Things to Consider before Blowing Your Money at the Blackjack Table

Blackjack offers better odds than most casino games, at least for players who are aware of the finer points of the game. For example, it’s a good idea to always split 8’s. So here is some advice that can help rookies win at this ever popular game.

Play basic strategy

Knowing the basic strategy regarding when to stand, hit, split, or double down is the first set of skills to master.

For the best chance of winning, players should:

  • stand when they have 12-16 and the dealer has 2-6
  • hit when they have 12-16 and the dealer has 7-Ace
  • split Aces and 8s
  • double down when they have 11 and the dealer has 2-10
  • hit or double down when they have two Aces or cards valued at 2-6

Gift shops usually sell cards with this basic strategy spelled out so that you don’t have to memorize it all at once.

Don’t play insurance

Playing insurance is never a good move unless players are counting cards. This is because the house has a 6 percent advantage over players with an insurance bet. The way it works is that a player who has blackjack will win only the original bet, but if both the dealer and the player have blackjack, the hand is a draw.

Check the dealer’s up card

Before making any move, a player needs to take the dealer’s up card into account. The situation is bad for players when the dealer’s up card is 2-6, and good when it is 7-Ace.

Don’t sit in the first base seat

Avoid the first base chair; sitting further away gives players more time to review their hands and the dealer’s up card.

Start small

It’s always a good idea to start with small bets and conservative plays to get a sense of whether the dealer is hot or cold. The casino never stops, but players can take their time. Hot and cold streaks have a huge effect on players.

Don’t buy into gambler’s myths

Pay no attention to the decisions of fellow blackjack players at the table while you play. The logic of the game is that players are really only facing the dealer. Just be polite and focus on your own hand.

Don’t get burned

Wise players will set a cap on how much money they’re willing to lose and how much time they’re going to spend before they walk into a casino and start playing. Don’t let promotions or comps convince you to go beyond these limits that you set for yourself. According to various studies, you have a 3 in 4 chance of winning at some point during your visit to a casino, but only a 4 percent chance of coming out ahead. Whether you think you’re on a winning or a losing streak, stick with your original decision about when to walk away.