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15 Blackjack Tips for Beginners

Navigating the world of blackjack can seem daunting for beginners, especially when you are faced with all the lights and bells on the casino floor around you. Everyone else at the blackjack table likely seems so poised and knowledgeable, and you may feel like you just don’t belong. But if you take a little time to learn the right strategies and Blackjack tips, you can feel more confident while also significantly improving your skills and increasing your chances of winning. Whether you’re sitting down at a table for the first time or looking to brush up on the basics from your home play before heading to the casino, these 15 Blackjack tips will give you a solid foundation in blackjack strategy and help you make smarter decisions:

Blackjack

1. Play the Basic Strategy

Memorizing the basic strategy is your first step toward blackjack success. This Blackjack tip is a mathematically proven method that dictates the best move — hit, stand, double down, split, or surrender — based on your cards and the dealer’s upcard. Using basic strategy reduces the house edge and gives you the best odds on every hand.

You can find extensive charts that show you basic strategy based on the conditions in which you are playing. The rules for this strategy are too extensive to list here. Further, house rules for each casino will change which basic strategy chart you should play.

2. Never Make the Insurance Bet

Insurance is a side bet offered when the dealer’s upcard is an Ace. It’s essentially a bet on whether the dealer has a blackjack. While it might seem like a safe option, the odds on this bet are not in your favor. Making too many insurance bets can deplete your bankroll quickly, so it’s best to skip them.

3. Always Check the Dealer’s Upcard

The dealer’s upcard offers significant information that should influence your strategy. Always take the dealer’s upcard into account before making your next move. If the dealer shows a weak card (2-6), they’re more likely to bust. Use this information to decide when to stand, hit, or double down. Weak dealer upcard indicate that you should hit or even double down, as you will see in the subsequent strategies outlined here.

4. Hit on Ace-7 (Soft 18) for Dealer’s 9, 10, Ace

A soft 18 (a combination of an Ace and a 7) might seem like a strong hand, making you inclined to stand. But if the dealer’s upcard is also a 9, 10, or an Ace, your best move is to hit. If the dealer has one of those upcards showing, there is a strong chance of the dealer getting a total closer to 21, which would make your soft 18 a loss. By taking a card, you improve your chances of creating a stronger hand. 

5. Never Split 5s

Having a pair of 5s gives you a total of 10, which is a golden opportunity to double down, not split. Splitting 5s only dilutes your strong position. If you kept the pair and then received a 10 or face card next, that would bring you to a highly favorable 20. By doubling down, you can capitalize on this strong starting point. In contrast, if you split your 5s and received a 10 or face card next, that only brings you to 15, which isn’t nearly as strong a hand. 

6. Never Split 10s

Splitting 10s might seem tempting when looking for two 20s, but it’s a strategy that often backfires. A single 20 is a strong hand that puts you in a great position to win. Splitting 10s increases the risk of ending up with two weaker hands, so it’s best to stick with your strong 20. Remember what they say about a bird in the hand.

7. Double Down A-2 through A-7 When the Dealer’s Upcard is a 5 or 6

When you have a soft 13 through soft 18 (combinations of Ace and 2 through Ace and 7) and the dealer shows a 5 or 6, doubling down is the smart move. The dealer is in a precarious position with these upcards, as taking any additional cards makes them likely to bust. By doubling down, you can maximize your winnings on what is likely a strong hand.

Blackjack

8. Double Down on 11

Always double down on 11. It’s one of the strongest positions to increase your bet because you have a good chance of ending up with a total of 21 with only one more card. The only exception to this rule is when the dealer’s upcard is an Ace and, therefore, may already have a blackjack. In some cases, it might be more prudent to hit, depending on the casino’s rules.

9. Stand with 13, 14, 15, or 16 on a Dealer’s 2 Through 6

If you have a hard 13 through 16 and the dealer shows a 2 through 6, it’s wise to stand. These dealer upcards suggest a high chance of the dealer busting, so don’t risk busting your own hand by hitting when the dealer is in a weak position. Remember: You don’t have to hit 21 to win. You just need to be closer without going over. Don’t blow your own hand in a bid for perfection.

10. Double Down on 8 Against Dealer’s 5 or 6 Upcard in a Single-Deck Game

In a single-deck game, it is a strong strategic move to double down on an 8 when the dealer shows a 5 or 6. With a hand of just 8, the odds of ending up with a higher total with your next card are good. Since there are fewer cards in play with only one deck, you can also more accurately predict the outcomes, making this a stronger move. Meanwhile, the dealer has a good chance of busting with these upcards showing. This aggressive Blackjack tip can pay off by maximizing your winnings in a favorable situation.

11. Hit a Hard 12 Against a Dealer’s 2 or 3 Upcard

A hard 12 can be a tricky hand to navigate, especially against a dealer’s 2 or 3 upcard. While the temptation might be to stand, hoping the dealer busts, the strategic move is to hit. This increases your chances of improving your hand, as staying could leave you in a vulnerable position against the dealer’s potential to hit a stronger hand.

12. Hit or Double Aces-6

When you’re dealt an Ace and a 6 (a soft 17), your next move can significantly impact your odds of winning. Consider hitting or doubling down, depending on the dealer’s upcard. Doubling down is advisable when the dealer shows a weak upcard (3 through 6), as this maximizes your potential for a strong finish. Otherwise, you should hit.

13. Split 8s and Aces

Always split a pair of 8s or Aces. Two 8s give you a hard of 16, which is considered the worst hand in blackjack. Splitting them gives you a chance to improve both hands. If your next card is a 10 or a face card, you’ll have an 18, which is a strong hand. Splitting the pair gives you two chances to do just that. Similarly, splitting Aces gives you the potential to hit two 21s, drastically increasing your odds of winning.

14. Only Stand with 12 on a Dealer’s 4, 5, or 6

If you have a hard 12 (a combination with no Ace) and the dealer shows a 4, 5, or 6, standing is your best option. While a 12 isn’t a very high hand, these dealer cards suggest a high chance of the dealer busting, so you don’t want to risk busting your own hand by hitting and getting a 10 or a face card. Let the dealer take the risk of overextending.

15. Double Down on 10 When the Dealer’s Upcard is 9 or Less

If you’re holding a hard 10 (a combination with no Ace), and the dealer’s upcard is a 9 or less, doubling down is a strong move. Your chances of hitting a 20 are high, and doubling down increases your potential winnings against a dealer’s weaker hand. You could even be dealt an Ace with your next card, getting you to 21.

Play Blackjack at Blue Lake Casino Hotel

Winning at blackjack is a little bit of luck and a lot of strategy. Armed with these Blackjack tips, you’re now better prepared to face the challenges of the blackjack table and increase your chances of winning. Head to Blue Lake Casino Hotel to test out these strategies at a blackjack table. Whether you’re testing the waters with basic strategies or honing your advanced play, Blue Lake Casino Hotel offers an exciting and friendly environment that will enhance your gaming experience. There are also delicious dining options, live entertainment, and a variety of other games to make your stay a great one. Remember, the key to success in blackjack lies in understanding the game, managing your bankroll wisely, and making decisions based on strategic knowledge rather than intuition. Good luck!