An hour is all you need to learn the basic rules and strategies of blackjack and increase your odds of winning against the house. If you are consistent in your playing, you might even stand a good chance of walking out with some of the casino's money. All it takes is a solid understanding of the rules and a strategy.
When you head into the casino for the first time, give yourself a budget for how much money you can stand to lose and stay within your limit. You might not walk away with a fortune, but as long as you have some fun between the great meals and long nights dancing at the Las Vegas nightclubs, that's all that really matters.
Blackjack Playing Strategy
The goal of every round of blackjack is to get as close as possible to 21, without going over. Here are some basic rules of how to play your cards, so you can start off with a consistent strategy and eventually develop your own feel for betting and changing the amount of chips you place on the table. It's always best for beginners to start with low limit tables to learn the basic strategies of blackjack before hitting the high-stakes rounds.
- If the total of your cards equals 9 or lower, you should hit.
- If you have a total of 10 or 11, you should double your bet if your total is more than the dealer's revealed card. For example, if you have a 10 and the dealer is showing an 8, double your bet. If the dealer has a higher card, just hit.
- If you have a total between 12 and 16, hit when the dealer's card is 7 or higher. Stay where you are if the dealer is showing anything smaller than a 7.
- If you have 17 or higher, stay.
- An ace can be worth 1 or 11 and any hands including an ace is called a "soft hand." If you have a soft hand between 13-18, double your bet when the dealer's card is a 5 or 6.
- If you have a soft 17 or lower, hit.
- If you have a soft 19 or higher, stay.
- You should always split a pair of aces or two 8s'.
- Never split a pair of 4's, 5's, or 10's.
- For all other pairs, you should only split them when your dealer's card is lower than 6.
- Split all other pairs when dealer's card is less than 6.
Tips for the Blackjack Table
You'll need to think about more than what is on the table to win at blackjack. Although you'll make your moves independently, remember that everyone at the table is also playing against the dealer and the way other's play and act can affect your own game. Even with a solid strategy, a chaotic table can throw you off.
- Keep your strategy consistent and don't make impulsive bets.
- Keep an eye on the other players and never play at a table where someone is betting recklessly.
- If you're winning, you should start making bigger, but calculated, bets. If you're losing, remember to stick with your strategy, be patient, and don't take any chances with bets larger than you can afford.
- Keep in mind that the casino always has the advantage. After all, that's how they make so much money in the first place. However, if you play responsibly, you can still have a good time and maybe even walk out with some winnings.