Top 10 Blackjack Tips to Win

Top 10 Blackjack Tips to Win

Blackjack is easily a casino favorite, and a game worth knowing. For all your newbies out there, Ignition Casino has an optimal blackjack strategy for every variant of the game, whether it’s Single Deck Blackjack or Perfect Pairs. Once you learn all the right moves, you can narrow the house edge down to a tiny fraction of what you’d pay with just about any other game. And you can even turn that edge in your favor – if you’re willing to count cards at a live casino.


First things first: know the rules of blackjack before trying to pick up on a specific strategy. Once you’ve got those moves down pat, you can decide whether card counting is worth your time and effort. The following 10 blackjack tips will help you on the road to success; some are stand-alone tips, while others fall under specific categories covering game play. Your first blackjack tip is the easiest to follow, and maybe the most important of them all.



Blackjack Strategy Card

Believe it or not, casinos are more than happy to help you figure out the optimal strategy for playing blackjack. Which leads us to the first tip:


Tip No. 1: Buy the blackjack strategy card and use it at the table.


This card is your friend. You should be able to find one in any casino shop. If not, ask one of the attendants at the blackjack tables to help you out. If you’re playing online blackjack at Ignition, you can find versions of these cards online and print them out for quick reference. Alternatively, you can check out our blackjack FAQ. Follow the recommended plays and know them like the back of your hand so you can eventually play without using the card – and deviate when appropriate, which we’ll discuss in a moment.



When to HitWhen to Hit

Learning some rules of thumb will help you figure out how to win at blackjack when you’re just starting out. Hitting is the blackjack move most new players understand; this is when you decide to receive another card in your quest to get as close to 21 as possible. Here are two tips to remember for hitting:


Tip No. 2: Hit anytime you have Hard 4-8.


Tip No. 3: Hit anytime you have Soft 13-17.



When to Stand

Likewise, there are certain spots in Blackjack where you’ll almost always stand, no matter which particular game you’re playing. Here are two tips for when to stand in Blackjack:


Tip No. 4: Stand anytime you have Hard 17 or better.


Tip No. 5: Stand anytime you have Soft 19 or better.


It may seem obvious to stand in these situations, but nothing should be considered obvious to a beginner blackjack player. And notice that Soft 18 (Ace-Seven) isn’t an obvious stand like Hard 18. Depending on the Dealer’s upcard, you may want to stand, hit, or double.



When to Double

Speaking of which, doubling down is an incredibly powerful move in blackjack that doesn’t get used nearly often enough. This tip will help you make sure you’re not missing out:


Tip No. 6: Double anytime you have Hard 10-11, and more points than the Dealer.


When you double, you get exactly one more card, then the Dealer gets to draw. The best time to do this is when you already have 10 or 11, so you’ve got a good chance of improving to 20 or 21. But you also want the Dealer’s upcard to be low enough so he can’t win or push when you each draw a 10-value card. Other doubling opportunities will come up when the Dealer specifically has a low card, i.e. a Six or lower.



Card CountingCard Counting

This is where things get really interesting. Sure, we know what you’re thinking: Isn’t that illegal? Contrary to popular belief, “card counting” is not illegal. All you’re doing is taking note of the cards that have been dealt, and using that information to deviate from the basic blackjack strategy when the cards are in your favor. However, casinos have the right to refuse service, and if they see you’re taking advantage of them, they will ask you to leave.


Having said that, if you do it correctly, counting cards will give you a chance to play blackjack with a positive expectation when you’re at a live casino, instead of facing that house edge. If you choose to go down this route, follow these two tips to get the most out of your efforts:


Tip No. 7: Use the “Hi-Lo” system to count cards.


Tip No. 8: Don’t get greedy.


The Hi-Lo Count (aka High-Low) is the most widespread method for blackjack card counting, and it’s relatively easy to learn. Instead of trying to memorize every single card that comes off the deck, you’ll put them into three groups: Low cards (Deuce through Six), High cards (Ten or higher, including the Ace), and Middle cards (Seven through Nine). Each Low card is worth +1, each High card is worth –1, and the Middle cards are worth zero. Keep a running count every time there’s a fresh deck or shoe, starting at zero. The higher your count gets, the more the cards are in your favor.


What to do about it is the tricky part. First, if you’re playing anything other than Single Deck Blackjack, you need to divide your running count by the number of decks left in the shoe. This will give you your “True Count” and your baseline for what actions to take. There are two ways to take advantage of a high True Count: Bet larger, and/or deviate from the basic Blackjack strategy. Either one could draw the casino’s attention, so don’t forget about Tip No. 8. Keep your “advantage play” as subtle as possible – don’t suddenly make a giant bet when the shoe is rich with high cards, and don’t make the kind of plays that will mark you as a card counter, like splitting a pair of 10-value cards.



Blackjack Myths

There are way too many Blackjack myths floating around and we’re going to dispel them to help you gain a better understanding of what the game is really about.


Tip No. 9: You aren’t due to win after losing several hands, or to lose after winning several hands.


Tip No. 10: Progressive betting systems will not help you at blackjack.


These two myth-busting tips work together. Many blackjack beginners and even some long-time players fall for the Gambler’s Fallacy, otherwise known as the “maturity of chance.” When you flip a coin, there’s a 50/50 chance that it will land Heads or Tails. If you happen to get Heads six times in a row, the chance of the next flip landing Heads remains 50%. People will get this wrong by thinking about the chances of a coin landing Heads seven times in a row (one in 128), and projecting those long odds onto the seventh flip. Winning or losing a hand at blackjack can be interpreted in much the same way as a coin landing Heads or Tails.



People who believe in the maturity of chance will try to take advantage by betting larger when they’re on a losing streak (and, sometimes, smaller when they’re on a winning streak), expecting things to balance out. Don’t be one of these people. If you make your bets too large, you run the risk of draining your bankroll without gaining any expected value on your bigger bets. Stick to a standard bet size in Blackjack – unless you’re switching things up when counting cards, of course.


These 10 blackjack tips are the keys to mastering this great game and getting the most value out of your sessions, whether that’s entertainment value from using the correct basic blackjack strategy or the actual monetary value of beating the house with advantage play. We’ve covered some basics for when to hit, stand and double down, how to count cards, and how not to fall into the “maturity of chance” trap. Again, think about whether counting cards is worthwhile in your situation; you might find the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. And as always, never gamble with money you can’t afford to lose, even if you do have an edge on the house. Try out your blackjack moves for free using the Practice Play mode or play blackjack online for money at Ignition, and best of luck at the tables.



H2: Top 10 Blackjack Tips Summary

1. Buy the blackjack strategy card and use it at the table.

2. Hit anytime you have Hard 4-8.

3. Hit anytime you have Soft 13-17 and the Dealer has a high up-card (Seven or higher).

4. Stand anytime you have Hard 17 or better.

5. Stand anytime you have Soft 19 or better.

6. Double anytime you have Hard 10-11, and more points than the Dealer.

7. Use the “Hi-Lo” system to count cards.

8. Don’t get greedy.

9. You aren’t due to win after losing several hands or to lose after winning several hands.

10. Progressive betting systems will not help you at blackjack.