Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games and is enjoyed by millions of people all over the world. The rules are straightforward: combine cards to make a total as near to 21 as possible without going over. Each player is dealt two cards, with the option of asking for more. In a casino, players don’t play against each other but against the dealer’s hand. As long as you have a higher valid total than the dealer, you win.
As simple as it is to pick up, blackjack is a deceptively difficult game to master. The skill comes in knowing when to hit – get another card – and when to stick with what you have. While the game also involves a lot of luck in the cards you’re dealt with, some players will do better with their hands than others. If you want to become an expert, then you’re going to need to learn some strategies and get lots of practice – no one becomes a master overnight!
Get comfortable, get knowledgable
While you can’t control which cards are dealt to you at a blackjack table, you can have some say over where you sit, and getting the right position can be incredibly helpful. Being the last player to be dealt cards means that you’ve seen what everyone else has and therefore have a better idea of the cards that the dealer might be hiding. This can help you to make a better decision about when to stop drawing new cards. Novice players who don’t know this strategy might find themselves stuck on a losing streak.
This is where playing online blackjack has its advantages. It’s just you against the dealer, so you don’t have to worry about anybody else at the table. You’ll also be free of all the other distractions of a traditional casino environment; loud music, loud gamblers, and the temptation of the bar. But if you’re worried about not knowing where to begin, then a good way to get started is by playing free online blackjack at a reputable online casino. That way, while you won’t have the thrill of walking away with pockets full of winnings, you also won’t have to worry about losing all your money while you’re trying to learn the game. And then once you have mastered the basics and feel you are ready, you can think about playing for real money instead.
So, what are the basics of a good blackjack strategy? Players need the ability to recognize their chances of getting a better hand than the dealer. One of the dealer’s cards will always be visible, and you have to think about what their other card might be – this will help you decide what to do with your cards. For example, if the dealer is showing a 2, then you know the most they could have in total is 13 (they would be holding an ace worth 11). This would mean that the dealer has to draw another card, so their total will go up. The chances of them getting over 21 are quite low, so it is likely that you will need a high score to beat them.
You also need to think about your chances of going bust – that is, getting a total higher than 21. The cards in the deck are worth 1-11 points. If you have a 16 and choose to hit, then you need five or less to avoid going bust. But there are only 20 cards in the deck of 52 that will work for you, and you or the dealer might already have some of them. Hitting is, therefore, a risky move, as you have a higher chance of busting than you do of getting a card that you need. By contrast, if you hit on 13, there are 32 different cards that will give you a good result. Blackjack is all about playing the probabilities. As already stated, online blackjack removes the other players from the table, meaning you don’t need to factor their cards into your calculations as well.
To some an online approach might be easier
Because blackjack is at its heart, a simple game, over the years, different variations have formed, and you can find many of these offered by various online casinos. It’s always worth checking the specific rules before you play, so you don’t get caught out by a change. In casinos, most of the variations try to make it harder for you to win, but this will only have a small effect. Other variations might introduce options to reduce your losses – like offering an insurance bet or allowing a late surrender. Sometimes different side bets are allowed. Side bets can pay big, but that’s because they have slim chances of happening. Side bets can look appealing, but are rarely worth playing, as you just end up increasing the amount of money the casino takes off you for that hand.
Becoming an online blackjack expert is not going to happen overnight. You will have to study the rules, learn some strategies, and practice until implementing them becomes natural. Take advantage of reputable online casinos that offer free online blackjack so that you can enjoy playing for fun without having to wager.
Photo credit: The feature image and the body image have been taken by Esteban Lopez.
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