Blackjack Tips: A Basic Strategy Guide

Dealer puts down a card on blackjack table

Want better results with blackjack? Try our essential blackjack tips.

Blackjack is one of the classic casino card games that people all over the world love to play. Now — thanks to the wonders of modern technology and the internet — you don’t even have to go to a casino to enjoy blackjack, as you can play it online.

If you’re not sure of the rules, blackjack is played against the dealer and is simply a matter of knowing when to split; double down; buy insurance, or not; and taking a hit. If you already know how to play blackjack, or at least have an idea, but would like a bit more knowledge to help you win, here are some blackjack tips you can use the next time you play.

Blackjack Tips to Help You Play Like a Pro

Many novice blackjack players think if they play at lower stakes, they might not lose as much throughout a game, but that’s not entirely true. It could be — depending on the casino and their tables — that lower bets, like £20, lose more than higher ones around £100. So don’t assume less is best and that you might be better off with higher stakes.

Based on statistics, we know that a dealer with a five or six stands a better chance of having a hand than going bust. So if this is what they show, there’s little point in trying to double your seven or less as you may get a lower card and have to take a hit again. Don’t worry or become annoyed if the dealer is winning, because you also might — so stay calm and in control.

Should you take insurance, or a side bet, when the dealer displays an ace? If this happens and you choose to, you can put down half your initial bet. If the dealer then has blackjack (when a 10, jack, queen, or king is their second card), insurance is paid at 2-1. Insurance is not, however, always a safe bet, as, given the number of cards, the dealer needs four, after the ace — so there’s a 30.8% chance of them reaching blackjack.

Other Blackjack Tips You Need to Know

As with any other casino game or type of gambling, it’s always best to never drink and play: it clouds the mind, makes you take unnecessary risks (like high-stakes bets) and you could end up losing a lot of money. Stay sober and you’ll enjoy it all the more. Also, when playing blackjack, don’t go all-in and blow the lot, thinking you’re going to make a killing. It’s best to keep enough of your cash so you can double when you like and also split your hand, giving you the best chances of winning. One of the worst things that can happen in blackjack is when you have two aces, but your funds have run out and can’t do anything other than go bust.

Additionally, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because the table is winning — or losing — it’s going to continue like that, because it may not. And know when to fold, or quit — both when you’re on a long losing streak and when you’re ahead. Carrying on in either situation risks losing a lot.

The most basic strategy to use when playing blackjack is to know the rules. Rely on your head and not your heart — don’t go on gut instinct, because you feel it might be the best move; often, it’s not. Finally, when things start to go south, stay calm and carry on, and they may soon pick up again.

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