Saturday, March 3, 2012

How to Win at Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the more fun options at the casino and also has one of the better odds out of any game. As someone who has played a lot of games, I've learned a lot on the best ways you can improve your odds at winning at blackjack. Keep in mind that it's still gambling and there is no sure fire way to win at every hand, but following the below 10 tips and it will help significantly improve your odds. Keep in mind, these are NOT for single deck blackjack (most of the games in casinos aren't single deck anyway).

1. Follow "the book" - There's a guide that will give you insight on when to hit and when to stay along with the odds  if you do either/or. You can find an example here that tells you when to hit or stand based on what the dealer has and what you have. Some people will say "it doesn't matter" because it's all random, but by always going by which odds favor YOU it will help increase your chances (plus the table won't get mad at you by sticking with the book :) ).

2. Understand You're Competing Against the Dealer - This is something overlooked by people who don't follow "the book". I can't count how many times a person hit with a 15 when they shouldn't have only because "it's a 15". If the dealer is showing a 6, there is a strong chance that they'll bust their hand. Why risk busting with your 15 then? Stay and go with the odds. A 15 with a dealer showing the 10, however, completely changes what you should be doing.

3. Get a Good Table - So you're following the book, making sure to pay attention to what the dealer actually has, but asshole to your left has no clue what he's doing. He's not only going to fuck up his hand, but possibly fuck up your as well. I know it's tough finding open tables sometimes, but you don't want to sit with a wildcard like that.

4. Double Down!! - To win significant amounts of cash at Blackjack, you need to take advantage of Double Down / Split opportunities. If the dealer is showing anything but a 10 / Face and you have an 11, DOUBLE DOWN. If a dealer has a 4 - 6 and you have an 8 - 11, DOUBLE DOWN. Also, split cards when you can. 8's and Ace's should always be split (never split 10's or face cards) and the others are dependent on what the dealer has. If you have the opportunity to split 3 or 4 times DO IT. It's how you win.

5. Be Consistent with Tough Calls - Not every hand is black and white and some can go either way. My least favorite blackjack hand is one of those examples. If you have a 16 and the dealer is showing a 7, it's a very tough call. If you hit, there's a decent chance you'll bust, but there's also a decent chance the dealer is showing a 17. Whatever you decide to do on this type of hand, make sure you're consistent. Think of it as a coin flip. If you call heads and lose, chances are if you keep calling heads you'll win next time or the time after. If you keep changing it up, you can lose 3, 4, or even more in a row. These type of hands, there is no "wrong answer", just keep consistent.

6. Don't Rush - Who cares if the guy next to you hates that it takes you 2 seconds longer to calculate the total of your hand. Don't feel pressured to rush to "hit" or "stay" because you're holding up the table a bit. It's your money and you want to win.

7. Avoid the Sucker Bets - Many casino's have these side bets where you can bet that you'll be two identical cards (or something similar) and then you'll win some extra money. These are a waste of your money and a good way to burn through your cash.

8. Unsure? Ask the Dealer - The dealer is on your side. If you win money, there's more of a chance they'll get tips. Following the book takes some experience to remember completely, so if you're unsure about whether or not to hit or stay ask "what does the book say to do here". They'll tell you (with a disclaimer saying "but you can do whatever") and follow the book's advice. People who know how to play at the table will appreciate it too.

9. Don't do Insurance - Another sucker bet in my opinion. It works some times, but if you do insurance every time the dealer shows an Ace you'll lose money. Remember, the casino wants to make money so the reason why it's available is that they earn more from insurance than lose from it.

10. Understand "Always" Hands - These are hands that I dub as ones where you always complete the same action. If you have a 3 - 11 ALWAYS hit. Double down too if need be. Same with soft 12s - 15s (soft meaning that the Ace is used as an 11, but can be also used as a 1). ALWAYS stay on 18 - 21. 17 in most cases too, but I'm not 100% against someone hitting on a 17 if the dealer is showing a 10. ALWAYS split 8's and Ace's. 7's in most cases too.

1 comment:

Punters Lounge said...

This is a great guide and will surely be useful to anyone out there looking to hone their Blackjack skills.