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How to win at blackjack: The complete guide

Profile Picture: Simon Young

Simon Young

December 23rd, 2021

It’s one of the best-known games in a casino, but one of the most misunderstood. While just about everyone knows the basics of playing blackjack, only a few take the trouble to understand some elementary strategy rules that will significantly impact your profits.

Blackjack is a rare beast in a casino – it’s a game where a small amount of skill goes a long way. Other popular games at TwinSpires Casino like roulette, baccarat, and all slots, are about luck, pure and simple.

And while you cannot influence which card is dealt next from the blackjack deck, you can reduce the house edge to a wafer-thin 0.5% by following the basic blackjack strategy.

How to Win at Blackjack

The key to winning at blackjack is understanding some probability. The math isn’t that technical, so don’t worry. All you must remember is that, with every ten, jack, queen, and king having the value of ten, there are 16 cards in every 52-card deck worth ten.

With that in mind, you can always assume that it is most likely that the next card the dealer turns over will be ten. It’s not foolproof, of course, but already you are narrowing down the probability of what might happen in a hand.

You get two cards at the start of each of those hands, while the dealer gets one card face-up and one face-down. You have the unknown dilemma because you must now play out your hand based on incomplete information about what the dealer’s strength is.

But that’s where your reasoning comes in. First, always assume the dealer’s downcard is a ten. Now you can second-guess how strong the dealer’s hand is and play your own accordingly.

Dealer is strong

If the dealer shows an eight, nine, or ten, then you assume they have 18, 19, or 20. In this case, you have to be more aggressive with your own hand, taking another card to try to inch closer to 21. You would not waste chips doubling down in this situation, and it’s futile splitting in most cases because then you spend twice as much and still could be well behind.

Okay, you might bust trying to get a higher total, but this is the correct play in the long term.

Dealer is weak

On the flip side, if the dealer’s upcard is weak, like a three, four, five, or six, you must assume they are sitting on an awkward total of 13, 14, 15, or 16. In any of these cases, they will have to take a third card, and you can see how that will likely send them to Bust Town, surging over 21.

You can be far more confident in your own play in this happy circumstance. Should you have a dangerous total starting hand of anything from 12 upwards, why risk taking another card at all? Stand, even on 12 or 13, and wait to see if the dealer busts as you predict.

If your starting total is 11 or fewer, you can double down on way more hands than you might normally consider. Got a total of eight? Why not double here, likely get a ten and stand on 18? If, as you hope, the dealer goes on to bust, you now win twice as much as you might otherwise have done.

How to Win Online Blackjack: Doubling Down and Splitting

It’s tempting to double down and split as much as you can as you might double your reward. But what goes up must come down, and you are just as likely to lose twice as much.

The key to successfully playing blackjack online is to follow a basic strategy chart, which you can download from the internet. This will tell you the ideal play to make, covering all possible combinations of your two starting cards against the dealer’s upcard.

You will be surprised by how few times you are recommended to make a double-down play, while splitting is not a wise move that much at all. And talking of splitting – never split two tens because it’s more than likely you have the winning hand already.

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How to Win at Blackjack Every Time

We wish we could promise that following the basic strategy is how to always win blackjack. But that would be wrong. The house edge, although small, is always there. We can say with some confidence that by following a solid strategy, you will have some winning sessions.

But to do so, there are some more rules to follow:

Do not play blackjack side bets

It sure looks exciting to play side bets in blackjack, and indeed, these can help pass the time over a long playing session. But the sad fact is that side bets, whether it is Perfect Pairs or 21 + 3, are a losing proposition. Yes, you might win a nice payout once in a while, but it will drain your cash over time.

Don’t take insurance

Dealer showing an ace upcard? You will be offered an insurance bet to minimize the risk of them turning over blackjack. Do not accept insurance! Like side bets, insurance will cost you more than it’s worth over time. Steer clear.

Enjoy Winning at Blackjack at TwinSpires Casino

Armed with his basic blackjack strategy information and holding a blackjack hands chart you printed off the internet, you are now in a far better position to understand how to win at blackjack.

First, though, you need an account at TwinSpires Casino to play. So sign up today and make your first deposit. When you’re ready, head over to the cool online platform, you’ll find plenty of blackjack tables, including live dealer games. Good luck!

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