Blackjack has the reputation for being an expensive game. This perception is only furthered by $25 minimum bets featured at many land-based casinos.
However, you can actually play blackjack rather cheaply. In fact, you can enjoy this casino classic for as little as $10.
And no, I’m not talking about betting the entire $10 on a single hand. You honestly have the ability to last for a while on this small budget.
But how can you play for the cost of a fast food meal? Here are seven tips that’ll allow you to enjoy blackjack as frugally as possible.
1 – Commit to Playing Online Blackjack
The first thing you must do to enjoy cheap blackjack is focus on online casinos. Online blackjack is by far cheaper than playing at tables in land-based establishments.
Brick and mortar casinos are all about the experience and atmosphere. They feature real tables, human dealers, and cards you can touch. However, these casinos also need to front more costs to make all of this happen. They pay dealers minimum wage and cover high utility costs.
Online casinos and software providers also need to cover bills as well. But they don’t have to pay dealers or massive utilities for brick and mortar locations. The providers that online casinos license their software from can thus afford to offer bargain blackjack. The industry standard is a $1 minimum bet.
At this rate, you’ll have 10 units with a $10 bankroll. Assuming you don’t have terrible luck in the beginning, you can last for a decent amount of time with this sum. But you can find even cheaper games in some instances. Certain casinos and software providers offer tables with just a $0.10 minimum wager.
You’ll have 100 units in this instance with only $10. By comparison, you’d need $2,500 to have 100 units on a $25 land-based table. Yet another great thing about online blackjack is that you aren’t forced to bet anything to play. Instead, you can just fire a game up and enjoy free hands.
In most cases, you’ll have to register at the casino before playing for free. But it’s quick and fast.
2 – Look for Games With a Low House Edge
Land-based casinos used to be filled with single-deck games that offered low house edges. This situation began to change, though, when blackjack card counters arrived on the scene in the 1960s.
Vegas and other major gambling destinations have since changed rules to minimize counters’ edges. Unfortunately, regular players have suffered as a result.
Here are some of the unfavorable blackjack rules that have entered casinos within the last half century:
- 6:5 natural blackjack payouts — Raises house edge by 1.4% when compared to 3:2 payouts
- Six or eight decks — Increases house advantage by either 0.48% (six decks) or 0.50% (eight decks), versus single-deck blackjack
- Dealer hits on a soft 17 — Raises house advantage by 0.20% when compared to the dealer standing in this situation
- No doubling down after splitting — Increases house edge by 0.13%, versus being able to double down in this scenario
Many land-based casinos today feature some or even all of these rules. Others try to trick players by offering single-deck tables with 6:5 natural payouts, which is still a terrible game.
However, you can further grind down the house edge by finding the best online blackjack games. The software providers that offer blackjack can differ slightly on rules.
You should always check out the info/rules screen before playing a new game. This section should show the rules for the particular game you’re dealing with.
If you’d like a shortcut towards finding the top online blackjack games, then here’s a small list:
- Microgaming single-deck blackjack — 0.31% house edge
- Betsoft single-deck blackjack — 0.35% house edge
- Playtech single-deck blackjack — 0.38% house edge
Blackjack tables with lower house advantages give you a stronger chance to win. In turn, you’ll have a better opportunity at making your $10 last.
3 – Learn Blackjack Strategy
Finding games with low house edges is great. But you can’t fully take advantage of these situations without the proper strategy.
After all, blackjack is one of the most strategic casino games. Without proper strategy knowledge, you’ll give up ground to the house.
Luckily, blackjack strategy is easier to learn than most people realize. Here are simple steps you can take to master the game:
- Google the term “blackjack strategy chart”
- Look through Google Images
- Choose a chart that best reflects the game you’re playing (e.g. downtown Vegas rules)
- Refer to the chart for each decision
- Make the appropriate decision based on the chart’s advice
Below is a great example of a standard blackjack strategy chart:
Eventually, you won’t have to lean on the strategy chart so often. But you should definitely use one early on to help memorize how to properly handle each situation.
Trainers offer another easy way to learn blackjack strategy. You may actually prefer these online programs when considering that they’re more interactive.
A trainer sees you play online blackjack like normal. It points out when you make correct and incorrect strategy decisions along the way.
Unlike some gambling training programs, blackjack trainers don’t cost anything to use. You can easily find free trainers through a basic Google search.
4 – Don’t Play Multiple Hands
Given the low minimum bets in online blackjack, you may be tempted to play multiple hands at once. However, this practice can drain your $10 bankroll much faster.
You don’t have double the chances to win when playing two hands simultaneously. Instead, you have double the chances to lose, given the house edge. You should definitely avoid any multi-hand blackjack variations. These fun novelties are just casino traps in disguise.
Additionally, you want to avoid opening multiple blackjack tables. Online blackjack moves fast enough to the point where you don’t need two or more tables going.
5 – Take Advantage of Blackjack Bonuses and VIP Rewards
Blackjack bonuses and loyalty rewards are overrated by the average gambler. But they still offer enough value to where they can boost your chances of surviving on $10.
Most online casinos automatically enroll you in their VIP program after your first deposit. From here, every blackjack hand that you play will count towards rewards.
These bonuses are certainly worth finding, because they can offer nice sums of cash. In some cases, you can earn hundreds of dollars through these offers.
The key word here is “earn.” You need to meet terms and conditions in order to withdraw such bonuses. The most crucial of these terms is wagering requirements (a.k.a. rollover). Wagering requirements refer to how much you must bet before cashing out.
Here’s an example:
- A casino is offering a 100% match blackjack bonus worth up to $100.
- You deposit $10, thus qualifying for a $10 bonus.
- Rollover on this offer is 200x.
- 200 x 10 = $2,000 must be wagered.
Keep in mind that blackjack bonuses carry higher wagering requirements than slots offers. Nevertheless, they’re still worth going after in hopes of boosting your meager $10 bankroll.
6 – Avoid the Temptation to Increase Your Bets
You may start to win some hands and begin building on your original $10. Furthermore, you might be tempted to increase your wagers to take advantage of a hot streak.
But even if your bankroll grows to between $20 and $100, you should still play conservatively. After all, these amounts aren’t exactly going to make you rich.
If you do want to up your bets, then you should start small. Assuming you begin with $0.10 wagers, go up to $1. Likewise, you could increase a $1 original starting bet to $2.
The only time you should significantly raise your wagers with a small bankroll is if you don’t care about how long you’ll last. Perhaps you just want to win a lot of money and don’t care about losing in five minutes or less. Outside of this, though, I recommend sticking to low bets.
7 – Don’t Expect to Get Rich
Occasionally, you’ll hear incredible stories of gamblers running up a small sum of money to an exorbitant amount. Archie Karas is the best example of this scenario. The Greek-born gambler once turned $50 into a $40 million fortune.
Of course, the odds of such a run happening to the average person are next to zero. You can always dream, but $10 most likely isn’t going to get you very far.
The best approach is to simply play for entertainment with such a tiny bankroll. As outlined in this post, you should get plenty of enjoyment out of a small amount.
The big thing, though, is to avoid being disappointed if things don’t work out. Even if you have bad luck and quickly lose, then at least you’re only down $10.
Blackjack doesn’t have to be an expensive game. This is especially true if you play at online casinos. Gaming sites and their software providers don’t have massive expenses like land-based casinos do. They can afford to offer more favorable blackjack games as a result.
You can take advantage of both low stakes and small house edges with the online version. Betting $1 per hand on a game with under a 0.5% house advantage gives you a strong chance of lasting.
Sometimes, surviving in gambling is all about avoiding temptations. In blackjack, these temptations come from wanting to increase bets and play multiple hands (online). You especially can’t do either of these things when you’re playing with just $10.
One more thing worth recapping is VIP rewards. You can increase your chances of lasting even more by earning loyalty benefits and deposit bonuses.
Even if you follow everything on this list, you still might end up losing your $10 rather quickly. But these tips give you a much better chance of playing blackjack for cheap and possibly even making profits.