Blackjack

Blackjack is a table game in which the punter takes two cards and then chooses whether to hit (take another card) or stand (hold what you have) with the aim of making a score as close to 21 as possible without going over 21 and busting.

The dealer will then go through the same process with the winner taking the spoils.

You can also split if your first two cards are the same and double your bet in certain circumstances.

An ace is worth either one or eleven and picture cards are worth ten.

Blackjack offers come up every so often and can also be used to complete rollover requirements with certain offers.

Rules can vary slightly (see below) but if you employ a perfect strategy you should achieve a Return to Player (RTP) of 99.4% to 99.5%.

Basic Strategy

You should almost always employ basic strategy. The grid below provides a handy guide to assist you with this.

Tips to help you memorise perfect strategy

If the dealer has 7 or more never stand until you reach 17.
Never split 10’s; Always split Aces and 8’s.
Never double down if it’s possible to bust with one more card.

Rule Variations

Rule variations will have an effect on the player’s expected return – The Wizardofodds website has a useful list detailing these.

Interesting Fact

You should take a card on 16 vs a ten if you have two cards that make 16 but not if you have three or more cards.

The overall expected value for hitting is -0.540355 and for standing is -0.540293. So standing is the marginally better play.

Following this rule will result in one extra unit once every 1,117,910 hands. It would take about 5 years playing Blackjack 40 hours per week before this piece of advice saved you one unit!

Counting Cards

Gambling and investment legend Ed Thorp devised the method of counting cards back in the 1960’s. His book ‘Beat the Dealer’ was groundbreaking and is still relevant today.

The wikipedia article on counting cards has a reasonable summary of the basics.