Blackjack Do’s & Don’ts

At their core, blackjack strategies are one of two types: those things you should always do and those things you should never do.

Of course, there are a few tactics that are good ‘in certain cases’ or that require a sort of ‘if/then’ approach. But for basic purposes – and, specifically, for blackjack players who are new to the game – it’s wise to follow a handful of widely agreed upon guidelines for almost all blackjack games.

The below blackjack do’s and don’ts apply to game play (i.e. once you’ve started betting at the brick-and-mortar or online casino). However, before you pull up a chair at the blackjack table and place your first real money bet, learn the game well and study blackjack strategy thoroughly. Watch tutorials and videos of other players in action. Be observant. Remember the tactics that work for these players and take note of the missteps, errors in odds calculations and wagering mistakes that don’t. Practice online in fun, free-play mode at an Internet casino.
When you are ready to begin betting, start by playing for short intervals at low stakes and review your hands after your session has ended. Enter a free or low buy-in online satellite tournament. The information and experience you gain will be invaluable, and will help you understand the principles that guide winning blackjack players, while also revealing the pitfalls that cause others to lose.

BLACKJACK DO’S…

  • Always hit if you’re holding a hand total of 11 or less.
  • Stand when your hand total is above 13 and the dealer’s up card is 2-6. Not always, but usually, the dealer will bust. If your total is 12 or 13, hit once.
  • Stand on a hard 15 when the dealer shows a 6.
  • Always stand on 16 when the dealer shows anything above a 6.
  • Generally, hit when the dealer’s up card is 7 to ace and your total is less than 17.
  • If you’re holding a soft 17 and the dealer shows a 9 or higher, take another card. The odds of busting are low.
  • Stand on a hard 17.
  • Apart from tens and face cards, always split your pairs.
  • When you’re not sure if you should hit or stand and the dealer’s up card is not helpful in your decision-making, always assume the dealer’s hole card is a ten.
  • Always vary your bets so that, when you are winning, you cannot be accused of card counting.
  • Be nice to the dealer and always leave a tip

AND NOW, THE BLACKJACK DON’TS…

  • Don’t take insurance. This option is offered on all blackjack tables, both live and online, because the odds of the casino paying it out are low. It’s not worth it.
  • Don’t join a blackjack tournament with a buy-in. Enter a satellite tournament instead. The cost is cheaper and the experience more useful.
  • Don’t be arrogant when you win and angry when you don’t. Win or lose, be gracious.
  • Don’t play with blackjack payouts worse than 3:2.
  • Don’t pay for any betting system that claims it can make you a millionaire. They are scams.
  • Don’t play blackjack when you’re drunk. You’ll lose and you’ll look like a fool.

And there you have them. The hard and fast rules for what winning blackjack players do and don’t do at the tables. Good luck!