When it comes to playing at the casino, there are plenty of different games available that provide great fun and entertainment depending on what you fancy.
Of course, we all have our personal favourites, but one of the most popular games is blackjack and it’s easy to see why. Many believed it originated from French casinos in the early 1700s, and whilst there have been adaptations over the years, it’s still a game that attracts a lot of players.
Even though each hand can be over in a matter of seconds, there’s a lot more to the game than some may realise. It requires sharp thinking, bold decision making and, of course, there’s the element of luck needed if you are to be successful.
Whether you are playing at one of the largest casinos on the planet or are loading up the game from your phone, the thrill and speed of blackjack makes it particularly interesting to play. Here we explore the different approaches that you should always consider when playing.
When to split
The first aspect we look at is when to split. The opportunity to split comes if you are given two cards of the same value on the initial deal, such as two 5s, 8s or cards worth ten like Jack and King.
By splitting, you double your initial wager and are given two further cards, meaning you will take on the dealer with two hands in that game. The obvious risk to this is that if you lose, you can end up losing double what you had initially planned, but it does give you the chance to win. Therefore, if used correctly, it can increase your chances.
It should be pretty clear in some cases that you wouldn’t benefit from splitting. For example, having a pair of 10s is one, and that’s because having 20 is a very good hand, and it’s going to be hard to better that from splitting.
Another pair that you should avoid splitting at all costs is 5s. That’s because it’s a tricky position to get close to 21 from, with a high next card leaving you in a position where you could be on 15, which is tough to win from. Plus, sticking with ten from your two 5s mean you are only potentially one card away from a win.
However, that’s not to say splitting should be avoided at all costs – and players should always split 8s and Aces.
Firstly, with 8s. Some may be sceptical about that as starting with 8 isn’t ideal, which is true. But, 16 is a very difficult number to win from, and hitting from that position can often mean you go bust. Therefore, in the long run, you will always benefit from splitting 8s if you consistently adopt that strategy.
Thankfully, splitting Aces is clear cut. Landing a ten on either of the next two cards will ensure you hit 21, and sticking with them means you are on 12 or 2, so it’s not a tough decision at all.
The one hand you must double down on
Another factor that the player must consider is when to double down. This gives the player a chance to place another wager up the amount you originally staked, but the catch is that you are only given one more card – so it should only be used when you are feeling confident.
And, perhaps the best opportunity to double down comes when you are given a hard 11, which means 11 without an ace. Whilst there are obvious risks attached to it, it’s a good position to be in as a ten will ensure you hit 21, and there are many cards out there to the value of ten.
This is an approach that you need to be careful with and not something to use frequently. Plus, doubling down on anything over 11 means you run the risk of going bust whilst the fact you get just one card should put you off doubling down on anything too low.
Considering when to stand or hit
In most cases in blackjack, the player will have a decision to make to stand or hit after the initial hands are dealt, and a lot depends on the upcard the dealer has. That needs to come into your thinking immediately as it has a big bearing on what you should do.
Essentially, you need to quickly assess what chance they have of winning in comparison to your hand. So, if the upcard is a ten and you are working with a hand that’s up to 15, the reality is you need to take the risk and hit. Yet, if their upcard is low, you can take the chance that they will have to hit and they could go bust themselves.
There are four times as many ten value cards as any other in the deck, so that is a factor. If you’re on 17 and the dealer has a low value, you know the ten won’t make a big impact if it’s pulled out, whereas if they do have a high-value card on show, you may have to prepare to take a risk.
Ultimately, the beauty of blackjack is its unpredictability, and nothing we can say here will ever take that away. Part of the fun is the excitement and thrill as you wait to see what card is revealed or what the dealer has, whether it’s within the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas or online. Having said that though, there are ways you can help yourself, and this insight should ensure you go into the next game prepared and with a greater understanding of how to win.