Many amateur players overlook the importance of seemingly small blackjack tips. Even with a firm understanding of the blackjack rules and a basic grasp on blackjack strategy, you may find yourself in a world of hurt when you actually start playing the game. That's because blackjack strategy, while often great in theory, can be extremely hard to remember and apply in a live situation with thousands of slot machines and general casino commotion ringing in your ears. The good news is that as long as there have been people scheming to beat the blackjack house advantage, there have also been people condensing their concepts into straightforward blackjack tips. To help you more easily master the game, we here at PlayingExpert.com have further condensed our own online blackjack tips into one simple section. Now how easy is that?
Blackjack Tips: Never Split 10s
Tens are great. When you've got a 10 in your hand, the blackjack odds are truly on your side. They can turn into 20s; they can turn into blackjack. Many players believe that if they "play their cards right," two 10s can even turn into two blackjacks. It's tempting to split a pair of jacks, queens, kings or 10s, but the problem is that unless you’re an expert card counter you’re more likely to wind up with a less-than-perfect 15, 16 or 17-point hand.
Consider the blackjack odds. For every deck in an eight-deck shoe there are exactly four aces. Meanwhile, there are also four 5s, four 6s, four 7s and so on. This means that at the start of most shoes you have a 31% chance of drawing a card worth ten points and roughly a 40% chance of drawing a card that will land you in that no man’s land between 14 and 18, with only an 8% chance of drawing an ace. Translation? It's NEVER a good idea to split tens; it is NEVER a good idea to split up a perfectly good 20-point hand that could more easily become two 16s than two blackjacks. Splitting a 10 is a good way to maintain the blackjack house advantage. So, unless you’re a mathematical genius, stick to a smart blackjack strategy by keeping your 10s together.
Blackjack Tips: Always Split 8s and Aces
Ready for the next of our online blackjack tips? Unlike two 10s, splitting a pair of aces is actually quite likely to turn into a pair of “naturals,” or blackjacks, because there are many more 10s than aces in the blackjack point system. Also, a pair of 10s (20 points) is a far better hand than a pair of aces (a soft 12). This should be reason enough to convince you that, while splitting 10s is out, splitting aces is so very in.
As for why you should always split a pair of 8s, the blackjack odds are even more blatant: a 16 is one of the worst hands in the game because it will only beat the dealer if he busts. If you can get out of this terrible hand by breaking it into two 8s, then you stand a good chance of turning it into a pair of 18s or better. And since most casinos won’t let their dealers hit above a 17, you’ll then be sitting on two good hands; it's a move that's definitely worth the extra bet.
Blackjack Tips: Don’t Buy Insurance
Not all of our blackjack tips are about playing; this one's about betting (or rather not betting). Some casinos offer “insurance” when the dealer shows a 10 or an ace. This is a side bet that supposedly allows players to salvage their wagers if the dealer has blackjack, but it boasts one of the most murderous blackjack house advantages in the game.
What most casinos offering insurance won't tell you is that finding a lottery ticket in a trash can has a better chance of paying off. In other words? Insurance is a sucker bet. The dealer is going to get blackjack at some point, and you’re only going to lose money trying to guess when. The only exception to this rule is if you’re counting cards, in which case you’ll know when the dealer is likely to hit 21.
If you’re not a math whiz or are too skittish to try card counting, take our online blackjack tips to heart. The true odds of a dealer getting blackjack are the same as the odds that you’ll get it, and the blackjack odds don't lie. If you play insurance every time, you’ll be making a slew of 50/50 bets on an event that's only got 2% probability.
Blackjack Tips: When the Dealer’s Face-Up Card Is 6 or less…
Want a simple way to determine whether to hit or stand? The next two blackjack tips cover a majority of potential hands. A face-up card of 6 or less means the dealer is more likely to bust. In these situations, it’s a good idea to stand with dangerous hands like 13 through 16. Stand on anything greater than 14 unless the dealer is showing a 2 or 3. If he is, consider hitting just once in case he's caught a run of low cards.
Blackjack Tips: When the Dealer’s Up Card Is a 10…
With an up card worth 10 points, the dealer is more likely to have a solid hand, and you’ll want to play accordingly. With borderline hands worth 12 to 16 points, you should stand if the dealer has a worse hypothetical hand (his up card plus 10), but if he's got a 10 as an up card you should think seriously about hitting. You may even want to hit with a soft 17 since the dealer will hit up to that point, and if he has a 17 too you will lose your bet to the push.
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