This means that winning a card game by employing a mental strategy or skillfully using the information you have is not an issue. Considering a player bases his strategy on the assumption that a value card will be dealt in the next hand, this assumption becomes stronger when it is backed by the greater percentage. Analysis of blackjack side bets 9: A typical user of a card-counting system usually places a minimum bet against the table when the deck is still fresh. Deck penetration refers to the percentage of the cards used before a reshuffle occurs. With the exception of states like New Jersey, all other casinos reserve the right to ask you to leave, sometimes to never return. I drew a queen for 21, and the dealer turned up a 9 for
How to Play Specific Blackjack Hands
Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in the world, due to its simplicity, fast pace and low house advantage against skilled players. The dealer typically plays exactly the same way, regardless of what your hand might be.
The dealer always hits on 16 or less and stands on a hard A hard 17 is when the dealer has a combination of cards that add up to 17 points that do not include an ace. A soft 17 is when the dealer has an ace and a 6. Because the ace can be worth one or 11 points, the dealer does not take the risk of going over 21 when hitting on a soft The two possible ways to beat the dealer are to play with perfect strategy while bonuses or comps are in place that makes up for the expected losses, or to count cards.
Counting cards is not possible at standard online blackjack games, but it is at least theoretically possible at live tables that use streaming video of a real dealer. So what exactly are liberal rules? The most liberal of the blackjack tables out there will do all of the following:. Of course, casinos never offer tables that favor the player or tell them how to win with blackjack strategy cards.
They always arrange their combinations of rules and payouts such that they maintain at least a small advantage. Each of the rules listed above actually gives the player a small boost to their expected return. On the other hand, the rules listed below tweak the expected return in favor of the casino:. A reasonable expectation of house edge for any given blackjack game you encounter at a casino is somewhere between 0.
If you take some time to examine the chart, you will notice that it is really quite simple to follow. The dealer only has 10 card values you need to track, ranging from the deuce to the ace. Looking at the blackjack chart, the blackjack strategy card tells us to stand whenever you have 17 points or more in your hand, regardless of what the dealer is showing for an up card. It also says to hit if the dealer is showing a 7 or higher value card on the initial deal.
After all, the goal is not necessarily to get 21, but to beat the dealer in whatever way you can. Mastering the game of blackjack does not stop at just basic strategy. That only helps you choose when to hit or stand.
Highly skilled 21 players know that splitting cards is a great way to maximize your profit potential. A blackjack guide helps you to know the best times to split cards. Splitting cards requires a disciplined approach to prevent breaking up strong hands—especially if the dealer likely has a weaker hand.
If you have any pair of 10s, Jacks, Queens or Kings, the strategy chart says to leave them alone and force the dealer to beat you. Unless the dealer gets 21, you have a great chance of winning on the 20 points you got on the deal.
Likewise, the chart says to always split a pair of Aces and a pair of eights, no matter what the dealer is showing. Another good example is when you have a pair of nines—totaling 18 points. In that case, you would split your cards and hope to improve at least one and preferably both hands.
If just one beats the dealer, you get a push. If both do, you win a lot more cash. Another advanced blackjack strategy is the double down, which gives you a chance to double your wager and potential winnings after the initial deal.
The idea is for you to lay an additional wager, but you can only get one more dealt card. With the double down, when the first two cards in your hand total 11 points, the strategy card says you should always double your wager. If the next card gives you 21 points, you likely will win. When your hand totals 10 points and the dealer is showing a 10 or Ace, the strategy card says to simply take another card, rather than double down.
Yet, if the dealer is showing a nine or lower card, and you have a hand worth 10 points, the double down is absolutely the right move.
In fact, choosing to not double down in that situation would be the wrong choice. In such a case, not doubling down would be a big mistake, as you likely would win much more often than lose in that situation. Those who count cards in blackjack can find doubling down to be particularly useful. Many casinos have a surrender play that cuts your potential loss in half after the deal. The surrender is one that players find useful when dealt a poor hand, and the dealer is showing an Ace or card worth 10 points.
In that case, you can choose to surrender half your bet, but exactly when you can do this may vary between games. Some casinos allow an early surrender, which you do before the dealer checks to see if they have a blackjack. There is also the late surrender, which you can do after the dealer checks to see if he or she has Knowing the right time to surrender requires using proper blackjack strategy. When playing a single-deck game, the time to consider whether or not to surrender is when your initial hand totals between 15 and 17 points.
If you have 15 points or 17 and the dealer is showing a hard 17 or more, the strategy says to surrender. You would not surrender, however, if the dealer shows a soft 17 or lower hand. Yet, if you have 16 points, the strategy indicates you should surrender if the dealer is showing 10 or more points. Like all blackjack strategies, this also adjusts for the number of decks in use.
Another advanced play that can affect blackjack strategy is buying of insurance to protect yourself against the dealer hitting When the dealer is showing an Ace as the up card, you can lay up to half your original wager on whether or not the dealer has a point card in the hole.
If the dealer does have blackjack, then you get paid 2 to 1 on your insurance wager. A lot of players of 21 will choose to buy insurance if they get a hand worth 19 or 20 points off the deal, but the dealer is showing an ace. They view buying insurance as a way to protect a strong hand, but you still could lose both wagers, or wind up with a push and a loss. If your hand is worth 19 points, and the dealer has a 9 in the hole, you would lose your bet, as well as the insurance.
The only time it is useful is to card counters who are deep into counting off multiple decks, a situation that is not accounted for by strategy cards.
Card-counting is a strategy that makes it possible to beat certain blackjack games if the conditions are right. Movies often inaccurately portray this as memorizing every card that has already come out of the deck. There are actually a number of different count techniques, but the gist of all of them is to keep a count of how many high-value, middle-value and low-value cards have already come out.
When lots of high-value cards are still in the deck, the player has a statistical advantage over the dealer, since their probability of hitting a natural blackjack is increased which pays out more than a standard winning hand. They are also mathematically more likely to be successful when doubling down, and the dealer is more likely to bust when being forced to hit on a 12 or higher.
The most basic counting technique has players add one unit to the count for when a low card comes out, and subtract one unit when a high card 10 and face cards comes out. The 7 to 9 cards are considered neutral value and not tracked. As the count value gets higher, the player has more of an advantage and bets higher.
This blackjack strategy chart works well with the most popular game variations found in most online casinos. The cost in errors is higher for that strategy than it is for those in which the dealer stands. Again, a combination of card counting and basic strategy turns blackjack into a positive expectation game. This is a survey of live dealer blackjack, so the details of complicated card counting strategies is well beyond our scope here.
Even our advice on basic strategy is rudimentary and should be supplemented with further study. Of all strategies to beat Blackjack, card counting is the most widely known. At a basic level, this means tracking the high and low cards, then increasing your bets when the deck is in your favor. In a live dealer online blackjack game, counting is almost impossible. For a start, there are decks in play, which are shuffled and exchanged too frequently to get a true count.
In addition, sudden increases in your stakes will be very obvious, and team-play easy to track. Instead of worrying about card counting and similar tricks, you will do far better by finding a casino with a generous welcome bonus and ongoing promotions or rewards.
Many live dealer Blackjack games offer side bets, for example, Perfect Pairs. While these can add some extra interest to the deal, and potentially get you a big payout, you should be aware that the house has a large edge in these side-games. Even better, Live Dealer games powered by Evolution gaming offer dedicated live studio support. The standard blackjack game operated by Evolution Gaming allows for seven players at the main table , and includes the following base rules, house edge, and other specifications: Decks in Play 8 Decks.
Blackjack Pays 3 to 2. Dealer Stands on All 17s Yes. Evolution Gaming offers just the standard blackjack game but mixes things up through the inclusion of several optional wagers and other features. Allows players to bet along with the seven primary seats at any table. In essence, Bet Behind simply expands a table from seven players to an endless amount, which nullifies wait lists and other inconveniences. When betting behind, players simply place wagers on any seat in the game, and when that player turns a winner, you do as well.
Players can place side wagers on whether or not their first two cards will form various pairs. Pre-Decision speeds up the game immensely. Today, Playtech hosts Live Dealer streaming sessions from a studio in Riga, Latvia, which opened in , along with their original Manila, the Philippines which debuted in The Latvian-based studio caters to European facing customers while the Manila-based studio serves Asian players. The standard blackjack game operated by Playtech allows for seven players at the main table, and includes the following base rules, house edge, and other specifications:.
The Perfect Pairs side bet is available, and players can bet behind. Also known as Ultimate Blackjack, this Playtech product simply allows for an unlimited number of players to bet on a single deal. Other software providers have their live dealers manually shuffle the cards, which can slow the game down somewhat. The standard blackjack game operated by NetEnt allows for seven players at the main table, and includes the following base rules, house edge, and other specifications: Decks in Play 6 Decks with Shuffling Machine.
Blackjack, and Common Deal Blackjack. The first game is standard issue blackjack using the rules described above while the second simply adds the unlimited bet behind option to allow for multiple players using the same deal.
The standard blackjack game operated by Microgaming allows for seven players at the main table, and includes the following base rules, house edge, and other specifications: Doubles only on 9, 10, and The only difference between the two games is that Playboy Blackjack uses the Playboy bunny dealers. In both games, players can bet behind, but no side bets are offered.
In blackjack, the player receives two cards deal face-down, so none of the other players at the table can see them. The dealer is dealt one card face-up the face card and one card face-down the hole card. Players must make a decision before the dealer, which provides the casino a house edge.
Players might bust out before the casino ever makes a decision. Blackjack strategy comes in with the decisions of whether to hit, stand, double, or split the two cards dealt. Luckily, gamblers have decades of research on the best plays for each card combination, according to each set of rules.
The research has been done by running computer simulations of millions upon millions of hands, to see which decisions are best for each card combination.
This research is printed out on easy-to-read basic strategy charts for each blackjack variant. A good blackjack player is going to memorize a basic strategy chart for Classic Blackjack. In almost any case, basic strategy does not beat the house edge, but it lowers the house edge using optimal play. Readers might be wondering what the house edge is. It is not the amount of money lost compared to total wagers. It is not the amount of money lost to the ending wager. After the initial bet, players might make wagers when the odds dictate they do so.
These additional wagers are variable for each new hand. The house edge is meant to determine how much a player will lose, so it is more accurate to base this calculation off the original bet. It should be noted that the house edge is assumed in most casino games.
Players should view gambling as a form of entertainment and the house edge as the price of admission for that entertainment. Because of the house edge, the longer the game continues, the more likely the casino is to win. The house edge is based on probability, but it is reliable enough that land-based casino companies invest billions into building new casinos with fancy hotels and showy attractions.
Of all casino games, though, blackjack has the lowest house edge. This low house edge has one major caveat: Also, the rules matter in blackjack, none more so than the deck size. Many blackjack rules affect the house edge of a game. Of all factors, the deck size affects the odds most. This is true for card counters, but also other blackjack players. Blackjack Hall of Fame inductee Arnold Snyder wrote,.
Deck penetration refers to the percentage of the cards used before a reshuffle occurs. This is why single-deck blackjack is best, all other rules being equal. The cards already played have a greater effect on future hands, but players can predict that effect better with a smaller deck. Deck penetration is why online blackjack ruins card counting, because the deck is reshuffled on each new hand. For that reason, many live casinos either have large deck sizes in their games or they reshuffle the deck often.
It is important to learn the rules of the game you play. Readers must be wondering at the effect deck size has on the house edge. The table below shows why players are so interested in playing single deck blackjack. The gulf between single-deck blackjack and double-deck blackjack is immense. The drop-down from double-deck to 3-deck blackjack is also significant.
In brick-and-mortar casinos, casino management often pairs single-deck 21 with a bunch of rules which punish the player. The cumulative effect is the single-deck table is a worse game than other blackjack tables in the gaming space. Remember to look at all the rules being used in the game.
What you should take from this section is the number of card decks used are important and should always be considered before selecting a game, whether in an offline, online, mobile, or live casino. Software providers designed an array of games found in land-based casinos, including the popular forms:. Lesser known versions like Double Exposure and Switch appeared online, while new types of blackjack were introduced.
Online blackjack lacked certain charms of the live dealer experience, because they required a random number generator RNG and virtual simulations of the real life game.
The RNG allowed the deck to be shuffled in real time between every single hand, eliminating any advantage card counting provided. Below is a list of some of the different rules you might run into.
This is by no means a full list of alternate blackjack rules. Players should note some of these variations and avoid them, anytime possible. Beware of games which pay less for a blackjack. Readers who want to study basic strategy in greater detail should be one or more of the books below, other books about blackjack. I have tried to avoid books on card counting, though some of the titles below provide intermediate advice on the subject after they present basic strategy.
Many of these books provide overlapping information. Each has a solid introduction to basic strategy, which is most important for new readers. Each book also has additional how-to information, including chapters on card counting. All books are available for purchase at Amazon. I have included the direct purchase link to each of the books.