Blackjack is a card game which is extremely famous for being both challenging and exciting and can be played all around the world. It appeals to a huge number of players due to the fact that it gives them the chance to gain advantage over the casino by using their skills and knowledge. Not many casino games offer such an opportunity as most of them require only luck and cannot be influenced in any way. Blackjack has also many different variations which can be found in a number of brick and mortar casinos as well as online due to their huge popularity.
In order to win, players need to have solid knowledge of the basic strategy, good discipline and money management skills. This way they will successfully retain their profit and have better control over their bankroll. It is worth mentioning that the best approach in Blackjack is to set small win goals and achieve them regularly rather than aim at winning big every time.
Running & True Count
The basic rules of the game are rather straightforward and everyone can learn them very easily if they are willing to. However, it is worth noting that there are some additional rules, such as whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17 or whether the move surrender is permitted, which can differ from one casino to another. This is the reason why it is always a good idea to check them prior to playing in order to prepare as much as possible and make the best possible choice for every hand. Moreover, players should also bear in mind that many of the game’s variations can also have diverse rules depending on the place they are played at.
The objective of Blackjack is to make a total which is as close as possible to twenty one and players compete against the dealer. The card system of the game is also quite easy to comprehend as most of the cards are worth their numeric value. The only exception is the ace which can be counted as one or eleven and the face cards – queen, king, jack as they get ten points each. These are the basic rules of the game which remain the same regardless of the casino and the variation and it is essential to know them inside out in order to manage to achieve the desired win in the long term.
Each time players can choose one of the following moves for their hand – to stand, hit, double down or split. There are other optional moves, such as re-splitting, surrender or take insurance which can vary depending on the casino and the version. They can be completely forbidden or have certain restrictions on their usage. It is worth noting that in most cases these turns work in favour of the players and it is always best to search for a table or a variation which allow them. Some versions of the game give them the chance to perform different moves which are not available in the classic Blackjack which is the reason why they grew in popularity so much.
In order to make a particular move, players need to get familiar with the accepted ways to do so. Some casinos allow all of them whereas others have their preferences and this is the reason why it is always useful to be aware of all the possibilities. When players make up their mind regarding their hand, they can simply state their chosen move or use any of the established gestures for them. For instance, the signal for splitting is to put extra chips next to the initial wager and show two fingers, forming the letter V.
However, it is not enough to know the basic rules and moves due to the fact that Blackjack is a card game and as such, players can form their hand’s total in a number of different ways. The card combinations can be endless, especially if more than one deck is used which is the most common case. This is the reason why players need a reliable strategy in order to manage to make the best possible decision for their bets and moves. One of the most famous ones is the so called basic strategy which is an absolute must for the players who strive to win. Its suggested moves are determined according to the players’ total and the up card of the dealer which make it extremely efficient.
As previously indicated, some of the Blackjack rules can vary, depending on the place and the variation and in such cases players should adjust the basic strategy in accordance with them. They should bear in mind that every change of the rules influences their performance directly and thus, it is essential to be familiar with them in order to act accordingly. Nowadays there are many basic strategy charts available which suggest different moves, depending on the rules and the variation. It has never been so accessible for Blackjack players to improve their game and learn a reliable strategy which is the reason why they should take advantage of this privilege as knowing the basic strategy inside out will increase their chances of winning significantly.
Blackjack Possible Hands
Due to the many card combinations that exist, players can form their hand’s total in a number of ways. If they want to win in the long term, it is essential to know how to deal with every hand successfully and get familiar with all of the possible outcomes that it can result in. One good way to do that is to learn the suggested moves of the basic strategy and apply them throughout the game. Some hands are very tricky and if players want to be able to tackle them, it is essential to prepare in advance in order to manage to make the best possible move.
One type of hand which players are bound to get during some point in the game, is to so-called soft hand. Such a combination is formed when they have an ace in their hand as it prevents them from going bust due to the fact that any card of the deck cannot make them surpass twenty one. The ace is the most powerful card in the deck and as such, it is compulsory to be aware how to make the most of it in every case. Following the same logic, the term hard hand is also commonly used to indicate that the particular hand doesn’t contain an ace counted as eleven and there is a possibility for the players to go bust.
Blackjack Splitting Pairs
Another situation which players will find themselves in at some point during the game is when they have a pair of cards of the same rank. The first thing that comes to mind, is to split them, however, this move is not the best one in a number of cases. This is the reason why they should take their time to get familiar with these situations and the best possible moves for them. Knowing how to cope with tricky hands will significantly increase their chances of gaining advantage over the casino and win.
The strategy for every pair always takes into account the players hand’s total and the dealer’s up card. The suggested moves for some of them are very easy to remember as they remain almost the same for every situation, whereas others require more special attention as they are more difficult and tricky. In any case, prior to playing it is compulsory to get familiar with the best possible moves for splitting a particular pair in order to reduce the money losses to minimum.
House Edge & the Dealer’s Up Card
The term house edge is used to indicate the advantage of the casino in a particular game and it is usually calculated in percentage for the players’ convenience. It is interdependent on the rules of the game as every time they are changed, the house edge is influenced. Moreover, Blackjack has a number of variations and each one of them give better or worse chances of winning. Some rules are in favour of the casino whereas others are more beneficial for the players and therefore, it is best to get familiar with their odds in order to know for which ones to look for.
|House Edge of Popular Blackjack variants|
|Atlantic City Blackjack||0.35%|
|Double Exposure Blackjack||0.69%|
|Single Deck Blackjack||0.58%|
|Super Fun 21||0.94%|
|Perfect Pairs Blackjack||0.42%|
The dealer’s up card plays a crucial role in Blackjack as it gives players a general idea of the dealer’s position. The basic strategy suggested moves are based on their hand’s total and the up card of the dealer. There are some variations in which both of his cards are visible to the players such as Double Exposure Blackjack which gives them a significant advantage. In cases when the game is a hole card game the dealer receives one more card which is face down which he peeks at for Blackjack. Players should bear in mind that the better option for them is when the dealer has a hole card.
|Dealer’s Up Card and Chances of busting|
|Dealer’s up card||Dealer’s chances of going bust||Advantage of the players with the Basic Strategy|
|10, J, Q, K||21.43%||-16.9%|
Money Management & Discipline
In order to be able to win and make a profit in the long run, players need to have good discipline and money management skills. Even if they are perfect card counters or know the basic strategy inside out, if they lack these qualities it will be impossible to achieve the desired result. It is crucial to know how to manage their money on the table successfully and reduce their losses as much as possible. There are also a number of useful tips available which have proven to be very effective throughout the years.
For instance, it is essential before each session to set win goals and loss limits which should be based on the players’ bankroll for the day. This way they will be able to make wiser decisions for their bets which are not influenced by their emotions or the surrounding environment. However, they should be also extremely disciplined in order to manage to stick to them throughout the game. In many cases, it seems that this advice is easier said than done as withdrawing from a table when players are ahead can turn out to be a very difficult task. They should keep in mind that this is the only way to make a profit in the long run and avoid losing a lot of money.
Card counting is another famous strategy used by predominantly advanced Blackjack players who have already acquired solid knowledge of the basic strategy and the game in general. This method allows them to derive valuable information from the cards on the table and draw conclusions based on them for the upcoming cards. Thanks to the card counting method, players can make wiser decisions for their bets and moves and therefore, have better chances of gaining advantage over the casino and winning.
Card counting works best if applied along with the basic strategy as without the needed knowledge of it, players won’t be able to make the best possible decisions for a particular hand. The number of decks involved in the game plays a crucial role for the card counters as they determine whether the counting process will be difficult or easy. Logically the lower the number of involved packs of cards, the better chances players have of keeping track of them successfully. The classic Blackjack as well as its many variations can be played with different number of decks which is the reason why players should double check the rules of the game in advance. Usually, they can be found on the table and it won’t hurt to peek at them quickly as by doing so, players can prevent themselves from participating in a game with high house edge.
Card Counting Systems
Throughout the years, a number of card counting systems have been developed by many professional players in attempt to provide better chances of winning, despite the built-in advantage of the casino. Most of them use the fundamental principle of assigning a particular point value to every card of different rank. Just like every variation of Blackjack has a different house edge every card counting system gives players higher or lower chances of gaining advantage over the casino.
Nowadays, players can choose from a wide range of card counting systems which differ in terms of level of difficulty and efficiency. Some of the most popular card counting systems are Hi-Lo, Halves, Red Seven, Omega II, K-O and others. The term level of count is used to indicate how many different assigned point values a particular system contains. For instance, the level of count of the Hi-Lo system is one as it assigns only three different point values – zero, plus one and minus one. Card counting systems are also categorised as balanced or unbalanced ones, each one having its specifications and subtleties. Their aim is to provide players with an accurate ratio of the high value cards to low value ones which will help them make better choices on the table.
The famous Illustrious 18 as the name hints are eighteen of the most effective adjustments of the basic strategy ever made. The person behind these useful findings is Don Schlesinger, notable mathematician and author, whose achievements helped many card counters make wiser choices and take full advantage of the valuable information the card gives them. The illustrious 18 chart contains index numbers and suggests the best possible moves in a particular situation and it can be extremely beneficial for the players, if they manage to grasp its principles.
The suggested moves in the basic strategy are based on the dealer’s up card and the players’ total, providing that they are not aware of the ratio of the high value cards to low value ones. However, card counters are able to derive this valuable information from the cards on the table, using a particular card counting system. Thus, they can use it to alter the basic strategy and make better choices for their bets and moves. This way they will increase their chances of gaining an advantage over the casino significantly and at the same time reduce their money losses to minimum.
Running Count and True Count
Card counting systems can be balanced and unbalanced ones and depending on this classification they require different estimations. In order to get more accurate information of the cards, players need to calculate the running count or convert it into true one. They calculate the running count by using the assigned point values of their chosen card counting system in order to determine the true count. Balanced card counting systems require the conversion of the running count into true count which is the reason why they are considered to be more complicated and difficult.
If players want to calculate the true count, they should divide the running count over the involved in the game packs of cards. It provides them with extremely useful information about the cards which they can use to decide the right amount for their bets. Being able to successfully calculate the true count gives them the incredible opportunity to increase their chances of winning significantly. In unbalanced card counting systems, they don’t have to convert the running count into true count and this is the reason why they are appropriate for inexperienced players.
ROI and Return to Players
ROI or in other words return on investment and the expected return to players are two very important factors which should be taken into account before playing. The reason why it is so essential to get familiar with them is that they indicate the possible amount of money players can get from a particular hand. Thanks to the valuable information these two terms provide, it is possible to make wiser choices regarding the wagers and therefore, have better chances of winning. It is worth mentioning that when the rules of the game are altered, this change also have an impact on the expected return to players and thus, it is compulsory to double check them in advance.
As Blackjack is one of the most played casino games, throughout the years a number of variations have been developed in attempt to make it even more enticing and exciting. Some of the versions grew in popularity so much that they can be found along with the classic game in most brick and mortar casinos as well as online. Blackjack enthusiasts willing to try something new, can now enjoy most of the famous versions whenever and wherever they want. This huge diversity of more than 100 variations gives players the opportunity to experience the game in a very different way and enjoy its additional set of rules and possibilities.
Some of the most popular variations are Blackjack Switch, Spanish 21, European Blackjack, Double Exposure Blackjack and others. The difference in some versions when compared to the classic game is that they offer an optional side bet or bonuses in particular situations. Whereas the rules of others can be significantly altered and allow them to make moves which are not allowed otherwise such as switching cards or seeing both of the dealer’s cards. Logically, every variation has a different house edge which can differ from one casino to another if the rules are changed.
Nowadays more and more casinos expand their gaming business by developing online websites which feature most famous games and offer special deals and promotions. Thanks to the Internet, it is now possible for many players to enjoy most of the popular games in their favourite casinos, regardless of their location. Online casinos are becoming more and more popular due to the fact that they enable their users to experience Blackjack and many other games at the comfort of their home and save time and efforts going to the casino. Moreover, every reputable gaming house assures high level of protection and security to its players’ sensitive information and details which brings the needed peace of mind.
Many of the casino websites also offer online Blackjack tournaments which players can participate in and win very rewarding prizes, depending on the place they finish at. In these competitions they compete not only against the dealer but also against each other which makes the game much more exciting. Some casinos offer events which can last for days, whereas others are shorter in length. There are a number of different tournaments players can take part in depending on the casino, including Elimination, Guaranteed, Single Table Tournaments and others. It is now possible to put their skills and knowledge to the test against other Blackjack players online and have the chance to compete for great prizes.
Another very exciting feature of the online casinos is that most of them offer live Blackjack which allows players to receive a very authentic and genuine experience of the game. Some casinos use cutting-edge technologies which enables them to see the dealer in real time at the table as if they were there. It has never been so effortless to enjoy playing Blackjack in such an exciting way, regardless of the time and place.
Moreover, it is no secret that all of the brick and mortar casinos have a lot of distractions which can make focusing a very difficult task and when it comes to Blackjack, concentration is a must, especially for card counters. One of the many advantages of playing live Blackjack at a favourite online casino is that these distractions no longer exist and players can enjoy the game more as they will be left in peace to make up their mind. They can have a look at the rules of the game in advance and it is much easier to choose a game in a website than charting the tables in a huge casino.
Nowadays it is not only possible to choose where to play – online or in a brick and mortar casino – but also how to as many casinos have developed applications and online platforms which are suitable for a number of mobile devices. Blackjack fans can now enjoy their favourite game, using their mobile devices whenever and wherever they want. Most of them are user-friendly and are extremely easy to navigate. Usually, they are also free of charge and can be downloaded from most common online markets. Moreover, all of them are developed to meet players’ needs and to provide them with an extremely authentic experience which highly resembles the one gained in the brick and mortar casinos.
One of the most famous casino card games is Blackjack due to the fact that it offers players the incredible opportunity to win by putting their skills and knowledge to the test. A number of strategies have been developed in order to help them achieve the desired goal and make a profit in the long term. If players want to manage to become winners, they should be willing to dedicate considerable amount of time and efforts in order to learn the subtleties and rules of the game. In any case, Blackjack is extremely interesting and exciting card game which is worth playing due to its challenging set of rules and nature.