Blackjack Rules: How to Play and Not Lose All Your Money?

Blackjack Rules: How to Play and Not Lose All Your Money?

Blackjack is a card game that just about everyone knows how to play. However, if you play it for real cash stakes, it is well worth taking a deeper look at the rules to see how to improve your chances of winning.

The Basics

We all know that 21 is the key number in blackjack, but you should be careful not to put too much importance on this total. Remember that the secret to winning at blackjack isn’t in getting a hand of 21 every time, as this is impossible to do.

Instead, the key is in beating the dealer by getting closer to 21 than them without going over it. While the difference between these aims might not sound like much, it is a different way of looking at the game that helps you make better decisions.

For example, if you have a hand totaling 16, you will be tempted to hit and try to get closer to 21. But what if the dealer’s first card is a poor one, such as a number between 2 and 6? In this case, blackjack strategy cards tell us that we should stand. Yet, if the dealer has a 7 or greater we are encouraged to hit, as there is a better chance of them beating our 16.

Another point to remember is the value of aces in this game. Since they can be counted as either 1 or 11, they give us a lot more flexibility when it comes to deciding whether to hit or stand. You could look at it as giving you a second chance. If using an ace as an 11 takes you over 21 then it becomes a 1 to keep your hand alive. 

The Advanced Moves

Doubling down is a tempting move, as it sees you double your stake while getting just a single extra card. Some players double down more than they should, while others avoid it even when it would be a good option. So, when should you double down in blackjack?

First of all, you should avoid this risky tactic when the dealer has an ace showing. There is a chance that they get 21 with their first next cards, so most experts won’t double down no matter what they have in their own hand.

A total of 11 is a good hand to double down on, as you could get 21 or close to it with the next cards you are dealt. Another situation where it suits is when you have a hand of between 16 and 18, providing that there is an ace in it. In this case, you have a few different ways of getting close to 21 with 1 more card. 

If you have a 9 or 10 hand with no ace, you can get a high total as long as your additional card is decent. However, you might only want to double down in this case if the dealer has a poor card showing.

Splitting the hand isn’t the same as doubling down, although it may appear similar at first. This is where you double your bet but split up 2 identical cards into a couple of hands. It is used to break up a pair in weak hands like 16 or to take full advantage of 2 aces being dealt together.

The Side Bets

Side bets are another element of blackjack that tends to catch the eye of new players. They promise high returns and add some extra fun to the game. However, you should realize that side bets offer a poorer return than the basic game.

Something like perfect pairs gives a big return if you land a pair of identical suited cards, but you could be waiting a long time for this combination to turn up. Only play with side bets if you want some extra tension and aren’t too worried about your chances of winning. 

The Bankroll Strategies

By sticking to the previous points, you will be giving yourself the best chance of winning by using the blackjack rules to your advantage. Yet, if you are serious about not losing all of your money there is one more crucial point to keep in mind.

This is about your bankroll strategy. Managing your funds well is crucial in a casino game like this, where you will expect to win about as many times you lose. Some players like to play it safe by sticking to the minimum bet allowed, while others place the maximum bet or close to it, in the hope of winning big.

There is no right or wrong answer, so it comes down to what feels right to you. However, you can find out more about blackjack rules and strategy here. 

Make good decisions on your blackjack strategy and you will enjoy this game no matter how big or small the stakes are.  

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash