How to Think Like a Blackjack Pro
Whether you prefer Blackjack with real cards in Live Dealer games or the RNG-generated version online, playing with real money means you’ll want to maximize your returns. Here are five tips that will get you thinking like a professional at the Blackjack table:
Forget Card Counting
Once upon a time, card-counting skills allowed anyone with a big enough bankroll to know when to bet big on a hot deck, and when to cut back because the dealer had stronger odds. If you can still find a high-stakes Blackjack game limited to one six-deck shoe shuffled manually, it may be worth your while to learn these tricky math skills.
However, in modern land-based operations with ubiquitous continuous-shuffle shoes, or at online sites in which the RNG tech performs the same function, card-counting is pointless.
Learn Basic Strategy
Basic strategy is at the heart of all long-term Blackjack success. The rules-of-thumb are easy to learn: if the dealer is showing less than 7 and you have 12 or more, stand; if the dealer’s card is 7 or higher, hit until you beat 17, or bust.
But the intricacies of when to split and when to double, or the complications that set in when the dealer is showing 2 or 3 and you have 12-16, or how to include other players’ cards and bets when considering your hand, take a little more study and practice, until they are instinctive in a real-money game.
Choose Your Game
Blackjack comes in several versions, both online and at land-based casinos. Rules can vary; particularly those related to when a bet is pushed, or whether certain tied scores result in a push or a win for the dealer. The number of decks in the shoe, whether real or RNG-generated, is also a variable factor.
Your object should be to play Blackjack variants that lower the house’s edge the most: a smaller number of decks per shoe, the most favorable push/win rules, etc. You’ll also want rules that best suit your level of expertise in Blackjack strategy.
Budget Your Bankroll
Another good rule of thumb is to start a Blackjack session with a bankroll of around 20 times your average bet. If you have learnt and practiced Basic Strategy sufficiently, this should allow you to ride out any early runs of bad cards, until your strategic betting starts paying long-term dividends.
So if you’re planning to bet $10 per hand, be sure to start a Blackjack session with at least $200.
Avoid Side Bets
Casinos allow side bets on Blackjack because they make the casino more money. Which inevitably means they help players lose more money; rather learn to play basic Blackjack properly and ignore the fluke bets. After all, if it lucky jackpots were what you were after, you’d be playing slots, right?