Learning to play the popular casino game of blackjack isn’t rocket science as many books and websites will have you believe. If you are looking to become an expert and play on a professional level, that can take years to perfect as well as a lot of patience and practice. However, anyone can achieve greatness as a recreational player and have a chance at playing and winning against the casinos by implementing a few strategies, along with knowing the rules.
Even if you have never played blackjack before or if you’ve only played a handful of times, there are still simple strategies that you can use to become the best blackjack player you can be. So, what do you need to do to become the best blackjack player possible? Keep reading to find out.
Know the Rules
To be the best blackjack player you can be, you need to know all the rules of blackjack. But that’s true with anything — you need to know what you’re doing before you jump right in. It’s no different with blackjack. The objective of the game is to beat the dealer by getting a count as close to 21 as possible, without going over. To do that, you need to understand the card values.
An ace is worth either 1 or 11, depending on how you want to use it, and face cards are worth 10. After the initial deal, the dealer will ask each player, in succession, if they need one or more cards. As the player, you can ask for a hit, which means you get one or more cards, until you either go over 21 or believe you have the best possible hand. Once you have all the cards you need to stay or stand, each successive player then decides whether to hit or stand.
After all the players have completed their hands or gone bust, the dealer then reveals his hand. Depending on the cards in the dealer’s hand, the rules at the table will indicate whether the dealer will hit or stand. Once the dealer’s final hand is established, all the players who didn’t bust get to compare their hands with the dealer’s hand. Those who beat the dealer win while the rest lose. It’s quite simple, and the rules always stay the same, so knowing them is the first step in becoming a better player.
Practice makes perfect, and like anything you want to get good at, it is crucial to practice. So, get a group of friends together and play for fun without placing any bets. There are also tons of free blackjack games online where you can try your hand and play for free to help you get better and learn new strategies.
Another excellent way of practicing is to use flash cards. Buy a pack of index cards and label them. On one side, write down your hand. For example, “5-8,” then on the other side of the index card, write down the correct strategy that you would use in that case. For this one, it’s “always hit.” Continue this process of writing out each possible hand and the corresponding correct strategy to use. When you’re done, you will have a pack of flash cards that you can take with you wherever you go and use all the time to memorize basic strategies.
Stick to a Strategy
Simple blackjack strategies mean the difference between a win or a loss.
Once you’ve learned the rules of the game and are practicing, it is critical to ignore any gut feelings you may have and stick to the basic blackjack strategies. The strategies provide a formula of how to act on each hand dealt. Blackjack may be a hand of variables, but there are many aspects of the game that always, no matter what, remain the same. Studying basic strategies before your next game will help you to overcome that feeling to go with your gut. Some of the basic strategies to always go by are as follows:
- When the dealer draws a six or higher, draw cards until your hand reaches 16 or higher.
- If the dealer draws a six or lower, draw cards until you reach at least 12.
- Also, the only pairs you should ever split are aces and eights.
These simple strategies are easy to remember and could determine whether you win or lose.
Know Your Limits and Play Smart
You’re not going to become a blackjack millionaire during your first games, but small wins can accumulate over time. The best way to ensure that you get to see your winnings is to set win/loss limits when you play.
Before you even begin a game of blackjack, have a number in mind for how much you’ll allow yourself to win or lose before walking away and stick to it. Stepping back in the middle of a winning streak is hard, but it is highly recommended instead of blowing your whole bankroll trying to stay on top.
Also, always remain calm, cool and collected during a game. Remaining cool will prevent you from making a poor, irrational decision that you could end up regretting later. In other words, it is critical to remember to keep your cool, play smart and don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you remember this, along with the rules and strategies mentioned above, you’re guaranteed to become one of the best blackjack players possible.