Blackjack is well-known as one of the casino games where players have the best odds of winning. However, winning is far from guaranteed, and inexperienced players are much more likely to lose to the house compared to those using time-tested strategies. One of the most overlooked parts of playing blackjack is betting.
The biggest challenge that new players face is adapting their betting strategies as the game progresses. The game changes every time a hand is dealt, which is why it’s critical that you know which strategies work under certain sets of circumstances when you play blackjack. Here are some guidelines you’ll want to keep in mind.
Progressive Betting Strategies
If you’ve had several great hands, you should probably raise your bet on the next one, right? No! Although this is a strategy many players use, there’s absolutely zero science backing it up.
You may have a great strategy (or you may just get lucky), but that doesn’t mean that every hand is going to be a winner. Betting your entire budget on a single hand is never a good idea.
So let’s get this out of the way, right off the bat – don’t change your hands based on previous outcomes. Some players use what’s called a progressive betting strategy, meaning that they’ll either increase or decrease their bets after each winning hand. There are various theories behind both a positive and negative progressive betting strategy, but the reality is that you could always wind up with a bad deal on the next hand.
Forget about your past hands. Even if you have a good system, that’s no guarantee that any single hand will be a winner. It’s most important to set a reasonable bet and double down later if things are going your way.
A soft 17 is a hand that includes an ace and a six. Most people know that they should always hit on this hand because they don’t have to worry about going over. The worst scenario is that you are dealt a five-card and have to start over again from 12.
What most people don’t do is change their bet. Since you have a very strong chance of winning on a soft 17, it’s generally a good idea to double down to increase your possible winnings.
A hard 17 is a hand that adds up to 17 without an ace. If you hit on this hand, you have a 69% chance of going over 21, which means that your safest bet – in this instance – is to hold.
Dealer Has an Ace
Repeat after me: never double down if the dealer has an ace card up. The dealer has a higher chance of winning with an ace on the table, regardless of the hand, you’re currently playing.
Your Hand is a 10 or 11
Aside from a soft 17, you have the best odds of winning when your hand is a 10 or 11. These are usually good times to double down, but keep the following considerations in mind:
1, If you’re playing an 11, you should always double down unless the dealer card is an ace. 2, If you’re playing a 10, you should double down unless the dealer is sitting on either a 10 or an ace.
Making a profit at blackjack isn’t just about winning as many hands as possible. You’ll also want to maximize your winnings in good hands, which means you should always double down under these circumstances.
Playing a Nine
If your first two cards add up to nine, you may still want to double down. However, your odds of winning aren’t as good as they would be if your two cards added up to a 10 or 11. You’ll only want to double down if the dealer card is a 3 through 6. Otherwise, they have a better chance of getting close to 21 without going over, in which case doubling down wouldn’t be a smart strategy.
Playing an Eight or Lower
There’s no way of knowing how the game is going to turn out if your first two cards add up to an eight or lower, so don’t double down at this stage in the game.
Pair of Aces or Eights
Virtually everyone has heard the term “aces and eights.” If you don’t know what it means, here’s how to use it to your advantage…
Most casinos allow you to split two identical cards. In other words, you can create a new hand and play a card of the same value on each hand. You’ll almost definitely want to use this strategy if you’re dealt either aces or eights.
Why? Well, two eights will add up to 16, which isn’t a very good hand to win with. You have a much better chance of winning with two separate hands than each has on eight. The ace is a great card to have in any hand because it protects you from going over 21. However, the second ace is useless, so you might as well use it on another hand to have a strong chance of winning both.
Of course, under these circumstances, you’re going to need to look at each hand independently to decide whether or not it’s a good idea to double down. Get Your Betting Strategy Down
If you’re going to play blackjack, you need to have a smart betting strategy that’s based on your odds of winning. Forget those “good feelings” or the hunches you get down deep in your gut. Ultimately, your hunches can’t control the outcomes of the cards.
As long as you double down when you have the best chance of winning, you’ll increase your long-term winnings – even if you don’t increase your number of winning hands.
Have another betting strategy to add to this list? Share your recommendations by leaving a comment below: