How to Win at Blackjack
Blackjack is a game with a super low house edge, especially when played with the basic strategy and this is why people love playing it more than most other table games out there. This game gives you a real chance of beating the house because it is about more than just being dealt a lucky hand.
To give yourself the best chance of winning, you need to become familiar with the game, learn the basic strategies – and practice, practice, practice! In this article, as well as pointing you in the direction of the best blackjack casinos, we will look at all the tips and tricks we can give on winning when playing blackjack… and getting one over on the casino.
Last Updated: January 11, 2023
Play Games with More Liberal Rules and Lower Minimum Bets
You need to be particular about what tables you play blackjack at… whether it’s at a real casino or an online casino. Pick a table with the most liberal rules.
The first thing to look at is the payout… play at a table that pays out 3:2 for blackjack rather than one that pays out only 6:5 … or even worse, evens!
Other rules to look out for on the table should be:
- Dealers standing on a soft 17
- Players are allowed to double down on any 2 cards.
- You are allowed to double after pair splitting.
- Surrender is available
You should also look for a game with fewer decks. You will get better odds for a single-deck game or double-deck game than a six-deck or eight-deck game – even with the same rules. Also (if this is relevant) fewer decks are better for card counting!
Tables with lower minimum bets will allow you to play with less pressure and build up your confidence.
Know the Basic Blackjack Terms
The game couldn’t be simpler. Anyone, even non-casino players, knows that you need to get closer to 21 than the dealer (without going over) to win. However, most people’s knowledge of the terminology is no more than hit (asking for another card) or stick/stay (keeping your hand as is).
You need to know other terms such as splitting your hand, doubling down and surrendering your hand so that you can then understand how to make these a part of your betting strategies… giving you an even better chance of winning at blackjack:
- Splitting Your Hand: If you have two of the same cards (a pair), you are able to split and play two hands with two bets.
- Doubling Down: You can double your bet and get one more card only.
- Surrendering Your Hand: Very rarely, you will be able to surrender your hand if it is terrible and reclaim half of your initial stake.
Understand The Game’s House Edge
The dealer will have the advantage because you need to decide how to play your hand without knowing what the face-down card is. Moreover, you will lose when you go bust even when the dealer also busts. This means that whether you win will be all about how you react to your own hand, the other players’ hands and the card the dealer has on show… so you can try and predict what card might be face-down
Know the Basic Blackjack Strategy
The biggest key to winning is knowing the basic Blackjack strategy and knowing how to play certain hands based on probabilities. For example, should you hit on 16 if you can see the dealer has a 10? There is a basic strategy chart you can study which advises you what choices you should make based on what hand you have and the dealer’s face-up card.
At first, you may want the chart in front of you (which is why some people prefer to practice the basic strategy at an online casino where people can’t see it). However, the more you play, the more you will be able to play the blackjack basic strategy by instinct.
Know the Blackjack Table Rules Before Playing
Different blackjack tables often have slightly different blackjack rules. Lots of games use several decks of cards to try and stop players from card counting. This can hamper your ability to work out your odds of winning.
Most tables will require the dealer to stand at 17, even if it means that the dealer loses. However, many will allow a dealer to hit with a soft 17 (where the hand is made with an Ace which can equal 1 or 11). So, check the blackjack table first.
- It is better to pick a game where the dealer is not allowed to hit on a soft 17.
- Try not to play on a land-based blackjack table with a continuous shuffle machine as it will make it impossible to keep track of which cards you or the dealer might draw.
Know the Blackjack Table’s Payout Rules
You need to see how much you will win for a blackjack. The best tables will pay out 3:2 for a natural blackjack (which means you get $3 back for every $2 you stake). If a table pays out 6:5 then you should avoid it.
Get Yourself a Blackjack Money Strategy
You should be consistent with your bets and stick to your budget. Only increase your wager by a minimal amount until you start winning as you don’t want to plough through your bankroll. In cards and gambling, being due a win doesn’t exist. There is no such thing as a hot deck or cold deck because every single round is about probability and chance.
You should try making a lower bet after a deck shuffle or loss and slightly increase your stake if you think the odds favor you.
Increasing Your Stake If the Odds Favor You
The more high cards in the deck, the better as they give you more chance of getting a blackjack. As you play, keep paying attention to what happens so you will have an idea of how many more helpful cards are still in the deck. This will give you a better understanding of how to play with the cards in your hand.
When you think the odds are in your favor, increase your stake and be a little more aggressive with your betting strategy.
Avoid Insurance Bets
The dealer usually offers you the chance to protect yourself against them being dealt a blackjack. This is simply making a side bet on the dealer having a blackjack. If they do, you will lose your original bet but win the side bet. It may scrape your money back in the short term, but an Insurance Bet is designed to make the casino money, not you.
Some people think that to win at blackjack you need to count cards. This is certainly one of the blackjack tips that can be very successful if done properly.
The most common way to count cards is by assigning different values to cards. The Hi-Lo method of counting cards gives each numbered card a value. Any card between 2 and 6 is worth 1 point, and cards between 7 and 9 are worth 0 points. All 10s, face cards and Aces are worth -1.
You keep a tally of the total value of the cards currently on display and this should tell you approximately how many high-value cards are left in the pack.
This is a common card counting system – although others do exist. Remember, it’s harder to count cards when playing games with multiple decks. Also, casinos don’t like card counting and although it isn’t illegal, the casino may ban you if they believe you are counting cards.
Using Blackjack Bonuses
One of the best ways to start learning and playing blackjack is at an online casino. There are all sorts of different online blackjack games so that you can practise your strategy, start trying out different games and rules and get your best game on.
What’s more, the best blackjack casinos will also allow you to claim a bonus that you can use to test your skills and strategies without having to play any of your own money.
When signing up with a new casino, you will be able to claim a welcome bonus – many of which are usable on blackjack games. These will normally come in the form of match deposit bonuses – for example, a 100% match deposit bonus up to C$200 – so if you deposit C$200 then you can claim an extra C$200 in bonus money. You can then use this to double your playing (and practice time).
However, before doing so, we would always recommend that you check the terms and conditions first. You will need to check that the bonus money can be used to play table games and blackjack games (as some may restrict which games you can play). Also, be aware of the wagering requirements. Often, blackjack games will only contribute between 10% and 20% towards the wagering requirement (due to the low house edge). This means that if you intend on fulfilling the wagering requirements by playing blackjack, it may cost 5x or even 10x as much!
How to Win at Blackjack Top Tips
So, with all that being said, here are our key takeaways to remember – giving you the best chance of winning at blackjack:
Start by playing at a table with a low minimum bet. This will likely mean you are playing with more casual blackjack players and will give you the chance to build up your skills.
Choose your table carefully. If there is a slower or more distracted blackjack dealer, then it will be easier for you to work on your blackjack strategies (it also makes it easier for card counting if that’s what you want to try out). Online RNG blackjack games and games with automatic shufflers make this practically impossible!
Only play blackjack when you have a clear mind. Never play if you have been drinking or are very tired. This is when you are more likely to start making bad decisions… which is good news for the casino and bad news for your bankroll!
Always play with the basic playing strategy. The house edge on blackjack is low at the best of times, but when you play with a basic blackjack strategy it’s minute.
Practice online blackjack first. Some online casinos will allow you to play their online games in demo mode, for free – which is perfect for practice. Online table games often come with much lower minimum bets as well and are more convenient.
Start with a single-deck game: These are easier for new players than multiple-deck games.
Set yourself a budget and stick to it: You need to set limits and only ever bet what you can afford to lose. Never chase your losses!
Look at table payouts: always choose a table that pays 3:2 for a blackjack rather than 6:5!
How to Win at Blackjack FAQs
How Can I Always Win At Blackjack?+
There is no way to guarantee that you win at blackjack every time. The house edge may be small, but the game is still tipped in the favor of the casino. However, if you stick to the basic strategy chart, you can massively improve your odds of winning.
Is There a Trick to Playing Blackjack?+
There is no magic trick, but the best blackjack players know to use the basic blackjack strategy. Some players also look to card counting. Although this is very effective if done properly, it is frowned upon by casinos.
Is it Better To Play Blackjack Alone or with Other Players?+
This depends on you as a player – as there are pros and cons to both. If you like faster games then playing alone is better. However, if you want to blend in, practice and learn more then playing with other players is good.
What Are My Odds of Winning a Game of Blackjack?+
If you take ties into consideration along with house edge, then the probability of you winning is 42.22%.
Which Blackjack Game Gives Me the Best Chance of Winning?
Because it uses a single deck, Classic Blackjack gives you the best chance of winning out of all the different game variations. Ideally, look for a game of Classic Blackjack that pays out at 3:2.