Professional poker player Doyle Brunson is famous for saying that gambling is “a hard way to make an easy living.” Keep it relaxed. Play when you can. Never use money you need for your livelihood to play. Never sit down at a blackjack table with the mentality that you must win tonight. I'm proud to finally add a blackjack game and trainer to my web site. If you make an inferior play, the game will warn you first. If doubling or splitting is mathematically the correct play, but you don't have enough chips, the game will give the best advice for what you can afford to do.
Yes, understanding the basics of blackjack is relatively easy. But, before you can walk away a winner, you need a deeper understanding of the nuances of the game and casino protocol.
Finding a table: Strategic seating
Blackjack begins by selecting a seat at the table. Typically, a blackjack table allows for five to seven players. Whenever you see an empty seat at a blackjack table, you may assume it’s for your taking (unless chips or a coat are holding the spot for a player who just stepped away for a moment or unless some player is playing two hands). In most cases, joining a game in progress is okay, although some tables have a No-Midshoe Entry policy (usually marked by a sign at the table), which means you have to wait until the shuffle before playing.
For your first trip to the tables, you’re better off finding a nearly full table. Although the number of players at the table hardly affects the odds on your hands, the game is much quicker with fewer players. A fuller table gives you more time to think about each hand without being rushed or pressured.
Seeking single-deck tables
Without getting into a lot of math, here’s a good rule to follow: The fewer decks the casino uses, the better for you. Your chances for success increase if you can find a single-deck game. Most casinos worldwide have gone to six or more decks in an attempt to thwart card counters (skilled players who keep track of cards). But some places still deal blackjack the old-fashioned way — with one deck of 52 cards. Most of the casinos in northern Nevada (Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Wendover) still use one deck of cards at many of their blackjack tables. If you aren’t sure how many decks the casino is using, just ask.
Eyeing table bet levels
Before you actually sit down, look for the table’s minimum and maximum betting limits. Every table has these fixed limits, which the casino usually posts on a small sign located on the table to the right of the dealer.
You may sit down at a table where the placard says $5–$500, which means you have to bet at least $5 on every hand and can never bet more than $500 on any one spot. Typically, the higher the minimum starting bet, the higher the maximum bet for that table.
When you’re starting out, find the lowest minimum table in the casino and begin there. Making smaller bets keeps you out of trouble until you understand the game better — and you’re less likely to end up sitting next to a high roller (who may not appreciate a novice at his table).
After you select your seat, you need to buy chips from the dealer. Select the amount of money you want to start with and lay your cash on the felt in front of you. The dealer changes your cash into chips and slides them across the felt to you.
Don’t hand your money directly to the dealer; doing so is a breach of etiquette and brands you as a greenhorn.
After you receive your chips, leave them on the table in front of you. Chips come in several denominations and are color-coded. Although every casino uses distinctive chips, most colors are standard.
Start off with a small amount of chips. A good approach is to cash in no more than 25 percent of your daily bankroll for chips. For example, if you budget $400 for the day, buy in for no more than $100 to start. This way, when you’re losing, you minimize the temptation to bet more than you planned. You can always buy more chips later if necessary.
Homing in on house rules
Blackjack rules are fairly similar worldwide — with a few variations. Sometimes a small placard sitting on the table indicates where the casino stands in regard to certain scenarios. If you don’t see a placard, you may ask the dealer what the house rules are, even when you’re in the middle of a hand.
Does the dealer hit on a soft 17?
A soft hand is any hand that counts an ace as 11 rather than 1. The hand is soft because it can’t bust on the next card. For example, if you hit (take another card) a soft 18 (an ace and a 7) with a 6, the ace automatically reverts to 1 (rather than 11), and the hand total is now 14 (rather than 24, which would be a bust).
Whether a dealer hits on a soft 17 is usually spelled out in bold white letters right on the felt. Normally the dealer counts an ace as 11 anytime he has a hand of 17 or more. However, about half the casinos worldwide deviate from this rule on soft 17 (an ace and a 6). In those cases, the ace counts as 1, and the dealer hits his soft 17.
Is doubling down restricted to certain card combinations?
In Las Vegas, casinos typically allow doubling down, an option that allows you to double your bet, on any two cards, but other places may restrict this move to just 10s or 11s. The placard probably won’t list restrictions to doubling down. If you aren’t sure whether restrictions are in place, don’t be afraid to ask the dealer, even if you’re in the middle of a hand.
Can you surrender?
A playing option known as surrender is an extremely profitable option for you as a player, but not many casinos offer it. When you surrender, you lose half of your initial bet and give up your hand. For example, if you bet $10 and are dealt a 16, you can surrender and only lose $5 (half your bet) rather than risk the entire $10 on a bad hand. Once again, the placard may not readily advertise this rule variation, so always ask if surrender is available.
Dealing what’s in the cards
All right, you’re situated at the table, you’ve made your bet in the betting box, and your heart is pumping like a jackhammer. The dealer flashes you a warm smile, wishes you good luck, shuffles the deck, and asks you to cut the cards.
If you’re playing a one- or two-deck game, the dealer holds the cards in his hands and deals you two cards face-down. You can pick up these cards, but make sure you only hold them in one hand.
However, the majority of blackjack games today use six or eight decks. In these cases, the dealer deals your two cards face-up from a shoe (a boxlike device that houses the cards).
Whether your cards are dealt face-up or face-down really doesn’t matter — dealers follow strict rules, and seeing the values of your cards doesn’t influence them. Dealers’ hands always start off with one card exposed and one card hidden, regardless of the number of decks.
Math isn’t something that most gamblers want to think about when they’re gambling, but it can help in so many ways. Blackjack is a casino game that shows exactly how much knowing a little bit of math can improve results.
Hollywood casino indiana promotions. In fact, if you embrace the arithmetic behind the game, you can actually win more than you lose when you play blackjack.
Here are seven mathematical facts that every blackjack player needs to know.
1 – Odds Based on a Specific Set of Cards
The best thing about playing blackjack for real money is that everything that happens when you play is controlled by a specific set of cards. Most blackjack players don’t think about the game this way, but there are only 52 cards in a deck.
Even if the game is using six or eight decks of cards, there are still only 52 possible cards. And the base game of blackjack really only uses 13 sets of cards. This is because the jack of diamonds and jack of spades are the same. And because there are 13 ranks of cards, there are only 13 sets of cards that matter, no matter how many decks are being used.
This might not seem like it matters much, but once you understand why this is important and how you can use it, it helps you make smart decisions at the blackjack table.
If you have a hard 16 and the dealer is showing a six, do you know what the correct play is? You’re going to learn more about strategy cards in a different section. But if you don’t have a strategy card, you can get a good idea of the correct play using the fact that there are only 13 possible card ranks in the deck.
If you hit and get any card of six through king, you bust. If you bust, it doesn’t matter what happens to the dealer hand. This means that eight cards will make you bust, and only five help your hand.
You also know that the dealer has one of the 13 cards as his or her face down card. If the dealer has a 10 through king, they have a hard 16 and have the same chance to bust as you. You also know that if they have a six through nine, they have to hit and have a decent chance to bust. This means that eight out of 13 cards are bad for the dealer.
If these are the only things you know, it’s clear that the best play is to stand. This is why a specific set of cards is valuable to you when you play blackjack. You can use this information every time you play.
2 – Splitting Eights
Now, you can see some specific ways to use the information you learned about in the first section. Consider your hand if you start with a pair of eights.
You have to place another wager, but it’s worth it to avoid starting with a hard 16. You receive another card on each of your eights.
Here’s a list of cards that help you a great deal on an eight. A two, three, nine, 10, jack, queen, king, and ace all put you in a good spot. This is eight out of 13 cards. Even a four through seven is better than a hard 16. This means that, by splitting, you can’t possibly be in a worse spot than playing it as a hard hand.
If you get another eight, you can split again.
3 – Splitting Aces
When you start with a pair of aces, you have either two or 12. Neither of these is a good starting total. But when you split aces, you have an opportunity to improve by a large amount.
Any of the cards 10 through king give you a total of 21. A six through nine all give you a soft 17 or better. The only cards that don’t help you much are two through five, and you still have a soft hand with each of these. You still have a chance to win. This is another situation where eight out of the 13 possibilities improve your hand quite a bit.
You can see how the mathematics of blackjack help you improve your chances to win by the examples in these first three sections.
4 – Doubling Down
The usefulness of mathematics in blackjack doesn’t stop with the examples above. It’s also useful in situations where you need to determine how to get more money in play when you have a good chance to win.
When you have a hard 11, 10, or nine, it’s often more profitable to double down than to hit. When you double down, you get twice as much money in play on the hand, and you receive one more card to complete your hand.
With an 11, you should double down every time except when the dealer has an ace showing. With a hard 10, doubling down is the most profitable play except when the dealer has an ace or 10 point card showing. And with a nine, you should double down when the dealer shows a three through six.
A few soft hands also are more profitable to double down with, and you can learn more about these hands by using a strategy card. You can learn more about strategy cards in the next section.
5 – Casino Strategy Cards
Now that you see how valuable it is to use math when gambling, you might be wondering if you need to do all of the math yourself. I’m going to put your mind at ease. Someone else has already done all the blackjack math for you and put it in an easy-to-use strategy card.
You can get a strategy card and use it every time you play blackjack. The card has all of the best possible plays, so you simply follow the card on every hand. It covers hard hands, pairs, and soft hands.
6 – Counting Cards
Even if you use a strategy card, you still are fighting a house edge. This means that you’re losing money playing blackjack, even though you’re playing with a small house edge.
But you can use math to help you turn this around and get a small edge against the casino. The way to do this is to use card counting.
If you play blackjack, you should learn more about counting cards. It’s not as hard as you probably think, and once you learn how to use proper card counting systems, you can benefit every time you play.
7 – Sizing Your Bets
Math is also helpful when it comes to figuring out how much you need to bet when you play blackjack. And it’s actually pretty simple to figure this out.
When you play blackjack and the casino has an edge, you need to bet the lowest amount possible. This means that every time you play blackjack and aren’t counting cards, you need to make the table’s minimum wager.
Even when you’re using a strategy card, the casino has an edge. It isn’t a big edge, but it’s still an edge. This means that the bigger your bets are, the more you lose.
How To Play Blackjack And Win
Depending on the size of your bankroll, you should bet as much as possible when you have an edge. In real life, it’s hard to always bet the least and the most possible depending on the situation. But you’re going to learn how to do this as you learn more about counting cards.
The power of blackjack math starts with the 13 ranks of cards in the deck. Once you understand how you can use this knowledge, your results are going to improve right away.
Easy Way To Win Blackjack Slot Machine
Use the math behind a blackjack strategy card to get started, then learn how to count cards. If you practice long enough, you can learn how to get an edge every time you play.