While casinos that offer online blackjack may in some insignificant ways differ from one to another, the beauty of the game is its across-the-board rules familiarity. Couple that with a limited number of outcomes because of a limited number of cards, and if he simply knows what to do in each situation, even a novice player can give himself the best possible winning chance. And while most hands will only involve sitting or standing, you also must know how to double down, split and surrender.
When To Surrender in Blackjack
At any time before a player takes a card or stands pat, that player may simply fold their hand. That may sound crazy, but this is called surrendering your hand and is allowed at many online casinos that offer the game of bj. Where surrender is offered, when you fold your hand you lose the equivalent of one half of the original bet. Obviously, you should never surrender unless you have a very poor hand, and if surrender is still available, that means the dealer has not hit 21. Consider this option carefully. Here are the guidelines for scenarios which support the odds that favor surrendering your hand:
Surrender your hand if……..
- You are dealt a hand that totals 16 and the up card for the dealer is a 9, 10 or Ace
- You are dealt a hand that totals 15 and the up card for the dealer is a 10 or Ace
- You are dealt a hand that totals 17 and the up card for the dealer is an Ace
All other scenarios favor a different course of action.
Doubling Down Bets in Blackjack
Playing blackjack online also means that you may double down before you make any other choice. This simply means you're doubling your bet by placing an equal number of chips next to your original wager. The caveat is you will only receive one card. This should be considered when you have a total of 11 and your chances of getting a 10 are good. If the dealer's up card is a 2 through 6, this is a great play since even if you hit and get a small total, the odds favor that the dealer may bust anyway.
Doubling down can be the difference between you making a profit playing blackjack and taking a loss or breaking even. Passing strong opportunities to double down simply leaves money on the table to improve the house edge. When determining whether doubling down is a good option for you, consider that the dealer is potentially in the most trouble if his up card is a 5 or 6, and then in order of severity, 4, 3, and 2 respectively. Up cards of 7 or more improve the odds for the dealer, and lower the probability of the dealer hand resulting in a bust, hence doubling down should be carefully evaluated before considering it in these scenarios. Refer to the casino rules to find out when and if you can double down. Most online casinos allow you to double down on any hand, but some land-based casinos have a few restrictions.
Splitting Pair Bets in Blackjack
A controversial topic when playing legal online blackjack is when to split pairs or not. When you get a pair, you may choose to split the hand. The dealer will separate your cards, and you must place a matching bet next to the original bet. You then simply play the two hands independently and in order, and sometimes you can even double down on a split. Not all casinos offer this, and you have to be careful about the financial outlay. Without getting into the math, it is usually the correct play to split a pair of 8s or Aces every time. You'll want to apply the same principle when playing live dealer blackjack as well. Here are the guidelines for splitting pairs:
- You should always split your Aces and 8's
- You should never split your 5's and 10's (including face cards)
- You should always split your 2's and 3's if the dealer's up card is a 4 – 7
- You should always split your 6's if the dealer's up card is a 3 – 6
- You should always split your 7's if the dealer's up card is a 2 – 7
- You should always split your 9's if the dealer's up card is a 2 – 6, 8 or 9. You should not split if the dealer's up card is a 7.
If playing at a casino that allows doubling down after you split your cards, then include these scenarios for splitting pairs:
- Split your 2's and 3's if the dealer's up card is a 2 or 3.
- Split your 4's if the dealer's up card is a 5 or 6
- Split your 6's if the dealer is showing a 2
The dealer may also offer you a supplemental bet that is called insurance, and this basically allows you to make a second bet at half the size of your original bet on the table's insurance line. This option is only offered if the dealer's up card is an Ace. If the dealer has a blackjack, then this smaller bet pays the player two-for-one. If not, you lose your original bet. Again, there are tons of mathematical dissertations online showing statistically why this is almost always a bad play for players, and it is based on the fact that the dealer will only have a natural 21 in little more than 30% of all hands. The only time this type of bet Is actually recommended is if you need to protect a particularly significant wager from a loss that could damage your bankroll considerably. Hopefully, you are rarely making those types of wagers.
When playing online blackjack for money, remember the special bets, pay attention to the dealer's hand, and try never to give the dealer a free win. Understanding these blackjack bets can be a key element in developing your own personal blackjack strategy, and achieve results that offer a profitable margin for your gaming activities.
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