Playing Blackjack - 2
Analogue or digital?
The rules of blackjack differ depending on which medium you are using, if you are playing plain analogue style with cards on a table, or digitally on an online gambling site. You should find that even at an online Blackjack table, it is quite clearly stated what the local house rules are but, if you’re in any doubt - it always pays to ask. The most common change in the rules of the game is a mark or sign on how much the dealer can hold on.
What to bet how?
In a game of Blackjack you mainly want to look for two types of play, the doubling down and surrender. These are rarely notified on the Blackjack table but, even half-way through a hand, you can ask the dealer at any time if they’re available. Convinced of that you’re going to win - then why not “double-down”. Doubling down is always restricted to card totals of 10 or 11. To double down on a hand allows you to double your bet on the two cards you’re holding. Sometimes it can also mean that you have to take another card and usually you can only double-down on the first two cards dealt to you. To “surrender” means that you will lose some of a bet, but can limit a potentially damaging bet loss. Here, if you decide you really have got a bad hand you can give it up and pay only half of the amount you originally bet. When it comes down to smaller bets, maybe around the 10’s of dollars, it wouldn’t make much of a difference, but once you add it up with a few more wins and a couple of zeros, it could potentially save a devastating loss and a tight budget.
On the receiving end
When you are at the receiving end of a blackjack table, you will be given cards facing up or down depending on house rules, whilst the dealer gets one card up and one card facing down. Usually if just one deck of cards is in use they will come to you face down but, even at an online Blackjack table, you can expect multiple decks to be in the shoe, so the first two cards will come to you face up. A god pointer in tactics is to understand that it doesn’t really matter how you get your cards, the dealer is always given a set number decided by the house/ casino, so even if you are sitting with other people around the table, it ultimately comes down to you versus the dealer.
Common grounds and soft 17s
As stated earlier, it depends on the particular version of the house rules what the dealer will stand on. With the Ace worth 1 or 11 the common minimum number for the dealer to able to stand on is 17, remember you’ve got to beat the dealer, not the other players, and if the dealer hits at least 17 in two cards then he or she will be quite happy. Turning an Ace and 6 will make that 17 and, as it’s made in two cards it is referred to as a “soft 17”. Soft because if the dealer feels threatened by a player he or she can always have another card form the shoe, reverting the Ace back to one so they still can’t go bust off three cards. This of course goes the other way around concerning the player as well.
When & after the cards are dealt
The game starts off with you getting your two cards, you get an idea of your options, you can start calculating the risks, setting up a crude game plan and the house rules have not yet been taken into account .The next step is to decide whether you can take a “hit” - have another card to try and improve your hand; or you can “stand” - holding on to what you’ve got. Hopefully after just those two cards you’re going to stand as you’re holding a “natural”. Yes, a natural (sometimes just called Blackjack) is the name given to making 21 off just your first two cards. Alternatively, and usually so long as you’re above the dealer’s stand point, you too can just stand with what you’ve got. 20 down to 17 points could feasibly be enough to win - if you’ve got a low score, that’s certainly anything below 10 and realistically anything below 12. Some computations might be helpful here, which will be made all the easier if the dealing is all face up, all you probably need to know is how many 10s, pictures and Aces are already out there? If you’re lucky enough to get a pair, let’s say two 7s, you should be able to have a go at “splitting” them. This means you get the chance to play two separate hands from the pair, sounds great and it can be - but you will have to double your bets, so if you bet $10 to get the pair, you’ll need to bet another $10 to split them. This gives the ultimate advantage of playing with two hands instead of one and the chance to win over the house, perhaps even in a nice fashion.