Popular in both traditional and online casinos, blackjack provides an opportunity for those who have a good strategy to win a lot of money. When playing online, you don’t have a chance to read the faces of other players to guess at what they have hidden. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still strategize effectively and win often. Here are some tips for people who want to play the odds at blackjack and win as often as they possibly can.
Know When to Split
If you have two cards of the same type, you can split them. Doing so requires a higher bet, but also improves your chances of winning if you pick your opportunities wisely. The key to splitting is remembering that more than 30% of the deck has a card with a value of 10—four each of tens, jacks, queens, and kings, for a total of 16 out of 52 cards. With that knowledge in your favor, splitting makes sense if adding 10 to the cards would create a hand that is difficult to beat. Even in online casinos, the dealer stands at a hand of 17 or higher. That means that a pair of 8s is a good time to split, since you are likely to get at least one 18. The same is true of splitting aces. However, splitting 6s means increasing the likelihood of a bust. Splitting 10s might seem tempting, but 20 is already a strong hand and you are better off standing.
Find out when to split in Blackjack in our guide. Also, check out this table for helpful splitting in blackjack tips:
Don’t Count Cards
Many people embrace the idea of counting cards as conventional wisdom when it comes to playing blackjack. The concept makes sense—if you keep track of 10s and aces in the deck, for example, you can predict with accuracy how likely you are to hit 21 or go bust. However, online casinos make it impossible to keep track of cards and deck changes. Unless you play a live version of blackjack where you can see the dealer, you can’t know when the virtual dealer changes decks. This makes counting cards unreliable at best and a waste of time at worst. It is better for you to play the odds based on the hands you can see rather than guess when a deck change last occurred.
Watch the Dealer’s Hand
When you decide what bet to make or whether you should hit or stand, take the dealer’s situation in account. If the dealer has a five or six showing, you know a hit is coming because the dealer has to hit on anything under a 17. Given the odds of drawing a ten or a face card, this means that there is a good chance that the dealer will bust—which means that you win as long as you don’t bust yourself. In these situations, if you have a soft hand that can’t go over 21 on the next card, feel free to hit to bolster your chances of winning. Otherwise, it’s better to stand. It may feel odd to stand on a 14, but if you suspect that the dealer has a 16, there’s no point in risking going bust yourself.
Know the Probabilities
With every hand you receive, keep the odds of going bust in mind. Your chance of a bust begins at 0% for a hand of 11 or under. In these cases, you should always take one more card. From 12 to 14, the chance of a bust on your next card is 31% on a 12, 39% on a 13, and 46% on a 14. In most of these situations, it is safe to take another card, but there is always a risk of a face card ruining your hand. Odds of going bust increase past 50% after that—to 58% on a 15, 62% on a 16, 69% on a 17, 77% on an 18, 85% on a 19, and 92% on a 20. You don’t need to memorize these numbers, but do keep them in mind. The higher up you go, the more risk you take when you hit. It’s usually worth the risk to hit on a 15 or 16 if the dealer has a seven or higher showing, but you are playing a losing proposition if you make a habit of hitting with a high hand.
Play the Long Game
These tips will lead you to adopt a sound blackjack strategy, but any given hand can turn into a statistical anomaly. The problem that some people run into is that they win big when taking a risky decision like hitting on a 17 or splitting a pair of 10s and adopt that as a winning strategy. Blackjack is a game designed to favor the house over a long enough period of time. This means that a few anomalies are acceptable, because the house knows it can get the money back. You can beat the house at this game if you rely on sound strategy and view games as a whole rather than letting one good or bad hand define how you make your decisions.
If you have a big bonus from an online casino and want a fun way to spend it, some time at the virtual blackjack tables can do the trick. Just remember the tips and tricks outlined here. They will make the difference between winning some money with your bonus and losing both your bonus money and the deposit that got you there.