The title of this article might sound a little strange, but the truth is that most blackjack players don’t use any of the tips you can find about playing better. Instead of trying to learn how to improve, most blackjack players just go with their gut.
However, there’s a much better way to play blackjack, and it’s not even that hard. Instead of going with your gut, you can learn a few simple tips based on mathematical facts that help you win.
Here are five real money blackjack tips that most gamblers won’t use, but you should take advantage of them to immediately improve your results.
Why You Need to Skip Insurance
You can find plenty of lists of tips and ways to play blackjack, but most of them don’t show you why you should follow the advice. They just tell you what to do and you’re supposed to just take their word for it.
I’m going to tell you what you should do, and then I’m going to show you why it’s true. I’m going to use math to show you, but you don’t have to worry about the math. It’s all going to be explained in simple terms so you can understand it even if you hate math.
The first thing you need to know is that blackjack insurance, or even money as some dealers call it, is a bad wager option.
Every time the dealer has an ace he or she offers the player a chance to place an insurance bet. The bet costs half of what your first wager was, and if the dealer has a blackjack you win 2 to 1 on the wager.
When this happens, you lose your first wager and win the insurance wager, which lets you break even on the hand. This is what most blackjack players look at, and why they think this is a good bet.
But when you look at insurance this way you’re ignoring what happens when the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack. And the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack well over half the time. When the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack you lose the insurance bet.
But even if you didn’t think about what happens when you lose the insurance wager, it’s still a bad risk.
The wager pays 2 to 1, which is the same as 8 to 4. But the odds or ratio of the dealer having a blackjack is 9 to 4, not 8 to 4. For the wager to be fair these ratios need to be the same. And the difference in the ratios is why you lose money in the long run taking insurance.
6 to 5 Tables Cost You Money Every Time You Play
The next math lesson is even more straightforward than insurance. When you complete a blackjack, or natural 21, you get paid more than 1 to 1. The amount you get paid is listed on the table, and is almost always either 3 to2 or 6 to 5.
Most blackjack players don’t think anything about the difference and this is one of the biggest gambling mistakes, the difference in how much you win or lose is huge. And it’s easy to see the difference using a simple example.
How often do you get a natural blackjack? Do you think you get one once an hour? Do you get one once every two hours? If you’re like most blackjack player you don’t really know the answer. But you know that you get a few blackjacks every time you play.
It doesn’t really matter how often you get a blackjack. What’s important is that you understand how much it costs you when you only get paid 6 to 5 instead of 3 to 2 when you do get a blackjack.
I’m going to use a simple $10 wager for this example. This makes it easy for you to adjust the numbers if you bet more.
When you bet $10 and get a blackjack paying 6 to 5, you win $12. When you bet $10 and get a blackjack paying 3 to 2 you win $15.
$3 doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but I don’t want to give the casino a single $1 more than I have to. And the losses keep getting bigger every time you get another blackjack that doesn’t pay 3 to 2.
Focus on These Casino Rules
You learned about two important rules so far. But there are other rules that you need to know about when you play blackjack. Every blackjack rule either helps you or helps the casino.
Here’s a list of blackjack rules that you need to know about. And each rule has a quick explanation of which way is better for you. You aren’t going to find blackjack games with every single good rule, but the idea is to find games with as many of these good rules as possible when you play.
- Surrender – Blackjack games that allow surrender are better than games that don’t offer it.
- Stand or hit on soft 17 – Blackjack games where the dealer stands on a soft 17 are better than games where the dealer hits on a soft 17.
- Splitting pairs – Most blackjack games allow you to split pairs, but some games let you split them when you draw a new pair. The more splits you’re allowed the better.
- Doubling down – The best games allow doubling down on any number of cards at any time. This is a rare rule, so you usually have to play games that allow doubling down on any two cards.
- Numbers of decks in play – The smaller the number of decks in play the better.
Play Free Blackjack to Memorize Gambling Strategy
Now that you know everything you need to know about blackjack rules and finding games with the best rules, the next step is to learn how to use the best blackjack strategy.
The best way to play every blackjack hand is called blackjack strategy. You need to know what blackjack strategy is and you need to use it when you play. And blackjack strategy is easy to learn.
Use Free Online Blackjack to Practice Counting
The final tip is that you can beat blackjack if you learn how to count cards. To win with counting you have to play live blackjack, but you can use free online blackjack to help you practice counting.
Pick up a book about counting cards or read some good articles about it. Choose a solid counting system like the hi-lo, learn exactly how it works, and then practice your counting skills.
You don’t have to use free online blackjack to practice counting. You can start with a deck of cards. It doesn’t matter how you practice, as long as you practice long enough to be able to count faster than dealers can deal in live blackjack play.
You can even find software that is designed to help you learn how to count cards.
Once you learn how to count, try your luck in a live casino blackjack game. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work perfectly the first time. Keep practicing until you can win.
The difference between playing blackjack using your gut or guessing what the best plays are and using a proven method can be $1,000’s in extra losses every year. And it’s not even that hard to learn how to use math to make the best plays.
Once you understand why 6 to 5 blackjack tables are the worst and why insurance is a bad wager, you’re halfway home. All you have to do is learn a little more about a few rules and become a blackjack strategy master.
The final step is a big one, but it also is the way to getting an edge. Use free online blackjack games to practice how to count cards.