well.
- Split a hand of two Aces: Always split a hand of two Aces. That increases your chances of landing a solid, if not winning, hand drastically.
- Split a hand of two 6s: Make it a point to split a hand of two 6s if you see the dealer has a card value ranging from 3 to 6.
- Split a hand of two 7s: Always split a hand of two 7s if the dealer’s hand has a value of between 3 and 7.
- Split a hand of two 8s: Conventional wisdom is to split if you have a hand of two 8s. The total value of that hand is 16 and that is considered the worst blackjack hand. The chances of landing a low value card if you hit are minimal. When you split that hand you double your chances of landing a hand with at least one 10-value card.
- Split a hand of two 9s: You must split a hand of two 9s if the dealer’s hand has a hand value from 2 through to 6, 8, or even 9.
Here are a few more tips that can help you maximize your chances by converting even an average hand into a potentially winning one.
- Game play for soft hands: The following tips work should you have a soft hand.
- Hit on a soft 17. A soft 17 is a hand that comprises an Ace and a 6. This hand you should always hit as it gives you a great shot at increasing your hand value.
- Hit if you have a soft hand of lower value than 17 as well. You stand a better chance of increasing the value of your hand; standing keeps you static and the dealer still has the option of hitting or standing to work out a better hand.
- If you have a soft 18 you can hit – the preferred way is to double down – if the dealer’s hand has 8, 9, or 10.
- Game play for hard hands: The following tips work for hard hands with a value over 12.
- If you have a hard hand valued at between 12 and 16 and the dealer has a hand valued at between 2 and 6 the automatic choice is to stand. The chances of the dealer beating you with a higher hand value when his original hand has such low value is not that great, though the possibility always remains.
- If you have a hard hand valued at between 12 and 16 and the dealer’s hand is valued at 7 or higher the wise thing to do is hit. The dealer has a good chance of landing a hand that has a higher value than yours with the subsequent card(s); when you hit you ensure a shot at a higher hand value.
- Stand on a hard 17. If you have a hand value that is a hard 17 – or any higher value – the best option is to stand. 17 or greater is a good hand to have as it is relatively closer to 21.
Doubling down is another option that you can use very effectively when you play blackjack. However, the trick of mastering the art of doubling down is to know the best hands for which you can use this option. You can opt to double down when:
- Your hand value is a soft 13 or 14 and the dealer has a 5 or 6.
- Your hand value is a soft 15 or 16 and the dealer has a 4, 5, or 6.
- Your hand value is a soft 17 or 18 and the dealer has a value of 3 to 6.
- Your hand value is 9 and the dealer’s card value is between 2 and 8.
- Your hand value is 10 and the dealer’s card value is 9 or lower.
- Your hand value is 11 and the dealer has an Ace or a 10-value card.
Small Things that You Should Know
There are a lot of simple things that all Blackjack players should be aware of if they want to increase their chances. Here are some intriguing questions.
There is no such thing as a winning streak, always remember that. You just happened to win few hands in a row, you applied your strategy right and you had a bit of luck. There is absolutely no statistical or any other sort of a guarantee that you will keep on winning. Even if you manage to win several hands in a row, don’t increase your wager just because you’ve won.
That’s not a good idea either. If you’ve lost more than a few hands in a row, there is still no guarantee that you’re going to win the next hand. Moreover, if you increase your wager and still lose, you’ll have to double your next wager and then do the same if the next hand is also a losing one. Soon enough you may end up losing your full bankroll. You should never chase losses and never try to make up what you’ve lost in a hand or two. It’s better to make a break and come back after 10-15 minutes with a clear head.
I’ve noticed that the every player who was sitting at a particular Blackjack table was winning, should I go and sit there too?
That is another Blackjack myth. There is no such thing as a ‘hot’ table, or a ‘hot’ dealer. What you’ve witnessed is just a coincidence. You may sit at that table that you think is hot, but you’ll soon realised that the outcome of your hands has nothing to do with the dealer or the table. All dealers are instructed to do the same things under the same circumstances and the decks of cards which are dealt at each table are consisted of the same cards. Similarly, there is no such thing as a ‘cold’ dealer or table either.
Of course, it is always fun to play Blackjack and if you manage to win some extra cash, it would be a true crown of a really fun night out. But it is best to avoid the Blackjack table if you had too much to drink. Not only that you might forget the Blackjack basic strategy, but you will also feel bolder and you might start making rash decisions and wager too much money. By the time you sober up you might be fully bankrupt.
In order to learn how to play Blackjack like a pro, you will have to memorize the Blackjack basic strategy. But staring a table and trying to memorize every information isn’t very fun. It is best to spend some time learning it and then test yourself practically. All you need is a deck, or a few decks of cards, and you can play Blackjack by yourself. Check and see how many times, out of 100 you will make the decision as per the Strategy and how many times you’ll get it wrong. After that spend some more time studying the strategy and try again. When you get to 100 out of 100, you’ll know you’re good.
Nobody likes losing and we all love winning, but generally speaking, emotions are not your friend. You should never get too emotional about Blackjack or any other game. When you get too emotional you can’t think clear, you may start doing wrong moves, you may start betting too much and that is definitely not what you’d want. Learn to control your emotions before you start playing Blackjack.
There’s no harm in trying your luck on a new game, but you have to make sure that you understand the rules of that variant and how it differs from standard Blackjack and the variants you are familiar with. Start playing for real money only when you are fully aware of everything regarding the new game. Also, always check the house edge, if it is significantly higher than the usual house edge, you may play a hand or two, but there’s no point in playing that variant as your winning chances are decreased.
That is one of the common misconceptions. You should never stand on a soft 17 (ace and 6), you should always hit. Statistically, your chances of winning are increased significantly if you hit on a soft 17. The house edge is increased significantly if the dealer hits on 17, which means that it is in his/her favour to do it. If the dealer is prevented by the rules to hit on a soft 17, you are not and you should definitely do it.
Probably not. In fact, it is a good idea to make a break every now and then, take a short walk, have a meal or a snack, or simply just leave the table for a bit. It is more likely to start making mistakes if you’re at the table for too long, than if you take a break and come back.
You don’t have to tip the dealer and you shouldn’t feel obliged to. Only do it if you’re winning and it is wise to do it before you leave, at the end of your playing session. It doesn’t make any sense to tip the dealer if you’ve actually lost money. Moreover, the dealer doesn’t have any influence on the outcome of the game, so a tip won’t make him/her act more favorably towards you.