Win More Often At the Blackjack Tables
As one of the most popular casino games of all time, just about everyone knows how to play blackjack.
However, many players don’t play it very well. When this happens they lose money faster than they need to, which shortens their playing sessions. When you play blackjack your first goal (or hope) is usually to win, but short of that don’t you want to play as long as possible?
Did you know you can follow just a few simple tips to greatly increase your chances of winning at the blackjack table?
Look For Games with Good Rules
Most blackjack players take the first seat they see at the closest table. What you may not know is depending on the rules; the casino’s edge can vary from around a half percent to over 3%. It’s hard enough to beat the game without giving the house any extra edge.
For example, a table that only pays 6 to 5 for a blackjack has a house edge around 1.35% higher than a table that pays 3 to 2 if all the other rules are the same.
Here’s a quick list of rules that help you. Take a few minutes to find the tables offering as many of them as possible before you start playing.
- Allowed to double down after split
- Allowed to double down on any number of cards
- Allowed to draw to split aces or re-split aces
- Surrender offered
- Dealer stands on soft 17
Use a Strategy Card
It never stops amazing me how few players use strategy cards at the blackjack table.
I don’t know if they think other players will make fun of them or if they just don’t understand how powerful playing hands correctly can be.
Playing perfect basic strategy can more than double the time most players can play before depleting their bankroll. If you lose an average of 2% on every hand and can reduce that to 1% or less, you should be able to play twice as long on the same amount of money.
All you have to do to accomplish this is use basic strategy. The easiest way to do it is using a strategy card at the table.
Rarely will anyone say anything rude about it, and so what if they do? Let them continue losing their money twice as fast. You can take satisfaction in knowing you’re playing the right way.
Strategy cards are available in casino gift shops and many other places around casinos.
Never Take Insurance
This could be included with using a strategy card, but I see so many players taking insurance that I had to include it by itself. The insurance bet, also called even money because you break even when the dealer has a blackjack, is always a bad bet.
(To be 100% honest, you can find a few situations where taking insurance is a profitable play, but only if you’re counting cards. If you’re already counting cards successfully you probably already know everything on this page, so this tip is for the rest of us.)
The casino has an edge of over 5% on the insurance wager in most cases. If you compare this to the 2 to 3% edge they have against most players during the rest of the blackjack game, even the worst players give up too much edge by taking insurance.
Pay Attention to the Dealer
While a dealer shouldn’t change the outcome of a blackjack hand, occasionally you may find one that can help you win more often.
Though it’s rare, some dealers accidently flash their down card to the table. They lift an edge or float the card a little higher than normal. This can let a sharp eyed player see what the dealer has down.
In games where the dealer checks for a blackjack before you act on your hand sometimes you can read them. If the dealer takes deep breath every time she has a blackjack you can start taking insurance when you see this tell. Some dealers will linger when they ask if you want insurance when they have a blackjack and pass by quicker when they don’t.
Don’t ever mention it if one of these things happens, but you might consider an extra tip for the dealer if she helped you win.
Have a Plan and Stick to It
Money management is a large part of enjoying your trip to the casino.
Do you have a plan before you start playing blackjack?
Each player has different goals and bankrolls and tolerance for loss, so every plan is unique. A few sample plans are listed below. Use them to start thinking about your next blackjack session and what you hope to get out of it.
You can set a stop win and stop loss limit.
Here’s an example. If you get up $100 you quit playing for the day or if you lose $100 you quit playing. Of course the limits can be any amount you’re comfortable with, but walking away from the table as a winner sometimes sure feels good.
You can break your bankroll into parts based on how many sessions you plan to play.
For example, if you’re planning a trip to Las Vegas for four days and plan to play two sessions of blackjack every day, you’ll play 8 total sessions. If you have a $2,000 bankroll, divide it by 8, to get a per session bankroll of $250.
Only use $250 for each session. When the session is over put any money you have left in your pocket, or if you lose the entire $250 end your session. You are almost assured of ending at least a few sessions with money left over, and will probably have a couple winning sessions. This strategy makes the chance of losing your entire bankroll very small.
Develop your own plan and make sure to follow it. The best plans aren’t any good if you don’t follow them.
When you combine the tips you just learned with your next blackjack session you should be able to improve your experience. Look for the best rules, use the best strategy, never take insurance, pay attention to the dealer, and develop a plan to win more and play longer.