One of rare casino games that actually demands a certain conscious engagement from the players, blackjack continues to fascinate gambling enthusiasts for centuries now. With a long history, a straightforward set of rules, a healthy choice of available variants, an attractive winning potential and a classy reputation the game of 21 is one of the all-time casino favorites.
Now, learning how to play blackjack is an interesting subject, especially when you have in mind the different types of players getting in touch with the game. Some of them are pure amateurs, only looking for something to pass the time and do a bit of casino action for recreational purposes. Some are half-serious about it, willing to learn a great deal about proper blackjack behavior, game rules and game strategy – enough to live a positive casino experience and even achieve a considerable win here and there. Lastly, there are gamblers who are determined to become pro blackjack players, skilled and consistent winning blackjack players.
A lot of how your blackjack experience is going to be depends on your own personal attitude towards gambling and the game itself. If you’re playing just for fun and knowing the basics of it is enough to meet your ambitions, then carry on, have fun, and make sure you don’t place bets too big for your budget. However, if you have a more aspiring perspective on playing casino blackjack you’ll have to work on becoming good at it. With a healthy amount of dedication and will power, you won’t have to waste your money and numb your brain on instant casino games – you’ll become a skilled bettor playing at an expert level with a successful winning record. Even so, you don’t have to go through an excruciating process or adapting to the gameplay – blackjack can be easy if you really like it. Still, a little training and practicing, with a few tricks here and there, will make you enjoy blackjack the most and bring you the title of a good blackjack player.
A Three-Step Method to Master Blackjack
As any other skill in life, playing blackjack for real money needs to be learned, and, once learned, the craft needs to be developed and perfected if you wish it to be meaningful and applicable. Understanding the importance of your own enrollment is the first initiative; it precedes the three steps required to become a proficient gambler. No one is going to make you do anything you don’t want to, so you yourself are the only source of motivation you’re ever going to have. Only the desire to become a skilled and recurring winner will keep you on the right track, and you’ll be able to go through hardships and intense moments during learning and practicing your signature blackjack moves. We’re not saying it will always be easy, but it is certainly possible to reach your goal. Once you do, it will be psychologically and financially rewarding achievement for you.
Don’t get scared – we won’t be overly methodical just because we’re getting ready to present the three methods needed to master blackjack to our readers. It is simply an easy way to give an understandable structure to our theory. So what are the three steps you need to take in order to become good, and afterwards better and better at blackjack?
First, learn the rules of the game. It is pointless to think that you can overthrow experienced players if you don’t even know how the game works. Learning blackjack rules is a matter of hours, maybe dozens of hours, but hours nonetheless, which means you can afford it and it won’t disrupt your existing dally routine. If you think you know every detail about the game, go back once again, just in case, and study the less probable situations as well – there will always be a moment when such knowledge will come in handy as long as you plan to practice blackjack for a solid while.
Secondly, develop a strategy by adopting some of the basic strategies already available and combining it with your personal preferences and your established budget. For those who plan on applying their dexterity at land-based casinos the possibility of mastering card counting is always an option. Just think about the waves of satisfaction covering you from head to toe when you score a winning hand without being noticed by the dealer. For the record, card counting isn’t illegal, only frowned upon by the casino management. And understandably so – it gives the players an upper hand against the house. If, however, you plan on placing your real money blackjack bets online, then turn to books and the internet for useful information on selecting an adequate blackjack strategy.
Ultimately, the final stage of your blackjack education would be to practice until you drop. The third phase doesn’t have to come as third in the basic sense of sequence; you can practice and study at the same time. As a matter of fact, the sooner you start practicing, the better. At the very beginning you should try out different blackjack tables online for free. A lot of internet casinos offer their table games in demo mode, so you don’t have to risk any funds just yet. You’ll be playing standard blackjack variants, only without depositing any money. When you do start wagering some finances of your own, you should always begin with tables that accept low stakes. And don’t play for too long. One hour at several different tables will be enough for one training session. This is also where you need to see which variants suit you best – those played with one deck of cards or multiple decks. You may need to practice for a couple of months before you feel the first meaningful boost of confidence and witness a considerable progress in your skill. Later on, you can increase the level of your bets if you want to.
We can’t stress this enough – understanding the rules of the game perfectly is essential to your future outcomes. You have to start from there, if you want to get anywhere with blackjack. Here’s a quick lesson on blackjack rules.
Regular, classic blackjack is played with a single deck of cards. A blackjack player needs to know what the card values are. In 21, tens and face cards count as 10 while aces count as either 1 or 11 (the player chooses which value the card will assume in a specific hand). The rest of the cards remain equal to their face value. The gameplay involves players and a dealer, and players don’t play against themselves. Instead, they all play each against the dealer’s hand. Bets are placed prior to cards being dealt. Each player receives two cards, and the dealer as well, but one is placed face up. According to this layout, a player can see his/her cards and one of the dealer’s which should be the basis of his/her next move. There are two options. The player can opt to ask for another card, which is called ‘hit’ or ‘draw’ , or not to ask another card, which is known as ‘not-draw’ or ‘stand’.
What the player needs to have in mind is the game objective – in order to win one has to have a hand as closest to a score of 21 without surpassing that limit. A card count that totals more than 21 is an instant loss. So this would be the most important decision in the game – adding another card to your hand or sticking with the hand and score you already have and possibly beat the dealer with it.
We’ve mentioned that wagers get placed at the very beginning of the session. Other than basic bets, players are sometimes allowed to place additional, so called ‘side bets’, depending on the blackjack variant. The most common special bets are ‘double down’, ‘split pairs’ and the ‘insurance’ bet.
Basic Beginner Strategy
Surely, you’ll need a more in-depth knowledge of the rest of the subtleties of the game, but once you have that covered you can start working on your tactics. Before you can apply any of the strategies available online or via specialized books, you should be aware of the existence of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ hands in blackjack. The reason for this is because most of the strategy charts you’ll encounter in your research will be based on different situations when a player has a soft hand or a hard hand.
A soft hand is the one that contains an ace counted as 11 (for example, an ace and a 3 make up a soft 14). As opposed to soft hands, the hard hand contains an ace counted as 1 or doesn’t contain an ace at all (for example, a 7 and an 8 would make a hard 15). Moving on to basic strategy rules, we assembled some of the most common and most beneficial suggestions you should adopt and apply in your game if you hope to get better results. They do not make up a perfect strategy that works every single time, but will surely help in a majority of situation, offering you the best possible decisions under given circumstances.
- Focus on the dealer's up card. If it is 7 or higher, draw as many cards as you need to have a hard count of at least 17, or a soft 18.
- Again, your action will depend on the dealer's up card. If it’s 6 or lower, as for more cards until you have a hand that counts at least 12.
- Choose the ‘double down’ option when your initial two cards total 10 or 11, but only if the dealer has a 9 or lower as the face-up card.
- Use the ‘split pairs’ option on aces and eights exclusively, and don’t split other pairs.
These are several relevant rules that aren’t that easy to memorize, and also simple to apply. We could call it a beginner system. With a full blackjack basic strategy you could reduce the house edge even more that with this set of basic guidelines.
Even when you complete your studies of blackjack strategic charts and different rules for different variations, your passion for the game shouldn’t be diminished. On the contrary, that’s the moment when your motivation peaks and you feel like you can conquer all the blackjack tables of the world. Instead of feeling overconfident, which can lead to reckless mistakes, channel your enthusiasm about blackjack towards discovering new tricks and tips that can additionally boost your play and your casino balance.
The best tips you could ever ask for are two of the most rational advices circling around the blackjack community. The first one states that you should always place bets that are in accordance with your budget. When the limits of the table don’t correspond with your bankroll, the chances of you enjoying the game and reaching a successful outcome are considerably smaller. In this case, there isn’t a strategy that could help you make a sizeable profit and improve your winning odds.
The other tip basically points out the benefits of playing blackjack online in comparison to playing at traditional casino floors. It is cheaper to play online, because you don’t have to spend money on transport and tipping the dealer. Instead you can use that money for wagering and enhancing your possibilities. Aside from the obvious convenience, playing blackjack online can open a lot of doors that lead to lucrative bonuses. Welcome bonuses at internet casinos can double, and even triple your initial bankroll which gives you great potential for taking over the blackjack tables in the lobby. The only thing you may miss when playing blackjack online is card counting.
We’ll give you and extra advice – chose a blackjack variant that best fits your player profile. Perfect Pairs, Super 21, Classic or Progressive Blackjack; it makes no difference to the casino, but makes a big difference to you. Stick with the title you like the most and know most about and you’ll surely become a better blackjack player than you ever could have imagined.