Playing Better Blackjack

Unskilled patrons of the game will try to convince you “it’s a team sport” but don’t be fooled. The combination of an ace with a card other than a ten-card is known as a «soft hand,» because the player can count the ace as a 1 or 11, and either draw cards or not. For example with a «soft 17» , the total is 7 or 17. While a count of 17 is a good hand, the player may wish to draw for a higher total.

You can protect yourself by taking «insurance.» If the dealer has an Ace showing he will ask all players if they would like insurance. The insurance bet is a side bet in which you can wager half of your original bet. To place an insurance bet place chips in the amount of half your original wager on the table in front of your original bet.

Players can deviate from basic strategy according to the composition of their undealt cards. For example, with many tens left in the deck, players might double down in more situations since there is a better chance of getting a good hand. Blackjack games almost always provide a side bet called insurance, which may be played when dealer’s upcard is an ace. Additional side bets, such as «Dealer Match» which pays when the player’s cards match the dealer’s up card, are sometimes available. Cards are dealt either from one or two handheld decks, from a dealer’s shoe, or from a shuffling machine. The players’ initial cards may be dealt face up or face down (more common in single-deck games). The only time a player can receive a blackjack and not get paid immediately is if the dealer also has an blackjack.

If the draw creates a bust hand by counting the ace as an 11, the player simply counts the ace as a 1 and continues playing by standing or «hitting» Card counting is not strictly illegal, but casinos will eject any players caught counting cards. It doesn’t matter in online Blackjack though because the decks are virtual and shuffled using a random number generator. Counting cards online with any certainty isn’t really possible. Aces are a strong starting point and can quickly create strong hands. All that is needed is a card valued at 10, and the player will have 21.

If the dealer does have blackjack your insurance bet will be payed at 2-1 and you will lose your original bet. If the dealer doesn’t have blackjack you will lose your insurance bet but continue play with your original bet. In general, the insurance bet is NOT a good bet unless you are counting cards and you have determined that there is a high probability of the dealer having blackjack. If you aren’t counting cards DO NOT take the insurance bet. In other casinos, the players’ cards are dealt face up, and the players are prohibited from touching them. It’s also important to note, the other players’ hands at the table have nothing to do with winning the game of Blackjack like they do in Poker games. For all practical purposes, it’s just you against the dealer.

As a result, casinos are more likely to insist that players do not reveal their cards to one another in single-deck games. In games with more decks of cards, casinos limit penetration by ending the shoe and reshuffling when one or more decks remain undealt. Casinos also sometimes use a shuffling machine to reintroduce the exhausted cards every time a deck has been played.

The face cards are all ten each, and the ace is either one or eleven depending on what the player wants. Card counting is most rewarding near the end of a complete shoe when as few as possible cards remain. Single-deck games are therefore particularly advantageous to the card counting player.