5 things you should do when playing online blackjack

Profile Picture: Simon Young

April 7th, 2020

Blackjack may be simple to play, but its popularity lies in the fact that some basic blackjack strategies can significantly improve your chances of making a profit. Sure, the turn of a card is down to luck, but by reading on, you’ll see how you can mitigate potential misfortune.

Here are five things that will make your blackjack games more successful.

1. Understand the probabilities of what might happen next

Unfortunately, none of us have X-ray vision, allowing us to see the value of the next card before anyone else. But once you accept that a card with a value of 10 is most likely to be the next card, you’re already ahead of most people.

Now you can better guesstimate how to play your hand based on two factors:

  • The current value of your face-up cards and what might happen if you took another (i.e., if it was a 10, would you go over 21 and bust)
  • You get to see one of the dealer’s cards. What would his total be based on the assumption the other, face-down card was a ten? If he showed a six, and you assume the second card is a ten, you must reason he has a total of 16, and will need to take another card which, most likely, would mean he busts.

With this knowledge, you improve your chances of winning more hands than before, thereby improving your profit. You also open the door to some flamboyant betting tactics that will help you even more.

2. Doubling down and splitting when it makes sense

When you receive your two cards, you have options on how to proceed. You can stand and not take another card, or hit and receive another. You can also double down, which means doubling your initial stake before receiving your third card.

This tactic is about getting more money on the table when you consider you have a strong chance of winning the hand. Let’s say you have an eight and a three, making 11, and the dealer is showing a five. The chances are you will receive a 10, making 21, and the dealer will get a mediocre total. So, it makes sense in this case to double your bet.

Another betting option is splitting, when your two hole cards are the same value. By splitting, you effectively play two hands at once after adding a second, identical stake. Don’t split two 10s, since you already have 20, and likely the winning hand. But you can split most cards if the dealer has a weak face card like three to six. It’s another good way of increasing your stake on the table in the expectation of a win.

3. Learn the value of standing

There’s always a temptation to take another card to see if you can nudge closer to 21. But by doing so, you risk going bust. Using your knowledge of the probability of the dealer’s face-down card being a 10, you can sometimes stand with any two cards valued over 11 (there’s no risk in taking another card with 11 or under).

If the dealer shows a two, three, four, five, or six, the chances are the face-down card is a 10, meaning the total becomes 12, 13, 14, 15, or 16. And that means the dealer must take another card, risking going over 21.

Sometimes, therefore, it makes sense to sit back and let the dealer go bust – even if your cards only make 12.

4. Play to your bankroll

When you sit down to play blackjack, play within your means. There’s no point in having $100 and betting $25 a hand. If luck is against you, you’ll be bust in no time, and that’s no good for anyone.

Instead, if you have $100 in your online blackjack account, play for $5 a hand. That way, you can soak up an unlucky streak and still be in the game. If you do well, and your bankroll shoots up, then you can slowly increase your stakes accordingly. Just remember to drop down again if need be.

5 Above all, have fun!

While chasing profits is all well and good, the critical component of playing online casino games is enjoyment; they’re meant to be fun.

Playing wisely and reducing your chances of loss is one way of having fun. But there is another reason to keep your spirits high. If you allow yourself to get down, to be angered by the turn of a card, then you will begin to play irrationally. You will not perform to your optimum strategy, and your losses could spiral.

Stay cheerful, play smart, and accept that luck can sometimes go against you.

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