How To Win At Blackjack

When it comes to blackjack, you don?t really need to have excellent bluffing skills to win as you would in poker. Or even have an inordinate amount of luck as you would when spinning the wheel in roulette or simply trying your chances at a slot machine.

In the game of blackjack, you must not be afraid to take risks because this is the game that offers the best chances of winning. So take advantage of that and remember to always play to win in blackjack!

Blackjack Tip #1 ? Play to Win and Take Insurance Only When You Have To

Remember, in the game of blackjack, you?re only gambling against the dealer and no one else. Yes, it helps to know the cards of other players because you?ll be able to determine the probability of your cards winning but the most significant thing to concentrate on is how to beat the dealer?s cards.

Hence, don?t take insurance unless you have to since it?s truly just betting against yourself.

Blackjack Tip #2 ? The Rules of Splitting

When the first two cards you?re dealt with are a pair of the same value (like 7/7), then you have the option to split your cards into two and play them separately, just as long as you place the same amount of bet on each card.

Now, while most players would either always or never split their cards, there is actually a strategy that can be applied to this particular situation and improve your chances at winning in blackjack. If you have two 10?s or two 5?s, it?s inadvisable to split cards so simply stick with them. If you have two 8?s or 7?s for example and the dealer shows you a card that?s equal or with a lower value like 6 or 5, that?s the time you should split your cards. When it comes to having face cards, you?re advised to never split them as well. But when it comes to aces, split them immediately.

Blackjack Tip #3 ? Maximizing the Use of Double Down

If you feel that the first two cards the dealer gave you are so good, you always have the option of doubling down and doubling your bet. This is actually the best option available to blackjack players so never let the opportunity to double down slip you by. Be aggressive, especially if the situation warrants it!

Enjoyed reading the tips so far? Feeling confident right now? If so, go play blackjack and see how much your new found knowledge can help you!

by: Linda Harrison

Should I Take Insurance?

Insurance
When the dealer shows an A, players are given the option of taking insurance against the dealers’ having blackjack. Calling this “insurance” is a bit misleading. Actually, it is nothing other than a side bet that is paid at 2 to 1. If you wish to take insurance (which is only recommended in very specific circumstances recognizable by an expert card counter only), place a bet equal to half your original bet in the semicircle running just in front of the your betting spot. If the dealer has black-jack, you will lose your original bet but win the insurance wager and break even on the hand. If the dealer does not have blackjack, you will lose the insurance bet and the hand will be played out normally.

When to Take Insurance
Never! Next topic.
“Wait a minute!” I can hear many players saying. Don’t you always take insurance when you have blackjack yourself? That’s what everyone tells me.
Well, let’s stop and take a look at that situation more closely. Many people do believe that this is a “no lose” situation. The logic goes something like this. If your original bet is $10 and you have blackjack and you take insurance ($5), the hand will play out in one of two ways. Either the dealer will have black-jack or he will not. If he does, the hand is a push but you will win $10 because of the insurance. If he does not, you will win the hand but not the insurance bet and you will still win $10.
While taking insurance when you have blackjack seems like a “win” in every case (because it is), it is *not* your best play. What most inexperienced players fail to realize is that the insurance is a side bet. It is completely unrelated to the original bet. Let’s take a closer look.
You are guaranteed a “win” when you take insurance, but you are missing the opportunity to play the odds for a larger win. Assume you are playing alone with the dealer in a six deck game and you bet $10 on your hand and bet $5 on insurance. A six deck shoe contains 96 10’s and 214 non-10’s. After you and the dealer have been dealt your cards, you have blackjack and the dealer shows and A, so there are 95 10’s and 214 non-10’s left. There are 95 ways for the dealer to have a 10 in the hole, and if you take insurance, you will win $10 on each of them for an income of $950. However, there are 214 ways for the dealer to have a non-10 in the hole, and on those occasions you will lose $5 each, for a loss of $1,070. This is an expected loss of $120 — 7.8 percent — on 309 possibilities. A very bad bet!
It should be noted that there are certain times when taking insurance is advantageous to the player, but these circumstances can only be detected by the best card counters.

Is Blackjack a ?Winnable? Game?

When blackjack first became a casino staple, it was assumed that it was rather like baccarat, where the house, by virtue of the rules determining play, had a statistical edge. All players and students of the game assumed that this advantage existed based on two simple facts. One, the player had to act first. Two, all busts (hands totaling over twenty-one) were losers no matter what the dealer later drew. These two rules seem to give the house an incontrovertible edge.
Conventional began to change in 1956 when a paper by Baldwin, Cantey, Maisel, and McDermont was published in the _Journal of the American Statistical Association_. This paper and a black-jack strategy manual published by Baldwin et al. the following year both attracted very little interest among non mathematicians, but it would prove to be the first step toward determining that blackjack is a “winnable” game.
Edward O. Thorp, a scientist at MIT, did understand the implications of the work of Baldwin and his colleagues and began to ex-amine two elements of the game that were previously unexamined. One, the composition of a deck of cards changes with every card dealt. Two, some deck compositions favor the player and other favor the house. In 1962, Thorp published his now famous book, _Beat the Dealer_, which contained a simple yet profound mes-sage. Unlike dice, roulette wheels, and slot machines, decks of cards have “memory.”
Blackjack, unlike Roulette for example, is a winnable game be-cause of this “memory.” Let’s look at an example. You are sit-ting at the Roulette table and the dealer throws the ball and it comes to rest on the number 9. Now, when he throws the ball again for the next round, what are the odds the ball lands on 9 again? Assuming the wheel is not rigged or the dealer is not trained to “fix” the outcome, the odds of the ball landing on 9 again are exactly the same! Let’s take it a step further. Assume that the ball does indeed land on 9 again – twice more. Now the ball has landed on the 9 three times in a row! What are the odds this happens a fourth time? Exactly the same! There is no statistical reason that the ball should “avoid” landing on 9 again.
Blackjack is different. Let’s look at a similar situation in blackjack. You are at the table with two other players. The dealer deals a 9 to each of the players at the table. Now the odds of dealing another 9 have been significantly reduced. In a six deck game the odds have been reduced from 3:49 to 7:104. This fact alone makes blackjack a winnable game.