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Blackjack Strategies

While Blackjack is easy to learn, it also involves sophisticated strategy as well as luck. It's one of the casino games with the best odds. Whether you are playing online or in a casino, knowing some basic techniques and tips can help increase your chances of success.

Basic Blackjack Strategy

Basic Blackjack strategy was developed through a series of computer simulations and probability calculations. Though by no means definitive, it provides a rough guide as to what to do in a given situation. By following basic strategy to the letter, the house advantage can be reduced to as low as 0.5%. While that means you will still need luck to win, the odds move closer to being in your favor.

Here is a quick guide to what basic Blackjack strategy suggests you should do in a given situation:

  • If you have eight or below, always hit, regardless of what the dealer has.
  • If you have nine and the dealer has three, four, five or six, double down. If the dealer has a two, or seven and higher, hit.
  • If you have ten and the dealer has anything between two and nine, double down. If the dealer has a ten or an ace, hit.
  • If you have 11 and the dealer has between two and 10, double down. If the dealer has an ace, hit.
  • If you have 12 and the dealer has two, three or seven and higher, hit. If the dealer has four, five or six, stand.
  • If you have between 13 and 16, and the dealer has seven or higher, hit. If the dealer has between two and six, stand.
  • If you have between 17 and 21, always stand.          

Following basic strategy is the most straightforward way for beginning players to increase their odds of winning. Of course, as you play more, you will become more familiar with the game and develop your own system. Good luck!

How to Play Blackjack

Bettors play against the dealer, and attempt to draw cards that come as close to 21 as possible without going over. If the player gets a Blackjack, then the player wins one and a half times the bet; if the player wins without getting a Blackjack, he gets even money. If the dealer wins, then the player loses his bet. If both sides tie, a “push” happens and neither side wins.

Play begins when each player and the dealer receive two cards. The first dealer card is placed on the table face up and the second card is placed face down. Jacks, Kings and Queens count as 10 points. Aces count as either a 1 or an 11. Number cards count as face value. Getting a face card with an Ace is a Blackjack.

If the player gets dealt two cards that total less than 21, the player may ask the dealer to hit – meaning, get another card. Players can get as many hits as they want as they attempt to get as close to 21 as possible without going over. If the player does not want to get any more cards, the player stands. Players can indicate that they want to hit or stand by scratching the table or waving hands from side to side, respectively.

Once all of the players stand on their totals – or have busted – the dealer flips his face down card over and begins playing his own hand. The dealer must stand on totals of 17 and higher.

Printable gaming guide

Blackjack Tips

Players can increase their chances of winning or their take by practicing certain playing techniques.

  • If the player has two of the same cards, the player may split the pair and work two separate hands. The player must bet an equal amount on the new hand. If the player splits Aces, each card only gets one hit.
  • Players who are confident that they can win with only one more card can double down and bet more. The new bet cannot exceed the total of the original bet.
  • Players can buy insurance when the dealer’s face up card is an Ace. If the dealer gets a Blackjack, the original bet loses but the insurance pays 2 to 1. Insurance costs half of the original bet. If the dealer does not get a Blackjack, he keeps the insurance bet.

Dover Downs Hotel & Casino reserves the right to change game rules and regulations without notice.