Blackjack looks for all the world like a very simple game, at least from the outside. You are dealt two cards, the dealer has two – one of them face-up, the other face-down, and whoever is closer to 21 wins. Oh, and you can take more cards if you feel you need them. That’s it, surely? Well, if you’re playing at home, it’s pretty much that simple, but if you’re playing online blackjack and want to win more often, then it is a sound idea to apply a certain amount of tactical thinking.
With all of the online casinos you know and some others you might not, there is such a wide range of options for playing blackjack that you’ll never run out of games to play. If you keep losing, you might run out of interest, though, so it’s worth knowing how to approach the game and start to win some of the hands you’re losing. One word of advice – no strategy is ever going to guarantee winning at any casino game, so don’t expect miracles. But you can definitely improve if you follow this advice.
Learn basic strategy and keep a “cheat sheet”
The number of eventualities possible in a blackjack game is both too immense to even begin to list here and too wide to remember, so it’s sensible to learn what you can about basic blackjack strategy and, to begin with, use a cheat sheet. This tells you what you should do (statistically) in a given situation when you know what your cards are and can see one of the dealer’s. These charts are readily available online, so you can have the casino open on your phone and the chart on your laptop. You can also buy printed versions – and don’t worry, it’s perfectly legal to use these. Most casinos let you carry and use them at the tables because they won’t guarantee you win anything.
Know when the time is right to “split” your hand
When your hand is a pair, you may be given the option to “split” and play two hands against the dealer’s one. You’ll need to up your bet to do this, but it can be well worthwhile if you know what you’re doing. While it may be attractive to split a pair of 10s, avoid doing so. 20 is close to a guaranteed win and if the dealer has 21, splitting is likely to see you lose two hands instead of one. You should split pairs of aces and eights. The first, because an ace can work as an eleven and a one, opening up more chances for you, The latter, because if your hand is a 16, it probably won’t win, but hitting is likely to result in a bust.
Double down if your hand is 11
Although 11 feels like a bad hand, it’s actually pretty good news. You’re not going to stick in this situation, and there’s nothing you can be dealt that will bust you. So double your bet and bank on the next card being something above a 6, which statistically it is likely to be and puts you in good shape for a win. Of course, sometimes it’s not going to come off, but being dealt an 11 is the best chance to go aggressive and have it pay off for you, so strike while the iron is hot.