Blackjack is one of the most popular online casino games and has been for a long time. The game pits you against the dealer in which you have to beat their hand without busting 21. Although the card game is heavily based on chance, in terms of the cards you are dealt, there are a few things to take into consideration when sitting down to play which will give you a good chance of being successful.
- Check the dealer’s upcard
The biggest clue you will get about the strength on the dealer’s hand when playing backjack – whether it’s live-play or in the Betfair casino room, for example – is with the upcard. This is the card which the dealer has to reveal to you before you decide your move. This should help you make your mind up about your next step, whether that is to stick or twist.
If the dealer has a ten or face card, you should think about taking a chance and going for a total as close to 21 as possible. This is because the dealer is just one card away from a big score. However, on the flip side, if the card is low, don’t take risks. The dealer had a lot of work to do so their chances of busting increase.
- Never split 10s
Everybody has their own take on pairs and when is a good time to split and keep them together, however, the consensus is usually the same with 10s in that it is agreed they should never be split. Together they total 20 which is enough to win a large percentage of hands in blackjack. Wanting more than 20 in the game is very greedy and it will be a decision you may regret later down the line if you bust.
By splitting your 10s you would create two hands and be in a good starting position but there is no guarantee you will get will be lucky with your next cards from the pack. It could end up costing you twice as much as you started with as when you split pairs, you are also required to place a further bet on your second hand.
- Make the dealer work for the win
Although this may sound very obvious, what you must do in blackjack is make the dealer earn the win. If you bust your total, you are not doing that. There are occasions where a risk is worth taking in order to improve your hand but if you believe the chances of busting are high, stick with your total, regardless of what it is. The dealer must reach 17 before they can stand therefore by declaring a score; you are always in with some sort of chance. If they beat you, they have earned the victory.
- Makes the most from pocket rockets by splitting
A starting hand of a pair of aces is the perfect start in poker and will leave you in a strong position to begin the game with. In blackjack the cards together don’t actually do you any favours. Unfortunately, they can’t both be used as 11s otherwise you would bust so one of them has to revert to a one.
The cards can still be used to good effect though, if you split them to create two new hands. There is a strong chance you will hit a 10 or face card with one of your hands which will give you 21. If you are lucky, you might do so with both of them so the decision could prove to be very profitable. Even if you don’t get your 10, the dual value of the ace will give you two chances of building a decent total which can be competitive against the dealer.
- What to do with a soft 17?
It may seem strange to do anything but stick on 17 but if your hand is a soft 17, which will involve an ace and six; you are best advised to keep playing. The ace can be used as an 11 or 1 therefore you have two goes at getting even close to 21. If you hit a four or less with your first card from the pack, you should then stand. However, with anything higher, the ace will be fixed as a 1 and you will then have to use your judgement on how much further you go before sticking.
- Always split 8s
If there is one pair in which you should categorically split, it has to be 8s. Combined together they leave you just outside of the sacred ground of 17 or higher with a total of 16. This gives you a problem in that if you stand, all the dealer has to do is reach their minimum target of 17 to beat you. They are likely to be heavy favourites to do this, especially if their upcard is a 10 or picture card. On the other hand, when you twist with 16, you are more likely to be bust, rather than improve your score.
By splitting your 8s, you would have two new hands and if you hit a 10 or face card with one of these, a score of 18 would give you a much better chance of winning with at least one hand.
- When, and if, to double down?
Doubling down is an option which is available to you after your opening cards are dealt. If you fancy your chances from that position, you have the option to double your initial stake but you must take an extra card if you choose to do so. This is something which is an attractive proposition if you start with 11 as a 10 will boost your score to 21 where only blackjack can beat you. Do be careful with doubling down though, if you do it too often and get it wrong, it is quick way to cut into your bankroll.
- Remember that a large percentage of the pack is a 10
It is worth remembering when you are unsure about your next move in blackjack that in a standard pack of cards, 16 of the 52 cards are to the value of 10. This means there is always a good chance you will hit one of these. If your cards equal to 11 or less, you are likely to be pleased as it will massively improve your hand. However, when you are much closer to 21, a 10 would finish the game as you would bust your score.
- Never get carried away with a win or loss
There will be times in blackjack where you won’t be able to do anything wrong. The cards you need to hit will come out of the pack and on other occasions the dealer will be able to do no right. Equally, you will have runs where you will struggle yourself. It is important not to get carried away by increasing your stakes when winning or chasing losses when behind. Stick to a stake that you are comfortable with and stay in control.
- Trust your instinct
There will be several occasions where you will be faced with a tough call in blackjack in which you have to decide whether to continue or to stick. Your instinct is something you need to trust in this situation. By going against what you feel is right, you will only end up desperately disappointed if you make the call wrong.