When new variations of blackjack, or new rules appear to be favourable for the player – mentally review the worst blackjack rules ever before you take a seat! What appears to be in your favour may not always be the case! Some of the strategies or rules, when examined closely, reveal the fact that they are not as effective, or as beneficial as many players may believe. Basically, these are some strategies that should never be taken at ‘face value’. If you aim to win when you play blackjack, or if you aspire to play with the best possible odds, then be sure you know some of the worst moves at the blackjack table.
Select Your Strategy with Care
Let’s start with insurance talk and the option to take insurance. Insurance may seem like a confidence booster but it is rarely necessary to opt in on insurance. If you assume, for example that a dealer holds a second hole card with an Ace opener that will give him a blackjack, think again. While a 10-value card is the most likely card to be drawn, assuming so gives the house a 10% edge. Stick with pre-determined calculations on odds before taking insurance on a given hand. Another method of decreasing your odds of a win when you are actually trying to increase them is by counting cards, but you don’t really know how to count cards, or have not yet mastered the basics. Card counting is a skill that requires practice and a lot of focus, along with a great ‘poker face’ to disguise your mental counting. Verse yourself in card counting and practice before you put it in play.
All Hands on Deck
Another word of advice is to go for multiple deck blackjack games, say for example a table that uses eight decks. By increasing the number of decks in play, the house edge goes up to .61%. To offset the edge, the table must offer ample benefits in favour of the player for this table to ‘win’ your patronage. And what to do when you have a hand of 16? The dreaded hand of 16 brings with it the great possibility that you will bust. Generally speaking the basic strategy for a hand of 16 in blackjack is to stand if the dealer has a face up card of 2 through 6 and to hit if the dealers card is an Ace or 7 through 10. This will by no means guarantee you more ‘wins’, however in the long run you will lose less. In addition, with a hand of 16, if the option to surrender is available, to save money in the long run then it is wise to surrender when the dealer holds a 9, 10, or Ace.
In the event that you have a soft 16, then standing or hitting will not be the best option. Rather, double at this point if the dealer holds a 4, 5, or 6 face-up and hit if the dealer holds anything other card face-up. If you have a pair of 8’s, split them every time, for again – in the long run, you will lose less. Lastly, do not shoot for a 17 every hand. While 17 marks a critical sum in blackjack, often referred to as a ‘fault line’, it also puts the player at a statistical disadvantage by several percentage points. Many table rules will follow that a dealer must stand or hit on a 17, some tables even require the dealer to always hit on 17. Be aware of the rules for 17 at the table you select – as it may very well place you at a disadvantage percentage-wise with the house having the edge.
Select Your Table with Caution
When you are ready to choose a table, pay close attention to the rules that the table has set up for blackjack. Most tables will offer even payoffs but will also incorporate additional rules that are favourable to draw you to that table. An example of this could be the ‘SuperFun 21” game which is played with a single deck of cards and generous player rules like the option to surrender, even after hitting, doubling, or splitting. The fact remains in this situation, however, that the house will still maintain a 2.3% edge on even money payout. Tables that pay out 3 to 2 for a player blackjack when the dealer does not have a blackjack are more beneficial for the player. Next, if you have the option to play by the standard rule on Soft 17 – which is the dealer must stand on all 17’s – pick that table.
Top Tips for Blackjack Success
Avoid the tables that play by the newer rule in which a dealer will hit on a soft 17 because it actually increases the house edge by .20%. Examine the doubling rules, as well – for a table that allows you to double only on an 11 will give the house a .25% increase in odds in their favor. If they allow players to double on 10 and 11 the house edge is still increased by .7%. Seek tables that allow you to double on 9 or any soft hand, as well. Finally, look deeper than the surface if you are attracted to a table that pays out 6 to 5 for a blackjack. It sounds great, compared to the typical payout of 3 to 2. The house edge at a 6 to 5 table is 1.2%, and for every ten dollars you wager, you will get paid out at $3 less with a 6 to 5 payout. You are better off playing with 3 to 2 payout at a multiple deck table than a single deck table with 6 to 5. Now that you have an idea that if sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. Exercise caution and know your rules and strategies for the best possible odds and outcomes the next time you set out to take in a friendly game of blackjack.