Here at Counting Edge we get many emails from readers. Most of them want to know some basic blackjack tips that will improve their chances of winning. There are many advanced strategies that can help you win, but what if you are a new player? We’ve compiled a list of the best basic blackjack tips for the novice. Here are ten things you can do right now to win money at blackjack.
1 – Play Blackjack Online
Our first tip for blackjack players is to start playing blackjack online. You can find many online casinos which offer multiple varieties of blackjack, and some of them are even open to US players. Creating your account is very easy and there are many perks like matching deposit bonuses.
Why should you play online blackjack? For starters, you only need a computer, phone, or tablet and an Internet connection. That means you can play almost anywhere you want to, at all hours of the day and night. You don’t need to travel to a live casino. Many online casinos are also offering live dealer blackjack games that you can play.
On the subject of US players, if you happen to live in New Jersey or Pennsylvania then playing blackjack online for real money is legal for you. Other states are also considering legalizing the game for residents. Check your state’s restrictions to see if online casino’s are permitted in your area.
2 – Stay Away From Side Bets
It has become very popular and common for casinos to offer variations of blackjack that offer side bets. As a beginner you should be wary of these games. The side bets that are offered in blackjack are provided to increase the house edge. In almost every case they are a bad bet that will cause you to risk more money and lose more often.
Let’s take Royal Match Blackjack as an example. In this version of the game you are allowed to make a side bet on whether the original two cards you are dealt make up part of a royal flush. In other words, if you were dealt an Ace and King of Spades to begin you would collect the side bet wager. We shouldn’t have to tell you that this is a rare occurrence.
Blackjack side bets can be tempting because they offer sizable payouts when you win. The problem is that you will lose the bets far more often than you will win them.
3 – Play One Hand at a Time
One of the frequent mistakes made by new blackjack players is playing multiple hands at once. In live and online blackjack you are permitted to play more than one hand at a time. This type of play should only be practiced by those who have experience in the game. A card counter can make a nice profit by playing multiple hands when the deck is hot. As a beginner, playing two or three hands at a time will only cause you to lose more money.
When you are first learning how to play blackjack you need to stay focused at the table and concentrate on basic blackjack strategy. Trying to play two hands will only reduce that concentration. A good blackjack tip is to play only one hand until you have proven that you can win consistently at the blackjack table.
4 – Read Good Blackjack Books
Knowledge is power, and this old saying is also true when it comes to winning blackjack tips. The more you know about how the game is played the better you will become at it. Invest in a good library of blackjack books if you want to sharpen your game. Counting Edge has recommended many such books as a starting point.
You can purchase your books new from Amazon or a bookstore, but also check out the used bookstores in your area. Many of them have a gambling section that is filled with books on roulette, blackjack, poker, and other gambling games. You can sometimes find very good books for pennies on the dollar when you shop at the thrift store.
Keep a notebook and make notes on the good books that you find. Sometimes it also helps to highlight sections in a book that are particularly useful.
5 – Read Counting Edge
Of course, we always recommend reading Counting Edge as a good blackjack tip. On our website you will find many articles that are designed to help you improve your game. We specialize in card counting methods, but you will also find articles about basic strategy and other topics. You can even leave your comments and questions and we will provide an answer.
We won’t say that we’re the only blackjack site that you should read, but we will say that we believe our coverage of the game is second to none. We’ve covered just about every topic that you can think of on this wonderful gambling game. New content is being added all the time, so bookmark us and check back often for the latest updates.
6 – Have a Proper Blackjack Bankroll
Your blackjack bankroll is the amount of money that you have set aside to play the game. This should be a disposable amount of money that you can afford to lose. You should never be playing blackjack with money that is needed for your living expenses.
The proper size of bankroll is important if you want to win large sums playing blackjack. Many players begin with too little money when they sit down to play. They do not have enough to counteract the variance that inevitably comes at the blackjack table. We have always recommended that you begin with 50X the table minimum bet. That means you would need $250 to play blackjack at a $5 table.
There is an old gambling saying that goes something like this: scared money never wins. When you don’t have enough money to play the game properly you will make poor decisions at the table. You will fail to take advantage of opportunities like doubling down and splitting pairs. Always have the proper bankroll before you play live or online blackjack.
7 – Always Split Aces and Eights
This is one of the oldest blackjack tips in existence. It still works very well for the beginner. If you are dealt a pair of aces or a pair of eights at the blackjack table you should always split these hands. When you split you are turning the one hand into two hands and you will be given an additional card on the ace or the eight that you have split. Some casinos will even allow you to split again if you receive another of the same card.
Why is this blackjack tip valid? The reason is that a pair of 8s is the worst starting hand you can have in blackjack. It is a total of 16. You are dead in the water. You are better off as a beginner splitting this hand and getting a new card for each eight. As for the aces, a pair of them gives you a total of 12. If you split the aces then you are getting a chance to receive a ten on each one for a total of 21. Note that you will not be paid for a blackjack on a split hand. You will only receive even money.
Before some of you experienced blackjack players leave us a comment about this tip, we should offer up a caveat. The blackjack player with experience knows that sometimes it is not beneficial to split these hands. This is especially true if you are playing in a casino that offers surrender as an option. It is sometimes better to surrender the total of 16 against a strong dealer card like a 10. When you split in that situation you may be turning one losing hand into two of them.
8 – Be Cautious With Insurance
When you sit down at a blackjack table you will see a side bet that is called Insurance. This bet comes into play when the dealer shows an Ace as their upcard. The casino will allow you to make an insurance bet that is half of your original wager. You are basically betting that the dealer has the blackjack. If so, you will be paid 2-1 on the insurance wager and you will lose your original bet. You break even. If the dealer does not have a blackjack you will lose your insurance bet and the hand continues.
We’ve gone on the record in saying that insurance at the blackjack table is a bad bet. We stand by that, but we are willing to concede that it can be beneficial for someone that understands card counting. As a beginner, however, you should tread very carefully. We would advise the beginner to only take insurance when they have a blackjack of their own.
9 – Sit at the Right Blackjack Table Spot
A blackjack table in a live casino is usually made up of six, eight, or ten seats. There are some casinos that are now offering tables with 20 seats or more! In every case you will always prefer the seats to the immediate right or left of the dealer. These seats are called First Base and Third Base. The First Base seat is the first player to receive cards and the first to act on their hand. The Third Base seat is the last player to receive cards and the last to act.
Why is sitting in these seats a good blackjack tip? Because it gives you some control over how you respond to the game. You have more information to go on also when you sit in Third Base. Information is power. You are able to observe what other players are doing with their hands, and that may be of importance when you make your own decisions.
10 – Play Double Deck Blackjack
In most casino games you will notice that the cards are dealt from a shoe that contains as many as six or eight decks. This is a harder game to win, but you may also be able to find a game that uses only two decks of cards. If you can, play it. This is especially true if you are learning how to count cards at the game.
One of the reasons that playing a double deck blackjack game might not be possible for you is that the limits tend to be much higher at these games. You can expect a table minimum of $50 at Double Deck Blackjack. That might be beyond the bankroll capabilities of the beginning player.
We hope you have enjoyed these top ten blackjack tips. Don’t forget to check out our recommended online casinos for opportunities to score a nice deposit bonus, and good luck at the tables!