The final card has been dealt on the Blackjack table. Eyes cross between the player and the dealer. Do you stand or do you hit? Or do you split or double-down? Your hand totals to 17 – what do you do?
If you’re an experienced player of online Blackjack at sites such as https://games.paddypower.com/ then you may already be familiar with these terms, and what steps to take when your cards have been dealt. But if you’re new to this classic casino game, you should consider having a strategy in place.
Blackjack is ultimately all down to luck, but there are some elements of skill that can improve your chances of winning the game – and here’s a guide on how to put those strategies in place when playing Blackjack.
How to play
Let’s go back to basics first. Blackjack in its simplest form is all about beating the dealer. You can do this by either having a hand that totals nearer to 21, or if the dealer goes bust. Each card has a corresponding value, with the number two equalling two, the three equals to three, and so on and so forth, up to the value of 10. The face cards all have a value of 10, except for an Ace, which can either be one or 11, depending on how you want to play the hand.
Each round sees the player being dealt two cards, facing up, whilst the dealer also has two cards, but one remains turned down. Other players may be at the table, but the game resides between you and the dealer. The state of play from there depends on the actions of the player, and the current value of their hand – and this is when strategy comes into play.
Possibly the easiest and most understandable strategy to use when playing Blackjack, is by turning to a strategy chart. The Blackjack Chart is an established grid of outcomes and corresponding actions, based on mathematical calculations, that all types of casino players can use. It is however most useful for beginners, and a tool that they should keep at hand.
The chart contains 270 squares, and guides you to the best action to take, based on the cards in your hand and those in the dealer’s hand. This could instruct you to stand, where you keep your current hand as it is, or hit, which adds another card to your hand. More advanced actions include doubling down, where you double your initial wager and are dealt another card, and splitting, which involves separating your hand if it includes a pair and treating them as separate hands.
Although the chart spans across a variety of different outcomes that could be dealt, the main strategies to take from it are as follows:
- You should hit if your hand consists of an Ace and a six
- Stand if your cards are made up of an Ace and anything from a seven or higher
- If you have a pair of sevens, and the dealer has a card of a value of 7 or lower, then you should split
- Always split a pair of eights or Aces to increase your chances of a win – don’t ever split a pair of 10s
- Double down on a total of 10 or 11
- Continue to hit until you reach a total of 17, then stand
Once you have simple Blackjack strategies in place, you can move onto more advanced actions such as these:
- Let the dealer go bust: If the dealer has a card facing up that is a low value, you shouldn’t hit on your hand, unless you have a card that has a low enough value that when you place additional cards, you can’t go bust. This means that the dealer is then likely to go bust, as they have no choice when they can hit or stand. You should also consider doubling down or splitting in this case to increase your chances of winning a bigger pay-out
- Hold onto 17: If your hand totals a hard 17, then you could easily go bust if you hit. So, in this case you should stand. Depending on the dealer’s cards, they could go bust. There is the chance that they could win, but in terms of your hand, you’re more likely to go bust by exceeding 17, then you are losing by standing.