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How to Win at Blackjack: An Expert’s Guide

You can boost your chances of winning at blackjack by choosing the right game and making the correct strategic decisions. This guide discusses how to win at blackjack, plus some betting strategies you might consider.

Use basic strategy

Make sure you follow basic blackjack strategy if you want to improve your chances of winning at blackjack. No matter the online casino you choose, you need to adhere to this approach.

You essentially need to know when to hit, stand, double down, and split cards in blackjack. These are some key principles to follow.

  • Always split aces and 8s.
  • Always double down if dealt a hard 11.
  • Double down on 10 if the dealer is showing 9 or less.
  • Never split 5s, 10s, or face cards.
  • Never take insurance.

Choose the right game

All blackjack games follow the same basic format, as you simply need to get closer to 21 than the dealer without going bust.

However, blackjack rules can vary from one game to the next, so it is important to check them before playing. Doing so is critical for winning at blackjack.

These are some important points to consider:

Some games pay only 6:5 on blackjack, which increases the house edge in blackjack by 1.39%.Stick to games that pay 3:2 when you are dealt blackjack, as they have a far better edge.
Certain games only allow you to double down on hands of 9, 10, or 11.Try to find a game that allows you to double down on any card, as that can reduce the house edge by 0.25%.
Most games do not allow you to double down after splitting cards.If possible, play a game that permits you to double down after splitting, as it can reduce the house edge by 0.17%.
Many games do not permit a late surrender.Try to find a game that allows a late surrender, as it can slightly reduce the house edge.
Some games do not allow you to re-split aces.Look out for blackjack games that allow you to re-split aces, as it can cut the house edge by 0.08%.
Certain games do not require the dealer to stand on a Soft 17.It is always better to play games in which the dealer must stand on an ace and six, as that lowers the house edge by 0.2%.

You are unlikely to find a real money blackjack or a free online blackjack game that checks every single box mentioned above, but try to find a game that offers as many of those advantages as possible.

You will be paid out at 1:1 if you get closer to 21 than the dealer without going bust. If you are dealt blackjack, you will immediately be paid out at 3:2.

The house edge for this game is typically 0.4%, but as discussed earlier, the number of decks used and the rules on doubling down, splitting cards, and surrendering will impact the house edge.

Playing blackjack with just one deck will decrease the house edge. You also need to consider rules regarding doubling down and splitting cards, but some single deck blackjack games have a house edge of just 0.15% or 0.25%.

This is a popular online blackjack game from Slingo, which allows you to switch any card in your hand for a random card. You can pay a fee to switch out a bad card, or you may be offered a payment to switch out a strong card.

Switching cards will change the house advantage. However, if you never exchange cards, the base game has a house edge of just 0.37%, which is attractive.

Zappit Blackjack allows you to “zap” your cards if you are dealt a 15, 16, or 17, which are weak hands. That is naturally helpful, but another rule means that if the dealer goes bust with a 22, your bet will push rather than win.

This rule results in a house edge of 1.13%, which is significantly higher than the edge for a classic blackjack game.

This is a classic blackjack game with a 0.58% house edge. However, it also features a side bet called Blazing 7s Blackjack, which pays 2:1 if you are dealt a single 7, 25:1 if you are dealt a pair of 7s, and 200:1 if you are dealt three 7s.

The Blazing 7s side bet has a house edge of 4.08%. There is also an insurance side bet, which has a 7.4% house edge, so those bets are best avoided if you want to optimize your chances of success.

This game is played with six of eight Spanish decks, which consist of just 48 cards, as the 10s have been removed. That reduces your chances of being dealt blackjack.

However, there are several advantageous rules. For example, a player hand of 21 always wins.

Late surrenders are allowed, and you can also double after a split, re-split aces, double down on any cards, and surrender after doubling. Meanwhile, a six-card 21 pays 2:1, while a seven-card 21 pays 3:1.

These rules result in a competitive house edge: just 0.37% if six decks are used and the dealer is required to stand on a soft 17.

Using betting strategies to win

Some players like to follow progression strategies when playing blackjack. These strategies tell you how much to wager on each hand.

They cannot guarantee success, but they can help you effectively manage your bankroll. These are some of the approaches to consider.

Conservative strategies

Start by determining your base unit, which is a percentage of your playing budget. For example, if you have a $1,000 bankroll and decide to make your base unit 2% of it, you would begin by wagering $20.

These are some of the more conservative strategies to follow when playing blackjack:

  • Paroli | This is a positive progression system, which requires you to increase your bet size by 1 unit after a win. For example, bet $20, then $40, and then $60. If you win three times in a row, go back to the start and bet just one unit again.
  • D’Alembert | A negative progression system in which you increase your bet size by 1 unit after a loss. You decrease it by a single unit after a win, so it is a conservative approach.
  • Oscar’s Grind | This positive progression strategy seeks to grind out small wins. It is similar to the Paroli, as you increase your bet amount by 1 unit after a win, but you only end the cycle and revert to wagering 1 unit again after you have secured a single unit of profit.

Aggressive strategies

Some players prefer to chase down losses in a more aggressive fashion or capitalize on winning streaks. If that sounds appealing, these are some options to consider.

These are some of the more aggressive strategies that you can use:

  • Martingale | Start by betting 1 unit and then double your bet size after each loss. Keep going until you finally win, which wipes out previous losses. You need a large bankroll and high table limits to pursue this negative progression strategy.
  • Reverse Martingale | This is the opposite of the Martingale, as you double your bet after each win. You must be prepared to walk away at some point, or a single loss will erase all previous gains.
  • Fibonacci | Follow the Fibonacci sequence to determine your bet size: 1-1-2-3-5-8-13-21-34-55-89-144-233-377, etc. Start by betting 1 unit, and then move up the sequence by one place after each loss. If you win, go back two places. You may end up betting 233 units or 337 units if you go on a losing streak, so this is an aggressive approach.

It is certainly possible to win at blackjack. The game has a house edge of less than 1%, which means your chances of success are almost 50/50. However, you will need to follow the optimal strategy to enhance your prospects of winning.

Blackjack features a small house edge, so it is unrealistic to expect long-term profits if you play it on a regular basis. The only way to make blackjack profitable in the long term is by counting cards, but that is now difficult, as casinos have several measures in place to prevent you from doing so.

You do not need to count cards to win at blackjack in the short term. However, it is the best way to overcome the game’s inherent house edge if you are chasing long-term profits. Just bear in mind that measures such as continuous shuffling devices are now widely used to combat card counting.

Your chances of success will decrease if you don’t use basic strategy when playing blackjack. You could still win, as the cards are dealt at random, but you will not benefit from the minimum house advantage if you do not make the optimal decisions on each hand.

In theory, the Martingale System guarantees that you will eventually erase all previous losses with a single win. However, in practice, this would only be guaranteed if you had infinite funds, unlimited time, and no table limits.

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