How to Win at Blackjack

How to win blackjack guide

If you have read our previous articles on how to play blackjack and the rules of the game, then you might be wondering if there is a foolproof blackjack strategy that can help you improve your game and ultimately help you win money.

If you are looking to beat the game of blackjack at a casino or mobile casino, look no further, as we have created a Blackjack Cheat Sheet designed to help you win. Read on to learn more.

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Table of Contents

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Top strategies for winning at blackjack

The basic blackjack playing strategy combines a set of rules that inform you of the best way to play every hand dealt to you when the only information available to you is your hand and the dealer’s upcard. This strategy is mathematically correct and maximises the chance of you bagging a lot of money whilst minimising the amount you lose. The reason we are saying that it’s mathematically correct is that blackjack is ultimately a mathematical game with a fixed set of rules.

Here’s a recap of the terminology used in blackjack:

  • Hit: Ask for another card. You can ask for a hit until you decide to stand or else bust
  • Stand: Decide that you take no additional cards. The dealer can then play this hand
  • Double Down: Double the amount of your bet + an extra card + stand
  • Split: If you have two cards of the same value, you can split them into two separate hands. The bet is the same as the original bet so essentially doubling your bet.
  • Surrender: You may surrender half your bet if you think you are likely to lose the hand.
  • Insurance: If the dealer’s up card is an Ace, you can take insurance, which is a bet that is half the value of your original bet. You are essentially wagering on the dealer getting a blackjack.
Blackjack cheat sheet

The dealer’s hand

  • The dealer automatically wins if you bust or surrender
  • He also wins if his total hand value is closest to 21
  • If the dealer has a total of 16 or less, he must hit
  • If the dealer has a total of 18 or more, then he must stand
  • If the dealer has a hard 17, he must stand
  • If the dealer has a soft 17, the dealer must hit

Top 9 ways to win at blackjack

With most online casino games, a player at a blackjack table is fighting the house edge. Unless you are an expert, you might end up losing your bankroll in the long run. There are, however, a number of ways which can help you secure the best chance of winning and increasing your bankroll. If the right cards roll your way, you can also expect to make a neat profit. Here are our top 9 ways to boost your bankroll at blackjack.

Top 9 ways to win at blackjack

1. Find tables where the stakes suit your bankroll needs

This is a bit of a difficult situation, especially for players with smaller bankrolls, but if you carry out the necessary research regarding the casino you are playing at, you should be able to determine where the minimum stakes are.

Some casinos go as far as to give away free games during off-peak hours. Do some research and find the right casino with the right blackjack game for you.

2. Split Aces and Eights

If you have seen our blackjack cheat sheet, then you know that we always recommend splitting aces and eights. While it may appear a bad move to break up eights, it is still the most likely way to win and ultimately make a neat profit.

3. Dealer stands on Soft 17

You should always seek tables where the dealer stands on a Soft 17, as it can have a significant impact on your bankroll. When you have a dealer that stands on a Soft 17, it cuts the house edge significantly and thus making it slightly easier for you to win.

4. Stand when you have a hand that could bust against a dealer’s card

If the dealer has a face-up card of four, five or six, it would be best to stand especially if you have a weak hand.

So for example, if you have a hand made up of a 10 and a 2, there is circa a 70% probability that you could improve your hand but there is always a 30% chance of busting. Give the dealer the chance to bust and try again.

5. Pick a table that offers the double down option

There is also another rule that can help you reduce the house edge. While some casinos will allow you to double down with a 10 or 11, other casinos will let you double down on any two cards you like.

If you play this correctly, the double downs will swell your bankroll. Make sure you have a good strategy in place to reduce the house edge as much as possible.

6. Double down with any ace against the dealer’s six

One of the best times to take advantage of double downs is when you have an ace in hand and the dealer’s upcard is a six. You should whenever possible double down in this situation unless you have a soft 20.

If possible, also double down against the dealer’s 5 except when you have a soft 19 or 20.

7. Have a strategy in place

We have mentioned this time and time again. It’s always wise to have a basic strategy in place that you can refer to when you are playing blackjack. Having a strategy in place can help save your bankroll and can reinforce you into playing more correctly and to save you making costly mistakes.

8. Set your limits and stick to them

Once you are ready to play, try to set the amount of money you are willing to play and part with. Stick to this decision throughout the game.

If you are on a losing streak, don’t go chasing after your money. Once you have made this choice, be thankful as it will help you not fall into the trap of betting more than you can afford to.

9. Have a betting strategy in place

As with most casino games, you should always have a betting strategy in place so as to make sure that you increase the chances of leaving the table with more money. Betting systems such as the Martingale and Paroli are used by many players. These betting systems are based on mathematical progressions that help you recover most of your losses whilst also making sure you make a tight profit.

They tend to offer a bit of assistance to blackjack players, but they have also been created with specific bankrolls in mind. So if you have a rather smaller bankroll, these betting strategies won’t work for you and you will have to find a better system.

Betting patterns in blackjack

Betting the same amount for each hand is a smart decision, especially if you are new to the game. However, once you start to comprehend how to deal with various hands, you might want to change your betting patterns.

What you must keep in mind when you size your bet in blackjack, is the outcome of your previous hand. Alter your bet size to get the most out of your winning steaks as well as to deduct your losses when you’re on a losing streak.

It is up to you to decide whether you want to be a more conservative player or else a more aggressive one.

Betting patterns in blackjack

Cautious approach

If you want to take the cautious approach, then your betting pattern is built to boost your wins. Every time you snatch a win, you must raise your bet and play again. This is so you never bet money you can’t afford to lose and to always survive even if you experience a losing streak.

Martingale system

If on the other hand, you’re a bit of a daredevil, then you can opt for the Martingale system, which invites you to double the size of your bet each time you lose. The risk of losing some big money here is quite high but you only need to win one hand to secure yourself a nice profit.

Personally, we prefer taking the conservative approach since the Martingale system is a tad too risqué.

Surrender

Out of the many options available to blackjack tables, surrender is probably the least used. The surrender option has vanished from various UK casinos since many players barely used it.

Many players think that surrendering should not even be an option in blackjack. Truth is that surrendering is potentially one of the best weapons you have at the table. When used appropriately, surrendering is one of a few options that help reduce the house edge.

When to surrender in blackjack

Surrender is the option which gives the player the opportunity to give up their hand to forfeit half of their original bet after the dealer checks to see if they have blackjack. When one opts for this option, the dealer collects half the original bet and the round is over.

There is another option known as early surrender. This option allows you to give up your hand prior to the dealer checking if he has a blackjack. This, in turn, helps reduce the house edge even farther. Be warned though that few UK online casinos offer this option.

The rules of surrender and when to surrender

You must only surrender provided the right opportunity has presented itself. Using the Surrender option properly helps reduce the house edge by 0.07%.

Since the game of blackjack is a game of percentages and edges, the only way you can win consistently would be to use any means at your disposal to reduce the house advantage. It is for this very reason, that you need to know when to use surrender wisely.

There is a strategy for using surrender and which is easy to apply. But first, let’s first discuss the riles of surrender.

In most casinos, the following rules apply to surrendering:

  • A player can only surrender any two-card total
  • You can’t opt for surrender after you’ve acted on a hand

The following is the strategy you can apply when it comes to surrendering:

  • You can surrender a hard total of 16 against the dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace
  • You can also surrender a hard total fo 15 against the dealer’s 10 or Ace

Those are the only two scenarios when playing multiple-deck blackjack when you should surrender your hand. Every other hand should be played by following basic blackjack strategy.

Without a doubt, most casino players play at a casino with the aim of winning.  Maybe you’re in it for the experience or perhaps because you prefer a specific table game, but the majority agree that one plays at a casino to win.

If you have a bad strategy, act greedy and perhaps are careless with your decisions, it can end up costing you big in the long run. Work hard to avoid the below deadly blackjack mistakes so you can win more games.

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How these blackjack mistakes can ruin your game

Read below how to avoid making some common mistakes that can ruin your whole game.

Deadly mistakes in blackjack & how to avoid them

Deadly mistake #1: Not knowing the rules of the blackjack variant

This might be a no-brainer for some, but some players don’t realise that each blackjack variant comes with its own set of rules. The concept of the game might be the same but the rules tend to be different. Before you sit down to play a specific blackjack variant, take your time to go through the rules and to see if it’s more profitable for you in the long run.

For example, when can you double after a split? Will the dealer surrender at 17? Do you have the surrender option?

It is up to you to go over the rules of the various blackjack tables and to find one that is most favourable for you.

Deadly mistake #2: Playing without having a strategy in place

If you don’t have a basic strategy in place, then you are committing one of the most grievous mistakes in blackjack. You need to read books, articles or else go through our strategy guides right here at JohnSlots.  Don’t play by guessing or basing your decisions on gut instincts.

Although it is a game of luck, you still need to play your hand so use a strategy to make sure you make the best decision possible.

Deadly mistake #3: Not thinking clearly and sharply

Since the game of blackjack is a mathematical game based on odds and strategy, you need to be thinking quite clearly to make the right decisions. Avoid alcohol or playing after a long and tiring day at work.

You could try card counting if you’re playing live blackjack but most importantly, only play when you know you can concentrate so you can keep track of the game as it progresses.

Deadly mistake #4: Not knowing when to quit

When you start to make a profit, that’s the time to walk away. Many blackjack players keep on playing even when they start to lose. There is this common misconception that the more you bet, the more likely you are to increase your chances of winning. Don’t fall for this error.

Deadly mistake #5: Making bad assumptions

Everyone should know that a house edge rarely alters throughout the course of a game. If you are using a betting progression system, you are placing yourself in a position where you must keep on raising bets. Don’t place yourself in such a vulnerable position as in the long run you are unable to beat the house edge.

Although betting progression is a fun concept, unless you are card counting, your chances of losing are bigger.

Deadly mistake #6: Side betting

Side bets including insurance bets come in various forms and figures and usually tend to cost quite a bit if you keep placing them. Although the prospect is attractive especially for newbies, the house edge on these bets is much higher. You might win a few of these side bets, but the chances are much lower.

Since they don’t cost as much as normal bets, you might get tempted to place them even though you are losing. In the long run, these type of bets will deplete your bankroll and hinder you from making a profit.

Deadly mistake #7: Blaming bad luck

When you find yourself in a situation where you are having several bad hands, control your emotions and do not harass the casino dealer or other players. Try to concentrate and stay focused on the game.

There is no point in arguing with the dealer. Just make good choices from the start and pick a table that has more favourable rules for the sake of your bankroll.

These common mistakes can be easily avoided if you apply a basic betting strategy and concentrate on the game at hand. If you need to hone your skills, you will soon realise that blackjack mistakes can be simply avoided.

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