Among the various online games, blackjack stands out as a unique option. It surpasses all other table games in online casinos in terms of popularity, with roulette coming in second.
A significant aspect of blackjack’s appeal lies in its strategic nature, which allows players to feel more in control of their fate, rather than merely relying on luck. By playing intelligently, one can enhance their chances of success and take charge of their own destiny in the game.
That’s great as far as it goes, but the converse also applies. Many head for the blackjack tables in their local casino or choose the best blackjack sites to visit from home, knowing they can reduce the house edge from 2.5 percent to less than 1.5 percent by playing smart. Yet that edge can rapidly go the other way if their strategy is not up to snuff. Here are some schoolboy errors that are all too common.
Let’s get this out of the way upfront – the insurance bet is not actually insuring anything. It is a side bet that the dealer has blackjack and has zero to do with your hand. Get that clear in your mind, and you can see that the odds are highly unattractive. What it comes down to is a 2/1 bet on a 30 percent likelihood. The truth is that for every insurance bet placed, the house edge is 7.8 percent, so leave it alone.
Just – don’t. Some think splitting 10s is a good idea if the dealer shows a six. To those who understand the mathematics behind the game, this is like nails on a blackboard. Don’t try to be smart. A pair of 10s means to stand, the end of the story.
Standing on 16
16 is seen by many beginners as the borderline number for hitting or standing. However, if the dealer has an ace, seven, eight, nine or ten, standing will make you a loser more often than a winner, as you rely on the dealer going bust. Take control of your own destiny and hit!
Not Splitting Eights
It’s that dreaded 16 again, and it can cause beginners to forget everything they have learned about basic strategy. If the dealer has five or lower, the temptation to stand can be almost irresistible. However, the statistical analysis shows that is the wrong call. If you have a pair of eights, always split them, regardless of the dealer’s card.
Taking a “team approach”
This one is more about attitude than strategy, but it can be just as harmful to your bankroll. In blackjack, it doesn’t matter who else is at the table and what strategy they are adopting. They might as well be on the moon, and anyone who says you must “play as a team” to beat the dealer is chasing shadows. Focusing on the wrong thing is nothing more than a distraction and will lead to frustration and mistakes.
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The Basics of Blackjack
Blackjack is a popular card game typically played at casinos, both in-person and online. The main objective of the game is to achieve a hand value as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it, which is known as “busting.” The game is played against a dealer, and the player with the hand closest to 21 without going over wins.
Here are the basic rules of blackjack:
- Each card has a value: Cards numbered 2 through 10 are worth their face value, while face cards (kings, queens, and jacks) are each worth 10 points. Aces can be worth either 1 or 11 points, depending on what is more advantageous for the hand.
- The game begins with the dealer shuffling the deck and dealing two cards to each player, including themselves. One of the dealer’s cards is dealt face up, while the other is face down (called the “hole card”).
- Players evaluate their hands and decide whether to “hit” (request another card) or “stand” (keep their current hand). Players can continue to hit until they either stand, bust, or achieve a hand value of 21.
- The dealer reveals their hole card once all players have completed their turns. The dealer must follow a specific set of rules for their play: they must hit if their hand is worth 16 points or less, and they must stand if their hand is worth 17 points or more.
- The hands are compared, and the player with the hand closest to 21 without going over wins. If the dealer busts, all remaining players win. If the player and dealer have the same hand value, it’s considered a “push,” and the player’s bet is returned.
- Players can also win with a “blackjack,” which is a two-card hand consisting of an Ace and a 10-point card (10, jack, queen, or king). A blackjack typically pays 3:2 or 6:5, depending on the casino’s rules.
Understanding these basic rules is the foundation for playing blackjack, and players can further enhance their chances of winning by learning various strategies and techniques.