Blackjack has been one of the most popular card game in Las Vegas since the 1950s. One of the main reasons why blackjack has been so popular is that it’s one of the few games in a casino were the player has to make a decision. Every time you make the wrong choice when playing blackjack costs you money in the long run. Fortunately there are five incredibly basic blackjack strategy tips that will keep your bankroll going longer the next time you play blackjack.
1. Never take insurance
The first tip is one that makes the casinos a lot of money every single day, the insurance bet. Insurance is offered when the dealer shows an Ace up card. The player makes a separate wager, equally half the original wager, that the dealers other card is a 10. The wager pays 2-1 odds but you will only win about 30% of time. While professional card counters sometimes will take insurance, it’s a really bad bet while playing basic strategy.
The Blackjack strategy tip is splitting your pairs correctly, something that can be very confusing to new blackjack players. Splitting your hand is offered when you are dealt a pair, such as 5-5 or A-A. You are allowed to make an additional wager and split your hand into two hands! This allows you to get great odds on your bet when you split when the dealer is likely to bust with their hand.
The proper strategy for splitting is:
- A-A – Always split
- 10-10 – Never Split
- 9-9 – Split against 2-6 and 8-9
- 8-8 – Always split
- 7-7 – Split against 2-7
- 6-6 – Split against 2-6
- 5-5 – Never split
- 4-4 – Split against 5-6
- 3-3 – Split against 2-7
- 2-2 – Split against 2-7
3. Hitting 12-16
The absolute worst hands you can be dealt when playing blackjack involve the hand totals of 12-16. These hands are all hands that you can bust on if you hit, but will always lose if the dealer doesn’t bust. This is also an area were your decisions will have the most impact on your bankroll! Luckily there is a very simple strategy that you can follow to reduce your losses on these hands. Basic strategy has you hit these hands when you are up against an Ace or 7-10 and stand against 2-6!
4. Doubling Down
One great way to improve your odds when playing blackjack is to double down on your good hands. Doubling down allows you to double your bet on a single card hit, often the dealer will give this to you face down to add suspense.
Basic strategy double down guide –
- With a total of 11 – Double against anything except an Ace
- With a total of 10 – Double against anything except Ace or Ten
- With a total of 9 – Double against 3-6
The last tip for playing basic strategy blackjack involves surrendering your bet. While not offered at every casino, surrendering your bet allows you to surrender your hand, and lose only half of your wager! There are a couple of hands in blackjack that you should surrender if the house rules allow it. You should surrender a hand total of 16 against a 9,10, or Ace up card and a hand total of 15 against a 10. Other hands you should hit or stand based on proper strategy.
These five simple basic strategy tips will help you make your gambling bankroll last longer. There are more complicated strategies out there that will increase your odds more, but if you are a casual gambler this is more than enough to increase your entertainment at the tables.
Upton Goodwin is a Las Vegas local who always looks for ways to save money while enjoying everything Las Vegas has to offer!