As with standard blackjack, the first thing to take into consideration when playing online blackjack is: “How many decks of cards are being used?” This number can vary from 1 to as many as 15, depending on the casino you are visiting. Single deck blackjack is hard to find, but it is the simplest to keep track of.
You simply chart the cards as you see them.
Here is a sample:
The benefit of online blackjack is that there is no dealer to watch you taking notes. With a visible chart of the cards played, blackjack strategies can easily be put into place.
Take note of the chart above.
Cards with a designation of “10” (that is the 10’s, Jacks, Queens and Kings) number 16 out of 52 cards. About halfway through the deck you will be able to accurately extrapolate the dealer’s down card and bet appropriately. This is a good time to make off the wall “double downs”, or taking just one hit in exchange for doubling your bet. If you are looking at a hand of 12 for instance, and it does not seem likely that the next card will be a ten, take the chance for a double down.
The last couple of hands is where you need to be, so bet conservatively so as to keep yourself in the game to the end of the deck. By this time you should have a clear idea of how the cards will be dealt, based on what is left unchecked on your chart. Bet big when you know you have the optimal chance of winning, and the minimum if the house has it.
When dealing with multiple deck blackjack, you simply apply the same blackjack strategies as for single-deck, only to a larger scale. The above chart is extended out for however many decks are being used, and the cards are charted as they fall.
Most people play online blackjack the same way as if they were in a live casino.
And that is why the online casino win at blackjack. Do not play swiftly, instead take your time and chart the cards. In multiple deck betting, the payoffs can be enormous, but you will need deep pockets to maintain yourself until a 15 deck chart starts to show trends.
Advanced BlackJack Strategies
Like the doubling situation above, these are the hands that will make or break you. There is one rule here hard and fast: don’t split 5s, and don’t split 10s for opposite reasons.
With the 5s you are turning a hand that should be counted as a 10 and either doubled or hit into two hands of five each, that turn into potential problems when decorated with 7, 8, 9, or 10.
With the two 10-value cards, you are asking for trouble taking a nice pat 20, doubling your original bet size, and getting stuck with a 2-7 twice. If you don’t think this happens, ask any practitioner.
What you want to do is maximize your opportunities. Aces are the cards that you do want to split, and this is a special situation. With the Ace, in most casinos, you are allowed only one card after you split them. Obviously, you are hoping for a 10 on each.
The thought here is that if you don’t split your Aces, you have a cumulative value of 2. The danger here is that if you draw 2 10-value cards in a row, not at all unusual, you will bust. You are also trying to maximize your opportunities by turning a single bet into twice that amount.
See the chart for reference.
The dealer will turn to you and ask if you would like insurance if he or she is showing an Ace. Time-worn advice suggests that because the odds of the dealer having a blackjack are about 1 in 3, you answer no.
Insurance means that you are allowed to wager up to one-half your bet that there is a blackjack or a 10-value card in the hole. You lose the bet if the dealer does not have blackjack, but get paid what you bet for insurance if there is one.
However, there is some flexibility here. Suppose you have played about a quarter of a shoe and you have noticed that there have been very few 10-value cards seen (Note: it is always a good habit to keep track of the cards that have been played, if you can).
In this situation, you might elect to take insurance based on your observation and the fact that the deck is rich in 10s. But generally speaking, it is wise to decline insurance. Just wave it off.
Luck, Steaks, Charms, Incantations and the Doo factor
The old and top online casino saying goes something like: “I’d rather be lucky than good.” I can personally attest to one incident after another of players who made horrendous decisions winning hand after hand while sitting at the same table with a player who has been around a while, but can’t seem to win on 20.
It happens all the time.
Naturally, the problem here is a momentary turn of events that one wouldn’t want to count on repeatedly. Anyone can get lucky, but it takes some knowledge to be able to play and win on a regular basis.
Some people seem to be naturally lucky, while others appear the opposite. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle. We have our lucky streaks and times when we can’t locate our own toes.
If you are losing steadily at a table, don’t stay. Take a break to clear your head, go for a walk, change tables, alter the situation. One response to this situation that heard time-after-time is: “I’m due.” That due factor has as much to do with reality as George Foreman winning the Boston Marathon. Its doesn’t happen that way.
If you’re on a losing steak, don’t try to force it. Live to play another day.
Much is said concerning this topic but little understood, and less practiced. There is a cookbook full of recipes for disaster known as betting systems, almost all of which will lead to a precarious chance of risking more and more money in the misguided hope of recovering some money already lost.
One of the more popular betting systems says to double your bet until you win. Only two problems here: you might not win until you hit the table maximum, or you might just run out of money first.
Here’s the scenario: you buy in for $100 at a $10 table and lose the first hand. This system calls for you to put $20 down, and you lose again. The third hand now calls for you to be $40, and you again lose. In order to follow this betting pattern, you need to buy in for more money because you’ve exhausted almost of your original buy-in.
So you purchase another $100 worth of chips and bet $80, only to lose for the fourth hand in a row, not all that uncommon. You are down $150, in just four bets. You buy $150 worth of chips, bet $160 to double your previous bet of $80, and lo-and-behold, you lose the fifth. (actually, you feel like drinking one at this point.).
Buying in once more and betting $320, you lose that as well. You are now out $630, and the thought of betting $640 to make your original profit of $10 seems a little far-fetched and illogical, but you so desperately want to leave the table on a winning note, that you do it.
And lose for eight losses in a row! If you think it can’t happen to you, think again. (see the section on streaks.).
From your original $10 bet, you are now out $1270!
Ouch! And the table limit is $1000. Now what?
You could slink away with your tail between your legs, or go to a table with higher limits and hope for the better there. With the way your luck is running, you don’t want to try crossing the street in traffic. You may not make it to the other side.
The best money management system is time-honored and very simple: Bet less when you are losing and more when you are winning. Easy to say, hard to do. The casinos know that if they get you in a place where you are losing steadily, the chances are that you might start to “chase” your losses with even larger amounts of money in an attempt to get out of the hole you’ve dug. Advice: go slowly and don’t try to hit home runs.
If you find that you are winning on a steady basis, whatever the reason, try betting a little bit more. There is a saying around the casino: “I’ve won and I’m playing with their money.” It isn’t their money. If you won the money, then it is yours to keep, and any you lose will be coming from the same pocket. Do you think the casino managers talk in those same terms, saying to each other, “Ah hah! We won this much today. Now we’re playing with their money?!” No way.
Follow this advice: Leave when you have won. If you bought in for $100 and you have doubled your money, take it and run! The odds are with the casino that the longer you stay and play, the better chance you have of losing it.
*The following online casinos are highly reputable, and we recommend them for trying out our blackjack strategies, whether you want to play for free/fun, or if you want to play for real money. Good luck!