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Blackjack is a popular casino game that requires skill and strategy to win. The objective of the game is to beat the dealer by having a hand value that is closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand value, without exceeding 21. In this post, we will discuss the best blackjack strategies for beginners that have the highest winning chances.
Learn Basic Strategy
The first and most important strategy for winning at blackjack is to learn basic strategy. Basic strategy is a set of rules that tells you the best decision to make for every possible hand combination based on the dealer’s up card. It is a mathematically proven strategy that can reduce the house edge to as low as 0.5%.
Several scientific studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of basic strategy. For example, a study published in the Journal of Gambling Studies found that players who used basic strategy had a significantly lower average loss per hour compared to those who played by intuition or gut feeling.
To learn basic strategy, you can use a basic strategy chart or an app that provides the optimal play for each hand. It may take some time and practice to memorize the strategy, but it will pay off in the long run. Here are some of the most basic strategies that can help you make the best decisions at the table:
- Hit or Stand: One of the most important decisions you will make in blackjack is whether to hit or stand. The basic strategy chart provides recommendations for when to hit or stand based on your hand value and the dealer’s up card. In general, you should hit when your hand value is 8 or less, or when you have a soft hand (an ace and one or more other cards that can be counted as 11 or 1) and the dealer’s up card is 6 or less. You should also hit when you have a hard hand (a hand without an ace or a hand where the ace can only be counted as 1) and the dealer’s up card is 7 or higher. You should stand when your hand value is 17 or higher, or when you have a soft hand and the dealer’s up card is 7 or higher. You should also stand when you have a hard hand and the dealer’s up card is 6 or less.
- Double Down: Doubling down is a strategy that allows you to double your bet and receive one additional card. You should double down when you have a hand value of 9, 10, or 11 and the dealer’s up card is 6 or less. You should also double down when you have a soft hand and the dealer’s up card is 6 or less.
- Split Pairs: If you are dealt a pair, you can split them into two separate hands and receive one additional card for each hand. You should split pairs when you have a pair of aces or 8s, as splitting them can improve your chances of winning. You should also split pairs of 2s, 3s, 6s, 7s, and 9s when the dealer’s up card is 6 or less.
- Insurance: As mentioned earlier, taking insurance bets is not a profitable strategy in blackjack, as the house edge is high. You should avoid taking insurance bets and stick to basic strategy.
- Quitting: Knowing when to quit is also an important strategy in blackjack. You should set a win and loss limit for each session and stick to it. If you reach your win or loss limit, you should quit and walk away from the table. It is also important to avoid chasing your losses, as this can lead to bigger losses and a depleted bankroll.
Manage your bankroll
Another important strategy for winning at blackjack is to manage your bankroll. Bankroll management involves setting a budget for how much you are willing to spend on blackjack and sticking to it. It also involves adjusting your bets based on your bankroll and the game conditions.
A study published in the Journal of Gambling Behavior found that players who practiced bankroll management had a significantly higher chance of leaving the casino with a profit compared to those who did not.
To manage your bankroll, you should set a budget for each session, divide your bankroll into smaller units, and only bet a small percentage of your bankroll on each hand. You should also adjust your bets based on the count and the table limits.
Avoid Insurance Bets
One of the common mistakes that beginners make in blackjack is taking insurance bets. Insurance bets are side bets that players can make when the dealer’s up card is an ace. The bet pays 2:1 if the dealer has a blackjack, but it has a high house edge of 7.4%.
Several studies have shown that taking insurance bets is not a profitable strategy. For example, a study published in the Journal of Gambling Studies found that players who took insurance bets had a significantly higher average loss per hour compared to those who did not.
To avoid insurance bets, you should stick to basic strategy and only make the recommended plays based on the dealer’s up card and your hand value.
Use Card Counting
Card counting is a strategy that involves keeping track of the cards that have been dealt to estimate the probability of getting certain cards. It is a more advanced strategy that requires practice and concentration, but it can give you an edge over the house.
Several scientific studies have shown that card counting can be an effective strategy for winning at blackjack. For example, a study published in the Journal of Gambling Studies found that expert card counters had a significantly higher average profit per hour compared to non-counters.
To use card counting, you should assign a point value to each card based on its rank, and keep a running count of the cards that have been dealt. You should also adjust your bets based on the count, as a high count indicates a higher probability of getting a favorable hand.
Find the Right Table
Finally, finding the right table can make a big difference in your chances of winning at blackjack. “Finding the Right Table” in blackjack refers to the strategy of choosing a blackjack table that offers the best game conditions, such as the number of decks, the rules, and the table limits. This can have a significant impact on your chances of winning at blackjack.
For example, a single deck game with favorable rules, such as the dealer standing on soft 17 and a 3:2 payout for blackjack, will have a lower house edge than a game with multiple decks and unfavorable rules, such as the dealer hitting on soft 17 and a 6:5 payout for blackjack.
In addition to the rules, you should also consider the table limits. Choosing a table with a minimum bet that fits your bankroll will help you manage your bankroll effectively and avoid losing all your money in a few hands.
Furthermore, you should also pay attention to the other players at the table. Playing at a table with skilled players can be beneficial, as they may make fewer mistakes and play with a basic strategy, creating a more favorable environment for you to win. However, playing at a table with aggressive or inexperienced players may make the game more unpredictable and harder to predict.