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Online Blackjack Strategy for New and Experienced Players

Posted by Chris Spencer on
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Online blackjack strategy is anything you do to improve your chances of winning at blackjack tables. It includes learning as much as possible about blackjack games, learning the best play in every situation, and a wide range of other practices.

You’ll find short summaries of Gamble Online’s blackjack strategy sections with links out to main pages below. If you plan to become a true student of blackjack, we suggest bookmarking this page because it covers the basics for novice players and advanced strategies for the more experienced.  In this guide we’ll cover:

  • What is basic strategy?
  • What is the house edge in blackjack?
  • What is blackjack splitting?
  • What is doubling down in blackjack?
  • What is card counting in blackjack?

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Basic Blackjack Strategy

Basic blackjack strategy is a mathematical determination of the best way to play every hand at the table. Every hand combination is linked directly to a dealer up card and the best decision is based on these player-vs-dealer odds. Our blackjack strategy chart based on initial hand can be found on our basic strategy page.

Many things change the house edge, but playing basic strategy is one of the biggest ones you control. Combining basic strategy with strong discipline can reduce the house edge to less than 1%. It’s not uncommon for players to cut it down to a half of one percent. More experienced players and professional card counters start by mastering basic strategy to reduce the edge as low as possible so they can swing the edge in their favor by counting. We’ll touch on card counting again in this overview.

House Edge

The house edge is how much the casino game will win on average over time, which averages 1 percent. Generally it’s considered per hand, but you can use it to get expected loss rates per hour or session. The blackjack house edge page lists all of the common rules – like hit or stand on 16 – and includes how each one changes the edge.

You don’t need to memorize what each rule does to the edge, but you do need to know which rules are better for you and which ones favor the casino game. It’s also helpful to know the edge based on common rule combinations. If you play blackjack the same place often you can determine the house edge based on their specific rules.

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Splitting Hands

Knowing when to split pairs, and when not to, is one of the ways to reduce the house edge. It represents such an important part of basic strategy that I’ve developed a stand-alone page where you can learn more. Splitting pairs can help turn poor hands into good hands and reduce the negative expectation of other hands.

An example of this is when you have two 8’s and they create the worst possible hard total of 16. However, if you elect to split them you have a chance to draw a face card on each, creating a hard 18. This is extremely valuable when the dealer shows a a 6 (forced hit on 16) or a 7 (forced stay on 17)

Know that by splitting cards, you’ll have to double the size of your original bet to play the two separate hands.

Doubling Down

Doubling down is just as important as splitting pairs, so it’s discussed in depth on its own page as well.

When you double down, you double your original wager to receive one additional card. Common double down situations include when you have a total of 11 or 10. As the dealer’s up card becomes worse your advantage goes up.

An example of this is if the dealer shows a 3 through 6 and you have an 11, 10, or 9 you should double down. This is a profitable situation in the long run so you need to get as much money on the table as possible.

Do the amount of decks change your blackjack strategy?

The more decks of cards the dealer gets to work with, the better the odds they hit 20 or blackjack off the jump. This is why a single-deck game pays out a little less because the house’s edge gets watered down with fewer face cards and aces in the shoe. Multiple decks blackjack is where a card counting strategy is a valuable resource in slicing the house’s edge.

Card Counting

In many ways mastering the art of card counting never ends. Successful card counters have worked hard enough to play perfect basic strategy, learned the best rules, and practiced counting cards until they could almost do it in their sleep. Their reward is turning a house edge of up to 3% around to make it a player edge of 1% or more. It isn’t easy, but almost anyone with the time and work ethic required can learn to count cards.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to learn about counting until you’ve got everything else about blackjack strategy mastered. But once you do, take some time learning more about card counting. The card counting section includes everything you need to know starting with a step by step guide on how to do it and coverage of all the popular systems in use today.

The reward for learning how to count cards in blackjack is turning a house edge of up to 3% around to make it a player edge of 1% or more. It isn’t easy, but almost anyone with the time and work ethic required can learn to count cards.

Which blackjack strategy is the easiest to use?

The first thing to do is read through all the terms and jargon used in and around blackjack games. I’ve compiled one of the most extensive list of terms you can find with definitions and examples where needed. Unless you’re a seasoned pro, I bet you find at least one or two terms you didn’t know the meaning of. Once you familiarize yourself with the language all of the other strategy and advice will be easier to follow and learn from.

Tips

You can find tips, tricks, and advice on every page on the site, but I made a specific blackjack tips page for you. It’s not as extensive as the terms page, but it includes some great stuff to get you thinking and lead you to more in depth pages.

Perfect Strategy

Perfect strategy is what every blackjack player should focus on accomplishing. It’s simply applying basic strategy with no mistakes.

This may seem like a section that isn’t needed because I just covered basic strategy, but the truth is many basic strategy players make mistakes. I’m comfortable going so far as to say most basic strategy players make mistakes.

Every mistake you make at the blackjack table costs you money in the long run.

I don’t know if the reason so many people make mistakes is because they get lazy or if they just never learn the entire blackjack charts in the first place. Possibly, they don’t recognize the importance of a reduced house edge in making their bankroll last longer.

Decide to accept nothing less than perfect basic strategy and you’ll be ahead of most blackjack players.

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