How to Practice your Blackjack Strategy

blackjack dealer and player pointing at card on blackjack table with chips

A blackjack strategy helps players to achieve a theoretical house edge by improving their gameplay. But this isn’t something that takes just a couple of hours of practice. To become a blackjack expert, you need near-perfect skills and discipline in managing your bankroll.

But don’t give up yet! There’s a lot you can learn by reading up on winning blackjack strategies, and we’re here to help you take your first steps towards improving your game.

Blackjack strategy charts

A basic blackjack strategy chart should be your best friend when you want to refine your betting strategy. Remember, blackjack is a game of many variations, so you want to go with a chart that explains all the varieties of the game.

Some people memorize the charts by reciting them a few times every day. The best way to do this is to recite it in bits. For example, you could start with either hits, stands or splits: always stand on 10s, always stand on 17 and up, always stand on 20, always stand on 9s if the dealer shows an ace, 7 or 10. This will help you memorize the chart, and in no time at all you’ll know it better than the back of your hand. There are also tools to help you memorize the chart by simply displaying a blank strategy and letting you fill the correct play one cell at a time. If you find this to be too much work, you can keep your chart next to you as you play.

You can practice by dealing out hands at home, playing them with friends or family, and checking your decisions against the charts. Or, if you prefer, you can play free blackjack games online to hone your skills.

Jack and Ace card on green table with chips

Betting strategies for blackjack

Online blackjack strategies might seem a little complicated compared to playing at a brick-and-mortar venue. But the best poker strategies work equally well in a live or online setting, and the following tips should come in handy whether you’re playing at a casino or in the comfort of your own home. The only thing that won’t work for online poker is card counting, since online casinos use a random number generator to reshuffle the deck after each hand.

A basic strategy might help you up your game, but advanced strategies help you to gain more advantage over the casino. It’s important to keep in mind that some techniques are more complex than others, but these often produce better results. Below are the most popular blackjack strategies:

·        Hi/Lo Strategy – the most popular and simplest blackjack strategy which uses level-one card counts. Here, the player essentially counts cards in increments of +1, 0, or -1. So, high cards are assigned the value of -1, while low cards are assigned +1, and the remaining cards from 7 to 9 have the value of 0. In essence, if the dealer deals a high-value card such as a Jack, you will subtract 1, if the next card is a low card you will add 1, and so on, until the deck is reshuffled.

·        Omega II this is more of a balanced strategy where a 0 is used as a base. A positive count suggests that the deck has more low cards and a negative count vice versa.

·        Halves – the Wong Halves or Halves Strategy makes use of fraction values, which adds another level of complexity. The counting method here starts at 0 when the entire deck has been dealt out. This strategy is named after its creator, Standford Wong.

Always keep in mind that although card counting is not illegal, it’s prohibited in some casinos and you could be fined or banned from their premises if you’re caught counting.

Hands shuffling cards with number 10 revealed

Understanding blackjack rules & gameplay

Blackjack is generally an easy game to play. The objective of the game is to simply get a hand totaling as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it. The game is played with a standard 52-card pack, and the dealer will deal cards in rotation clockwise, once players have placed their bets. If you’re dealt an Ace and a 10, you’ve hit a “natural” or “blackjack”, and your hand automatically wins. If none of the players nor the dealer has a natural, the player to the left must decide whether to “stand” or “hit” once their hole cards have been dealt to them. To “hit” simply means asking for another card, while to “stand” means you don’t want to be dealt an additional card.  You “bust”  and lose your bet if your hand goes over 21.

In other blackjack games, you will have an option to “split” if you receive pairs. You can also choose to “double down” which is essentially doubling your initial bet if you have an advantageous hand, or “surrender” if you are at risk of losing – this will give you 50% of your initial stake. Blackjack insurance, on the other hand, is a special side bet which lets you stake half of your initial wager against the dealer hitting a natural. This bet can only be made when the dealer shows an ace as their upcard. If the dealer does reveal a 21, the insurance bet will payout 2 to 1.

Practicing with a deck of cards

Practicing blackjack with a deck of cards is best if you want to play blackjack at a brick-and-mortar casino or at home with family and friends. To get started, you will need to deal an imaginary dealer two face-up cards on the table and two for yourself. Thereafter, you will check the strategy chart to see if you have everything right. Then you want to repeat the process by dealing two additional cards until you have run out of cards in the deck.

In the next shuffle, you will deal the dealer three face-up cards instead of two, and two for yourself. Then take a guess at how you would play the hand without looking at the strategy chart and check after to see if you got it right. In the next rounds, keep increasing the dealer’s cards, by dealing four, five cards, etc, or start another round. .

You can follow the same method to try different strategies for blackjack.

Hand holding cards and tablet device on blackjack table

Practice blackjack online

If you are going to play blackjack on the internet, it only makes sense to practice online. The best casino will offer practice tables that work just like real money blackjack tables. We recommend choosing to play at an online casino rather than a free download game as it’s difficult to guarantee a fair game when playing a free game. However, it is also important to choose licensed and reputable casino sites, such as Borgata Online, to ensure that you have access to the best casino games with fair play. .

Once you have practiced enough and are ready to commit to playing for real money, you can simply fund your casino account and play blackjack from as little as $1.

There are blackjack training programs and tools that you can try on the internet. Just be sure to use safe and reliable ones. Blackjack trainers usually operate using a basic strategy and they give you feedback on whether you are making a mistake or carrying out the right actions.

Play free & real money blackjack

At Borgata Online, players are spoilt for choice when it comes to the best casino games. Our library offers free and real money blackjack games to play online. Enjoy this classic game and similar games such as baccarat, video poker, and roulette. Our casino games are accessible via browser and our casino games app. If table games are not your cup of tea, we have a host of slots and progressive jackpots for you to try out. Play the best casino games at Borgata Online today!