How to play optimal Blackjack

blackjackBlackjack is one of the more interesting games you can play at a casino, both live and online. Since it’s one of the few casino games where skill, and not just luck, decides whether you win or not, learning to play blackjack well is something your bank roll will greatly appreciate. Luckily, learning how to play blackjack correctly isn’t very difficult at all. In fact, it’s quite easy, with a few easy to memorize rules, along with a couple of exceptions. The biggest challenge is to actually stick to the plan and not starting to improvise (in other words, play less than optimally).

The Basics

blackjack2In blackjack, each card is worth the number that’s printed on it, except for jacks, queens and kings, which are worth 10 points each, and aces which can be worth either 1 or 11 – whichever gives you the best hand. The goal is to get as close to 21 as possible, but not going over it, busting. You win if you get a better hand than the dealer (or if you get 21, blackjack with your first two cards. You’re dealt two cards face up, and the dealer two cards, one face up and one face down.

Now, it’s up to you what to do. Hit and get another card, stand pat and get no more cards, split if your two cards have the same value, double down which means you take exactly one more card and then stand pat or, finally, if the dealers visible card is an ace, you may at some casinos ask for insurance against the dealer getting blackjack. If you want to test Blackjack, here is a good Blackjack comparison site to use

Optimal Play

blackjack3Optimal play is decided by the value of your cards and the dealers visible card. The infographic displays the optimal play depending on the value of your cards, and the value of the dealers visible card. It may seem like a lot, but it’s really not that hard. For example, if your hand has a value of 17-20, you’ll always stand pat, regardless of the dealers hand, except if one of your cards is an ace, then if you’re total is 19 or 20, stand, and depending on the dealers hand hit, double down or stand. Similarly, if the dealer has a 7 or better, you’ll always take another card if your hand is 16 or lower, with the exception if your hand is 10 or an 11.

In-Depth Blackjack

The infographic just shows what to do in various situations, but is light on why you ought to do it. Also, not all blackjack games have the same rules for when the dealer has to stand, or when you’re allowed to double down. The Wikipedia article on blackjack is surprisingly in-depth, describing numerous different blackjack variants, and offering some in-depth analysis of blackjack strategy. Infographic source.