Blackjack – Advanced

Blackjack – Advanced Tips and Strategies

Although Blackjack is a very easy game to learn, it is incredibly hard to master it. In fact, you’ll have to spend plenty of days practicing if you want to be able to make the right decision every single time. That’s a goal that most of us naturally don’t aspire to, but it can never hurt to take a closer look at the most popular casino card game.

If you are unsure of the rules of Blackjack, or how to play this game, take a quick look at our beginners blackjack guide before continuing with this more advanced guide.

Blackjack Strategies

The mathematics that are underpinning Blackjack are so complicated that it’s nearly impossible to figure everything out on your own. Thankfully, it isn’t necessary to do that, as it’s now possible to find the correct play to every single Blackjack situation by simply finding the right table on the Internet and following its directions. This is easy to do if you’re playing online, as you can simply open the right table in another tab of your web browser and consult it whenever you’re dealt a new hand. However, you’ll need to memorize everything if you want to be able to play perfectly when you next sit down to a Blackjack table in a real casino.

It’s also worth noting that nearly every single rules adjustment modifies the optimal strategy in ways that might not be immediately obvious, so you should never play at tables that use non-standard rules unless you know all the details and subtleties. And, if you’re completely serious about learning everything about Blackjack, you should also take a look at how the house edge changes with different rules and different number of decks.

A Simple Solution

Remembering the Blackjack tables is hard, while using them online takes a lot of fun out of the game. Thankfully, if you’re content with not being absolutely perfect all the time – and we suspect that most of you are – it’s possible to just adopt a somewhat simplistic strategy that will nonetheless significantly reduce the edge the dealer will have over you. You’ll just need to follow these simple rules:

1) If the dealer’s face card is 7 or higher, you should be hitting until you have at least a hard 17. As far as soft combinations are concerned, you should have at least 18 before stopping to hit.

2) If the dealer’s face card is 6 or lower, you should be hitting until your total is 12 or more. Stand once you get there.

3) Double down when your total is a hard 10 or 11, but only if the dealer’s face card is 9 or lower. You can also double down with a hard 9, but only if the dealer’s face card is 6 or lower.

4) Always split eights and aces, regardless of what the dealer’s face card is. Don’t split any of the other pairs. (If you don’t mind this rule being slightly more complex, you should also split 2s, 3s, 6s, 7s and 9s, but only if the dealer’s face card is lower than 6).

5) Always find a game that gives 3:2 odds for blackjacks. This final rule is straightforward enough, but its value shouldn’t be underestimated. The difference between the 3:2 payout and the 6:5 payout is just too big for you to ignore if you’re at least somewhat serious about Blackjack. Put simply, you’re throwing money away by accepting the 6:5 odds.

Card Counting in Online Blackjack

Playing Blackjack in a brick-and-mortar casino has always been quite intriguing due to the fact that players could beat the game by counting cards, which is something that was put into the spotlight thanks to the famous movie 21. Can card counting be used when playing Blackjack online to ensure big profits, however?

Well, the answer to that is negative, although one needs to dig a bit deeper in order to understand why. The main point is that you simply can’t count cards if the deck gets shuffled after each hand, which is what happens when it comes to the traditional machine-controlled Blackjack games. However, the deck doesn’t get shuffled after each hand in the live casino Blackjack games that are so popular nowadays, so why exactly doesn’t card counting work there? Well, the thing is that the cards are still getting shuffled way too often (typically after a half of the shoe has been dealt).

This all means that you can decrease the house edge by using card counting when playing the live casino Blackjack games, but you’ll never get anywhere close to the results that one can typically get in a real casino. That said, if you’ve ever wanted to try card counting, you can certainly use these online live games to get a lot of cheap practice in before you hit the real tables. After all, you can get a game whenever you want without even having to leave your house – and the minimal stakes in online casinos are also usually lower than the minimal stakes in brick-and-mortar casinos.

Side Betting

Most online Blackjack games offer a number of side bets that players can place, with the so-called insurance side bet being the most common fixture. There’s also the “perfect pairs” side bet that allows you to bet on your initial hand creating a pair and the “21+3” side bet that allows you to bet on your first two cards and the dealer’s hand creating a flush, straight, or three-of-a-kind poker hand when put together. Other side bets are fairly rare when it comes to online Blackjack, although we guess that we’ll see more getting introduced in the near future.

But are these bets worth it? Well, if you want to make things more exciting and if you’re playing just for fun, there’s nothing wrong with placing a side bet whenever you’re feeling lucky. However, if you’re concerned with the mathematics, we can tell you that going for them is almost never the optimal play, simply because the odds are stacked against you.

That said, there are some exceptional situations in which you might seriously consider placing a side bet or two. For example, if you’re playing a live casino Blackjack game while practicing your card counting skills, you might get into a spot in which you just know that the likelihood of the dealer drawing a blackjack is fairly high – and that’s where an insurance bet will very much be in order. Placing the insurance side bet whenever you have a blackjack in order to ensure a profit for the given hand can also be used to reduce the variance, which can come in handy if you’re just trying to complete a rollover requirement.

Bonuses and Comp Points

In order to make this short guide complete, we should also examine what’s arguably the most exciting thing when it comes to online Blackjack – the bonuses and other promotions that online casinos offer. The only tip that we can give you here is simple – always fish around for the best deals that you can find.

It is very important to note that not all casinos will allow you to play blackjack (or some other games) while playing with a bonus.

Those casinos that do ‘permit’ blackjack to be played when clearing a bonus, will have reduced how much your wagers on this game count towards the rollover. If that does not make any sense to you have a look at our guide to casino bonus terms.

Not only will the time spent directly translate into more money to play with, but it will also give you a good idea about all the different online casinos out there.

Deposit bonuses are naturally the very first thing that will catch your eye, but you should also always check whether the online casino offers additional deposit bonuses on later deposits, especially if you are planning to stay for a longer time. Comp points and loyalty programs are what should interest you next – while some online casinos have multi-tiered VIP programs that can give you access to exclusive perks and even dedicated customer support options, others will only give you a handful of comp points for every hand you play. To round things off, you might also want to just browse through all the promotional deals the given casino has on offer in order to get a feel for how it caters to fans of Blackjack. Some – like BetVictor – certainly care about that game more than others.

It also needs to be noted that you should always check the terms and conditions of every single bonus offer before you dive into it. Most importantly, you should check whether Blackjack counts for the rollover terms or whether you’ll have to complete them by playing some of the other games, as many online casinos seem to feel that it’s just too easy for players to complete rollovers by playing Blackjack.

For a guide to playing in ‘live’ online casinos check our Playing Blackjack at live online casinos guide.