Rules and Strategies for Blackjack
How to play and how to win
Blackjack outnumbers other casino table
games by a margin of about two to one. The game is so immensely popular because, when
played correctly, it offers better odds than any other game. The purpose of the game is to
get a hand total higher than the dealers without going over a count of 21. You play
against the dealer, not against other players at the table. Whatever hand you end up with
must be 21 or less, but higher than what the dealer has.
Before the cards are dealt, each player must put up a bet. Bets usually start at $5 minimum and range as high as $1,000 at some casinos. At online casinos you can find games with $1 minimum bets, allowing you to play and sharpen your skills without much risk.. To make a bet, simply place your wager (chips) in the appropriate box or circle.After placing a bet, you are dealt two cards face up. The dealer also gets two cards, but only one of the dealer's cards is face up. You are then given the option of standing with the cards you have or you may take another card, called hitting. You may hit as often as you wish but if you go over 21, you bust, and the dealer wins automatically. The dealer will not take any cards until all players at the table have made their choices. The dealer's biggest advantage is here. Any players that bust lose their bet even if the dealer also goes bust.
Now the dealer shows his face down card. If his hand totals 17 or higher he must stand he is not allowed to take additional cards. But if the dealers hand is 16 or under he must hit until the hand has a value of 17 or higher. If the exceeds 21 while taking additional cards, the dealers busts and loses.
The payoff if you win is even money (1 to 1). If you get a blackjack you are paid 1 ½ times your wager (bet 2 win 3). If the dealer gets blackjack at the same time, its a tie, you dont win or lose.
Those are the primary rules. Pretty straight forward, right? However, there are a few more things you need to know about.
Now that you know the basics of how the game is played, the following is your
best strategy as determined by computer testing. Always hit (take more cards) when you
have 11 or less. Always stand when you have 17 or more. When the dealer's up card is from
a 7 to an Ace, hit if your count is between 12 and 16, stand if the dealer shows a 2 to 6.
You may buy insurance when the dealers up card is an Ace because there is the possibility that the dealer has a blackjack you automatically lose, unless you also have a blackjack, in which case its a tie. After all players and the dealer have 2 cards each, he will ask "insurance?" The insurance "premium" is 1/2 of your original bet. Payment is 2 to 1 if the dealer does indeed have a blackjack hand. Insurance bets favor the house and should generally be avoided. Dont take insurance.
Be sure to memorize these six most important basic strategy rules:
1) Stand if you hold 12 to 16 and the dealers up card is 2 to 6.
For a detailed, accurate basic strategy see the table at the end of this page.
Now that you know the elementary rules of how to play blackjack, let me show you the method I use in trying to win:
Risk your own money cautiously, but take the double or nothing approach with your winnings. Lets assume you have a $100 stake and you are playing at a $5 table. Bet $5, when you win bet $10, win bet $20, win again bet $40, win once more bet $80. You might be reluctant to risk $80 in one whack, but look at it this way: If you lose the gamble has only cost you $5 of your own money . . .but if you win youll collect $160!
A $100 stake at $5 a hand gives you 20 chances to try this system. If Lady Luck is by your side and you get five winning hands in a row, dont get greedy. Go back and start with a $5 bet, trying to repeat the process. Watch your chips closely, if you dont get another lucky run in short order, stop playing while youre ahead. Youll feel much better if you quit a winner. Enjoy your blackjack and Good Luck.
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CARD COUNTING in BLACKJACK
Now when you count cards skillfully you have the edge over the casino. The next thing you should worry about is not to get barred from the casino being caught counting cards. I found a good article on the subject. Click here to read it.
Here is another method by Mike Perkel the author of Columns and Dozens Roulette system:
Here is the counting method I use when playing against a shoe. All 2,3,4,6,7,8 cards are plus 1, 5's are plus 2, 9 and ace are 0 and all 10 value cards are -2. I keep a separate count of aces using both my feet. With the first ace I pick the front of my right foot up off the ground slightly. with the second ace I roll it to the right side. with the third ace I lift my right heel and with the fourth ace I roll the foot to the left side. Aces 5 thru 8 are done with the left foot. Aces 8 thru 12 are back on the right foot and back to the left foot if there are more. I add or subtract their value from the amount of the cards in the discard tray. I have hit and stand numbers that are different from Basic Strategy. Due to my age I have lost some of my vision in my left eye so that card counting is difficult because of a difference in perspective between my eyes. I can only do it by sitting either in the middle of the table or one seat off the middle on either side. It is still a challenge to see if I can still beat the casino. I still can do the arithmetic counting cards in pairs but not in groups of threes or fours anymore. If there is a very fast dealer I have to leave and find another table. Sometimes they figure out what I am doing and if I stay in the same casino they put that same dealer at whatever table I go to. It is all to do with respect. I don't play at a level anymore that would hurt them so they mostly don't bother me.