Michael McKean is an experienced writer with a portfolio that includes work on the subjects of sport, gambling, travel and finance. With a background rooted in journalism, Michael first ventured into the professional writing world based in Switzerland, where he wrote for a number of language and travel sites and magazines before moving into the world of sports writing and gambling sites.
As an avid soccer fan, who follows everything from the Scottish lower leagues to the European elites, he has earned himself a solid reputation as a reliable football betting tipster and predictor. Outside of work, Michael has always gotten involved with grassroutes football everywhere he has worked and lived - UK, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Brazil - and still isn’t shy when it comes to pulling the boots on himself. As well as soccer, he has also developed a love of North American sports, particularly ice hockey - a love which began in Switzerland and saw him venture across the pond to follow the NHL. Moving away from dry land, he’s also a keen longboard surfer and is happiest when writing with a view of the ocean.
What was your age back when you played your first hand of Blackjack? Most of us were teenagers or kids. The fact is that it has become part of our culture and we can confirm that in many books and movie references. We think some of the reasons this game became so popular are:
It's effortless to learn the value of the cards. Kings, Queens and Jacks are tens, Aces are worth 1 or 11, the rest are face value
It has a smaller number of betting options than many classic games, increasing its playability
The rules demand very little knowledge about betting systems and people familiarize with them in no time
It represents a challenge for people who like numbers and enjoys predicting outcomes based on the sciences of statistics
This mix of features provides great ground for people like us at Captain Gambling. That's why we have brought you this piece with all the essential information about these strategies, so you can start playing and testing them. Don't forget to read our article on Online Slot Strategy: How to win in Online Slots, too!
BJ: one of the most attractive games for strategic approaches
Many players think that the mathematics behind blackjack is a thing of beauty, and we agree. No other game is so easy to learn, even when it comes to trying it from a professional approach. To get on the right track from the start, you'll need a pdf or a text with the possible outcomes and your response to every possible hand that could show up in combination with the dealer's.
As a general rule, you must enter a table with specific terms to increase your chances of winning form the start. Avoid any table that pays blackjack 6 to 5 or 6 to 7, and run away from any table that offers paying even on you getting a blackjack. That's the most critical advantage you could lose. 2 to 1 or 3 to 2 will be helpful, although this last one is scarce. Also, try to seat at a table with the lower number of decks, forces the dealer to stay at hard and soft 17s, and allows for doubling down on any cards. Having the chance to re-split pairs and aces is also a great feature.
Once you have found a table that meets most of these requirements, you can sit down with your basic strategy blackjack chart and start betting. Set an amount that you'll feel comfortable with for your minimum and stick to this chart. You'll have to stand on almost all 17s, unless the dealer's showing a high card, like 8,9, or a figure.
Blackjack Strategies: The Top 4 Strategies explained
When it comes to choosing among the best Blackjack strategies, it becomes quite harder to trust so many professional approaches. What we have done here, is meticulously screen the most successful proposals worldwide, and made a short list of their most important aspects for you to read here. However, don't forget that the best blackjack strategy is the one that works for you and that you enjoy using!
The basic strategy: AKA the Perfect strategy
Rather than a simple sheet of combinations between your hand and the dealer's hands, is more of an encyclopedia of possible outcomes considering different variables. Odds are not the same when the dealer is shuffling 2 or 8 decks, or when the house is allowed to ask for another card on 17 (called soft 17). Before going online to search for the many calculators and blackjack table charts available, keep in mind that they're going to ask you for the following information:
The number of decks: The lower the number of decks, the higher the chances of being dealt a natural blackjack.
Dealer's condition on 17s that include an Ace that counts as 11: Some operators force the dealer to hit when they have a soft 17, while others don't. It's better for players when they don't have that chance.
Terms of Splitting and Re-Splitting: Referring to how many times are we allowed to split and re-split aces and regular cards. It includes the typical rule of allowing just for one card when splitting aces.
Double-Down terms: permission to double down after splitting. It's always good to have the possibility.
Surrender option: When you consider your odds are so bad, you'd want to have the option to surrender. It's a good idea when you're on a 6-deck table, holding a 16 against a dealer's Ace under hard 17s conditions.
Now that you're aware of all your settings, apply the strategy chart and start testing it. We recommend you do so on a free online casino using play credits, and follow your path from there. Knowing these settings is as important as knowing what version of the roulette you're playing, find out more about that great game's strategies in Roulette Strategy: How to win in Roulette, our latest release about the subject!
Never split a pair of tens or fives
As ideal as it may sound to start two new hands out of a value of ten points, it is never a good idea to ditch a 20 points hand. In the same manner, splitting 5's will get you nowhere, as the chances of getting a nice card are none; instead, double down if the dealer's up card is in the range from two to seven. Our guide on Baccarat Strategy: How to win in Baccarat also refers to a lot of plays you must avoid to master the game.
Never, ever, place the insurance bet
The easiest way to determine if a player is an amateur –or wearing x-ray glasses that allow him to see through the cards– is by seeing him asking for insurance. The odds are all against you since the payment for guessing the dealer's blackjack is 2 to 1, but the house's odds to get a ten are closer to 30%. Would you bet on a coin flip having to pay $70 if you lose, but get $30 if you win? It's the same case, and we think it is not an elegant move from casinos to offer a bet that so deliberately puts beginners in disadvantage. It just makes no sense at all to place such a wager.
Splitting 8's and A's against a dealer's 9, 10, or even Ace up card
Some players might consider this an aggressive play, and rely on the hit button to fight those great dealer's hands. The fact is that you have greater odds of getting a nice hand by asking for an extra card at an 8 point start, than the one you get by asking for an additional one at 16.
No matter how many decks are on play or any of the other conditions mentioned above. It's always a smart move. The only exception to this rule is when you're involved on an h17 with four or more decks in play, or a double-deck with h17 and no possibility to double down after splitting. In those cases. if the dealer is showing an Ace, your best move is to surrender. Otherwise, follow our advice and split.
Blackjack's basic strategy: Myth or reality?
Are there Online Casino Strategies and can they help? We know so. The simple fact that you remember not to ask for insurance never again in your life, has decreased the casinos' edge of those you're planning on visiting online after reading this article, and other articles like Craps Strategy, and Video Poker Strategy. Every piece of advice is another opportunity for you to raise your odds of winnings: Register with one online casino featured at Captain Gambling and let us keep feeding that body of knowledge.
All Blackjack winning strategies in one place: Following the charts
It's safe to say that this is the best way to win at blackjack: follow the charts designed by engineers and statistics professionals. The truth is, this strategy's greatest challenge is not overcoming the casino, or beating the dealer: it's about you having the necessary patience to apply those instructions, no matter how crazy they might sound.
The only way you'd be allowed not to follow this strategy is by counting cards, which up to this date is also the only way to ensure earnings. Card-counting is not an illegal practice within the US, as long as you don't do it as a team or using special devices, but it's strongly discouraged by internet casino operators. The most common countermeasure taken by casinos to avoid this practice is to ban players, but there's an Atlantic City precedent that states skilled players are forbidden from playing within their premises. Pretty interesting, right?