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Although blackjack is the most popular card game in the world, many players remain unclear on the game’s strategies. Some people believe that the game is purely luck-based; however, most gamblers enjoy using techniques to increase their chance of winning. In this article, we explore some of the best blackjack strategies and how to use them.
Split Down the Middle
Another great blackjack strategy is splitting down the middle. Although many players find this tactic confusing, it’s not hard to master after a simple explanation. The move allows you to split your initial two cards and create two separate hands. This means that you’re putting twice as much money on the table to double your rewards. However, it’s important to remember that this move also doubles your risk, so only use the strategy when the cards are in your favour.
Most blackjack strategy charts will advise you to split a pair of aces. Two aces together aren’t going to win you the game, but splitting them allows you to build two strong hands and be in with a chance. It’s also worth spitting a pair of 8’s or 9’s, except with the dealers up-card is a 7, 10, or ace. As a general rule, you should never split a pair of tens as you have a better chance of winning by keeping them together.
Although this method is frowned upon, some players still use the art of card counting to win the game. Even the best strategies still have a house edge, but card counting overcomes this and allows you to increase your winnings. Explained simply, card counting is an extension of the optimal moves using blackjack strategy tables. To increase their chance of winning, card counters keep count of all the high and low valued cards seen by the player. They can then make an informed decision on whether to hit or stay.
Aim for a Soft 17
In most cases, landing on a 17 puts you in a dangerous position. As the hand isn’t very strong, the dealer has a good chance of beating it without going bust. However, hitting on 17 is a risky business; the chances of receiving a 4 or lower are around 30%, so there is roughly a 70% chance of you going bust.
However, aiming for a soft 17 could win you the game. Simply put, a soft 17 is an ace-six hand or an ace-three-three hand. If you’re lucky enough to land one of these, you can keep hitting until you get close to 21. With this in mind, a soft 17 is actually one of the best hands you can have. In most casinos, the dealer is required to hit in this circumstance, so you’ve got an even better chance of winning!
Double Your Bet When Losing
This strategy is similar to the Martingale technique used in roulette. To use it, you must double your bet every time you lose a game. For instance, if you bet £10 and lose, you would increase your next bet to £20. Each time you lose, you continue to double your bet until you win a game. At this point, you can return to your original bet of £10. When used correctly, this strategy allows you to win back all your losses whenever you win a game.
Just like roulette, there are certain limitations for using this strategy for blackjack. To keep your betting responsible, you still need to set a maximum betting limit before starting the game. This means that you can only double your bet so many times until you reach your limit. In blackjack, it’s not uncommon to have a losing streak that lasts for multiple games – sometimes as many as 10 in a row. In this case, you would end up betting big sums of money using this strategy.
Predicting the Cards
Similar to card counting, you can also increase your winnings by estimating the cards of other players. The idea behind this is that the choices made by yourself and the other players can affect which cards the dealer can draw. However, this does not affect the decisions you make. This means that you have an advantage over the dealer if you play your cards right.
In some variants of blackjack, the dealer cannot draw his second card until all players have had their turn. In these games, you may be criticised for your decision as it ultimately affects the card the dealer has drawn. If you choose to hit, rather than stand, the dealer would have a different hand. Although many players swear by this strategy, it can be hard to predict the cards of other players. With this in mind, this technique should only be used if you’re prepared to take the risk.
Avoid Insurance Bets
More of a tip than a strategy, avoid making insurance bets against the dealer if you’re hoping to win big. The average pay-out for these sort of bets is much lower than the normal game. During a normal game of blackjack, the expected return to player (RTP) is around 99%; Insurances bets, on the other hand, only have an RTP of around 95%. With this in mind, insurance bets should be avoided if you’re looking for the best strategy to maximise your winnings. Although you may win in some cases, you will lose your money faster in the long run and find it hard to win back.
Whether you play blackjack for money or just for fun, the strategies above can increase your chances of winning! As always, it’s important to consider your financial situation before using an online or land-based casino.
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