Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games worldwide, and it’s easy to see why. Simple to pick up and play, with a high potential payout for skilled players, it combines the thrill of chance with the satisfaction of a masterfully played hand.
There are a number of simple tactics that can help you when you first begin playing blackjack. Obviously, all of these rest on the card that you are dealt and the card that the dealer has. You can only see one of the dealer’s cards when you make your decisions, and this means that you have to work with probability a little bit in order to help you make the right decision.
If the dealer has a 9, 10, face card or an ace and you have a score of 16 or lower, then you should surrender. Your chances of winning the hand are relatively low, and this is exactly what the surrender is for – you haven’t won, but you haven’t lost all of your stake. As an addition to this, if the dealer has a 10 and you have 15 or lower, then you should also surrender. In the example below, from our Satoshi Atlantic City Blackjack, the dealer is in a fairly strong position, showing a Jack. The player on the right has a good hand but they could risk a hit.
If the dealer deals you a pair of aces, then you should always split these. As the ace is worth either 1 or 11, this makes it an incredibly versatile card. By splitting the aces, it means that you have two hands that contain the most versatile card in the game. You should also try not to split a pair of 10s, whether they be the number 10 or a face card. A score of 20 will give you a much better chance of winning than two hands of 18 or 19.
You should also always split a pair of 8s. There is no card that you can add to an 8 that will make you go bust – this means that if you split your 8s, then you have two hands where you can hit with confidence and hopefully get two much better hands than the 16 that two 8s gives you. This is also important because hitting on a 16 can often be a risky strategy.
If you have a score of 17 or more, then you should choose to stand more often than not. While 17 isn’t a score that guarantees you a win, there is a very good chance of going bust if you hit on a 17 or more. If you go bust, then you automatically lose – this means that it makes a lot more sense to stand on a 17 and take the risk of the dealer going bust trying to beat it than it does by going bust yourself.
While this isn’t an extensive list of tactics when it comes to playing blackjack, it is a set of simple rules that you should try to follow to improve your skills. While blackjack is indeed a game of chance at heart, there are still skills and tactics involved that can and will improve your chances of winning. There are various ways to improve those skills, but the best one is to just play the game.
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Words: Sean Mcnulty
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