What You Need To Know About The Blackjack Table

What You Need To Know About The Blackjack Table

What Beginners Need to Know to Win at Blackjack

Blackjack evolved from a French game called Vingt-et-Un – which gives the game an alternate name of ‘twenty-one.’ As with many card games, baccarat and blackjack originated in the casinos of Europe, possibly as early as the 1600s in Spain. It’s a popular and fast-paced game, and one can play many hands in just one hour. It’s also very straightforward to learn but to take home some money, and the new player needs to understand how the game works, and how to bet blackjack for beginners.

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Casino Play: Blackjack for Beginners

Blackjack takes place at a table with one dealer and between five to seven players’ seats. Some casinos shuffle and deal as many as eight decks or as few as one. Shuffling and dealing are done by hand with lesser amounts of packs, from a dealers’ shoe or a shuffling machine with more significant numbers of decks.

In the most basic casino form, each player bets their hand in the betting box marked out on the gaming table in front of them – through an individual player may play as many as two or three positions at the table depending on house rules. The dealer deals the cards from left to right, placing the cards in front of the betting box in two passes. The dealer deals the players’ cards either both face-down or one up and one down. The dealer’s hand is dealt one down and one up, with the face-down card remaining unturned unless the hand comprises an ace and a face card or 10 of any suit to make twenty-one. 

The players try to make totals that are better than the dealer’s hand while nut breaking (going over) twenty-one. They will signal to ‘hit’ – take another card – or ‘stand’ without taking another card. Some casinos allow you to ‘double down’ on a bet or to ‘surrender’ by giving up your hand and losing half your original wager. In most casinos, you are allowed to ‘split’ your hand if dealt two cards of the same value. Most casinos also allow you to take ‘insurance’ – a side bet when the dealer’s face-up card is an ace. 

Betting and Strategy

First things first – the fewer decks dealt, the better the odds. Your chances of getting a right-hand go lower with each additional deck in play since the house’s advantage increase with every pack in the game.

  • Decks in Play
  •  Number of Cards
  •  House Edge
No. of DecksNo. of Cards in play House Edge
Single 52 0.17%
Two 104 0.46%
Four 208 0.60%
Eight 416 0.66%

The basic strategy depends on the number of decks in play and the house rules. The lower the value of your hand, the more you need to hit. The closer you get to the teens, the bigger the risk. Should you stand at twelve? How about fifteen? Splits? For beginners who don’t want to blow their stake at the tables, starting with a basic single deck strategy like this one from Wizard of Odds is the best way to go.

Geeking It: Advantage Play

Like all gambling, blackjack comes down to mathematics, and advantage play is all about using memory and computation to win more at the table. This skill set can give a player an advantage, but it’s not something that you can read up on then take to the table the next day. It takes practice, but the casinos do not appreciate players who do this and may eject you from the establishment and blacklist you against returning.

The main form of advantage play is called card counting. Players keep track of the cards dealt face-up and infer the cards left in the deck and place bets accordingly. For instance, if there is a possibility that many 10-value cards are left in the deck, there’s a better chance of getting a high-value hand or blackjack. Card counting is legal as long as the player is not using a counting device, but if a pit boss even suspects that you’re counting, they may ask you to leave and not come back. 

Shuffle tracking is less detectable but far more difficult. The technique requires a highly trained ability in visual estimation and excellent eyesight to track different cards through the shuffling process. Unless you are an absolute Brainiac with excellent skills in observation, evaluation, and the ability to compute probabilities on the fly, leave this one alone. 

Getting Started

Training for the tables with the best online blackjack casinos is one way to hone your skills for the live game. There’s very little to compare with the live match, sound of the casino, crisp crack of cards, and the chips in front of you. However, for honing your skills on online casinos – the best known and reputable ones – will help you become an ace blackjack player in no time at all.