Let’s leave all of those spinning wheels at the likes of Immersive Live Roulette behind, shall we, and head to the green baize tables. Can you count to 21? Good! Because we are going to be talking blackjack tips my Wombat friends. Here’s one for you- if you struggle with numbers, just count off on all of your claws (well fingers and toes in your case) on all of your paws and add one. 21!
Blackjack is one of the most popular games at Wombat Casino and we have plenty of variants here, both virtual games (where you play against a computer) and live dealer games where you play on a real table with real dealers and the action is beamed back over the Internet. One of the reasons that this game is so popular is that it is easy to pick up and play and it also offers some of the best odds in the casino.
But forewarned is forearmed, as they say in the trade, and to make sure you get the best possible odds, it’s important that you know when to stand, when to hit and when to double down. And that will depend on the type of blackjack you are playing. These tips are relevant for virtual games like 3D Blackjack from Iron Dog Studios (a most excellent variant by the way) or live games such as the ones you might find in our Evolution blackjack lobby.
Here are my Top 10 Blackjack Tips for players. We also share some Wombat wisdom on our baccarat tips page, by the way, if that is more your card game.
Top 10 Blackjack Tips for Wombats
1. Look for the Most Favourable Rules
There’s Blackjack and there’s blackjack, if you get my drift. What I mean by that, is that there are lots of different types of blackjack and it pays to check out the game rules before you start playing for real. Search for games with favourable rules- in particular we’d suggest you look out for games where a blackjack pays 3-2 (some variants pay out 6 to 5 for a blackjack, or even worse, 1:1 or even money).
Other nice to haves include the dealer standing on soft 17, being able to double down on any two cards, and allowing you to doubling after you have split pairs. Generally speaking, the fewer the amount of decks in the shoe, the better for you (I’m a poet and I didn’t know it). So go for single deck games in preference to 8 deck games for example.
2. Learn the Strategy
All games have an optimal playing strategy that will give you the maximum chance of winning. If you learn the strategy of the game you are playing, you will reduce the house advantage- it’s as simple as that. This game has been studied to the death over the years and it’s been the subject of countless studies, books and movies, so don’t try and re-invent the wheel. Use all of that knowledge to your advantage!
If you pick your game and you play to an optimal strategy you should be able to get the house edge down to less than 1%. That’s not bad when you consider that the house has up to a 5.2% edge in roulette (you can get that down too, but that’s another story.
3. Learn When too Split Your Pairs
Exactly what pairs you split and when will depend on the variant you are playing and beyond the scope of what we are talking about here, but this is one of more important bits of strategy to have tucked away in your tool box. But on a very basic level, you should always split aces (then you’ll have two attempts at getting a blackjack rather than having a measly score of 2) and you should always split 8s as 16 is not a great score to be sitting on in blackjack. In a similar vein, if you are dealt a pair of 5s, don’t split them as now you’re on 10 and you could easily get another ten value card or even an ace to make the magic number. You can start to see how some of these tactics will become second nature. It’s not as hard as it looks to memorise the optimal strategy for any given game of blackjack!
4. Know When to Double Down
Similarly, you should be clear as to when you are going to double down, which is when you double your existing bet and limit yourself to one additional card from the dealer. Again, this will be dependent on the game that you are playing, but at the very least you should double down on 11 in the hope of landing either a 10, J, Q or K.
5. Use a Card.
This isn’t something we’d suggest in Las Vegas or Macau as you’ll probably get kicked out of the casino pretty sharpish, but if you are playing blackjack online at home in pyjamas, there’s nothing stopping you using a strategy card to help you make the optimal decisions based on your hand and the dealer’s hand.
Who’s going to see it?
Some land based casinos will even let you use a strategy card at the table as long as you don’t lay it on the green baize.
6. Don’t Take out Insurance
Have you ever rented a car out at the airport and you have that conversation about the insurance. You know the one: “well, you are covered but if you want to be fully covered, you’ll need to take out our no excess insurance”. I’ve always suspected that that’s where Avis and Hertz make the real money, and it’s the same story with the casinos and blackjack insurance.
They trying to get you to insure yourself against the dealer having a ten-value face down card when he has an Ace showing (i.e. a blackjack). If insurance kicks in you are paid out 2-1 but the odds of it coming into play are less than 2-1, so just don’t do it.
7. Play your own game
Most of the time when you are playing blackjack online, it’ll be you against the computer. But you might just be “sitting” with other players in a live blackjack game or even on a multi-player virtual game. Ignore everyone else and focus on your own game. effectively it’s you against the dealer in these situations as well.
8. Don’t Play Negative Progressive Systems like the Martingale.
In negative progressive systems like the Martingale, you increase your bet after a loss to try and claw back losses on the next hand. These kinds of systems, that are popular with roulette players, don’t really make sense in blackjack. You should only increase your bet when you think that there are more high cards than low cards remaining in the shoe.
9. Don’t Fall for the Gambler’s Fallacy.
This one is a bit like the roulette player who has seen 14 reds in a row, so he goes all in on the black. If you are suffering a string a losses, don’t bet as if you are somehow due a win. You’re not. The future is in the cards- it’s better to play methodically. The cards have no memory from one hand to the next, so treat each game as if you have just sat down at the table.
10. Don’t Drink and Play.
This goes for all types of casino games by the way. Play with a clear head and you’ll play to the best strategy!