Blackjack Tips

By Terri Rawls
Blackjack.  21.  You win!

Blackjack, also called 21, is a well known card game played in homes, casinos and on the Internet. In Blackjack, multiple players play against the dealer in an effort to get a card value as close to 21 as possible without going over 21, which is called busting. Although the game seems to favor the dealer, players may increase their odds by using basic strategy and the following Blackjack tips.

Learn the basics of Blackjack. The dealer has to take a card, called hitting, on any hand of 16 or lower. There is no way for you to win with a hand under 17 unless the dealer goes over 21, so always shoot for at least 17.Always count aces as 11, unless it puts your hand over 21. If it puts you over 21, count the ace as 1. Be aware of what the player options are before you sit down at a table. Blackjack tables vary on bet minimums and player options, as well as what variation of Blackjack is being played.

Determine in advance how much money you have to spend and possibly lose. This will help keep you out of situations where you might be tempted to keep betting money you cannot afford to lose.

Find a Blackjack table that looks like the players are relaxed and enjoying themselves. You want to play at a table where you are able to focus on the cards and concentrate on what you want to do next.

Consider splitting your cards whenever you are dealt two cards of the same value. Splitting allows you to play two hands in one round and to double your bet, increasing your odds of winning. Be sure to pay attention to the other cards showing on the table and avoid splitting face cards, 10's and 5's.

Double down whenever you are pretty sure that your hand will beat the dealer. When you double down, you are doubling your bet against the dealer and will receive one extra card.

Tip the dealer. Most dealers work for minimal pay and depend on tips from players to earn a decent living. A dollar chip here and there to a friendly dealer makes everyone feel good. Try placing the dealer's tip right in front of your betting circle and doubling it if you win.

Tip

Look for a Blackjack table where the dealer and players are relaxed and friendly.

Warning

Avoid tables where there are obvious distractions such as drunks, slow players or unfriendly dealers.