How to Win at Blackjack Without Breaking the Law

Did you know the game of Blackjack has been around since at least the 16th century?

Thanks to its simple game style, it has become one of the most popular gambling games today. It helps that Blackjack only has a house edge of 1% or less, which is the average amount you’ll lose per bet.

However, that house edge can increase or decrease depending on the rules and your strategy. To increase the odds in your favor, you should decrease the house edge as much as possible.

To do that, read on to find out how to win at Blackjack using our simple tips.

1. Know the Rules to the Blackjack Game You’re Playing

Blackjack has pretty simple rules, but you have to note that it has different variations, too. Although the basic rules should still be the same, each variation has a twist on the gameplay. This can affect your strategy, and if you’re not aware, you’re not going to walk away with huge winnings.

One of the most popular variations is European Blackjack, in which there are 2 decks. The dealer deals 2 cards to the player face up, and one card face up to him/herself. He/she doesn’t deal the face-down card until the player makes a decision.

Note that some software games might also have unique rules you won’t find anywhere else. These should provide a basic tutorial on how to play the game, but it’s up to you to make a strategy.

Furthermore, the casino you’re playing on may have a different set of rules and game style, which can increase or decrease the house edge and may throw off your strategy.

For example, a dealer may have to stand on soft 17 in one casino; in another, he/she may have to hit instead. A casino may also use 8 decks, another may use 4 decks, and another may use 2 decks.

2. Come to the Game with a Set Bank Roll

Before you play the game, decide on what amount you’re okay with losing without going bankrupt. This allows you to have a stop point, avoiding the risk of losing more money than what you’re prepared to lose.

Then, determine how what type of betting system you want to apply: flat or progressive betting?

In flat betting, you bet a certain amount that doesn’t change each round. The other is progressive betting, wherein you increase your bet after each win. The moment you lose, however, you go back to the least amount of bet you started with.

You may want to explore the Martingale and Paroli betting systems. These are some of the most common ones used by Blackjack players. If you’re a beginner, though, sticking to flat betting will reduce your risks.

3. Find the Right Tables to Play

We’ve mentioned earlier that casinos may have different rules, but here we’ll tell you which tables to pick to increase your chances of winning and to make sure you avoid a higher house edge.

With that said, should look for a casino that lets a dealer stand on soft 17. You should also find one that lets you double down on any 2 cards; some casinos only offer this option on 10s and 11s.

Play only on tables with a 3-2 payoff, and avoid those with 6-5 or with money as the payoff. As much as possible, find a table with fewer decks, as this gives you better odds.

4. Learn the Basic Playing Strategy

The best way to play Blackjack is to learn the basic strategy and apply it to every game (where applicable). Blackjack is a mathematical game based on the statistical theory of probability. As a result, people were able to create a strategy based on the formulas and patterns of a Blackjack game.

With only the basics, you can walk away with winnings in your pocket, but if you do lose, you’re not losing much.

This means no guessing game for you, which will only hurt your chances of winning. It’s also better to refer to this guide rather than your emotions and gut instincts. Look up the basic strategy of Blackjack online, which will tell you what to do based on your hand and the dealer’s.

You can even use a strategy card, which is something like a cheat sheet for your next move. They’re legal in casinos, but you may not be able to place them on the table. You can hold them, though, and glance at it when you’re not sure what to do next.

5. Learn What to Do with Your Cards

Aside from the basic Blackjack strategy, we have a few do’s and don’ts for you that will decrease the house edge.

If you get a pair of ace and 8, always split it, but if you get 10s and face cards, don’t split it. Split if you have a pair 2s, 3s, 6s, 7s, and 9s, too, but don’t do this if the dealer has a 7 or higher.

Double down if you have a total of 10 but not if the dealer has a 10 or an ace; double down with an 11, too, but only if the dealer doesn’t have an ace.

Don’t take a hit if you have a hard 17 or higher and if you have a soft 19, but do take a hit if you have 11 or less or a soft 17. If you have a total between 12 and 16 and the dealer has a 7 or higher, or if you have a soft 18 and the dealer has a 6 or less, take a hit.

6. Know When to Surrender

In Blackjack, surrendering is when you forfeit your hand, letting you take back half of your bet. There are only a few situations where this option is the right one to take, and it reduces the house edge by only 0.07%.

Still, that’s an advantage to you, but you should only surrender in 2 situations. One is if you have a hard total of 16 and the dealer has a 9, 10, or an ace, and the other is if you have a hard total of 15 and the dealer has a 10 or an ace.

Other than these, play according to the basic playing strategy and the tips we mentioned. Note that not all tables offer surrender as an option; if you want to play it safe, only play on tables that offer this.

Casinos will often let you surrender any 2-card total and before acting on a hand. There are some casinos that will let you surrender even if the dealer checks for blackjack, but they are a few.

7. Avoid Making Side Bets

Side bets may seem like a good way to win extra money on top of your Blackjack bets. However, the house edge is much higher on these bets, thus your chances of winning are lower.

Side bets also have lower costs, making them tempting and hiding the fact that they’re more of money sinks. Don’t fall for this, though, as you won’t notice your bankroll depleting faster.

Don’t take insurance, as well – it doesn’t decrease nor increase your chances of winning the original bet. This is only profitable for card counters, although you’ll likely get a ban from the casino if you do that.

8. Avoid Games with Continuous Shufflers

Continuous shuffling machines (CSM) shuffle the deck after each round, resulting in more hands dealt in an hour. This is good for the casino and it increases the exposure of your bankroll to the house edge. For that reason, this is a disadvantage to the players, and so you must avoid games using this device.

Rather, find a table with a traditional shuffler. This shuffles the cards after the dealer has dealt 50% to 75% of them. Another good option is finding one where the dealer shuffles the cards him/herself.

If you prefer an authentic and fair sense of randomness, you can instead opt to play Blackjack online, like on Empire777. Online games use sophisticated coding to guarantee fairness and mimic the abilities and routine of a human dealer.

9. Don’t Count Cards

If you want to know how to win in Blackjack without getting into trouble, you best avoid the counting cards strategy. In this system, you assign a value to each card on the deck, and then you add all cards as they appear in the game.

For example, the Hi-Lo system assigns a value of -1 to 10s, aces, and face cards, 0 to 7, 8, and 9 cards and +1 to the cards 2 to 6. The running count more or less indicates the current house advantage of the game. You then bet according to it, reducing your risks of losing.

This isn’t illegal per se, although it will get you in trouble with the casinos if they catch you. Under the United States laws, it’s only illegal if you use a device to help you with card counting. Nevertheless, it being legal doesn’t stop casinos from banning you.

What’s Next After Knowing How to Win at Blackjack

Now that you know the basic tips on how to win at Blackjack, it’s time to practice. There are free Blackjack games online you can play for fun, but don’t hesitate to try a casino when you feel you’re ready to win some money.

Why stop here? There’s a lot more to learn when it comes to online casinos and games. If you’re interested in earning extra money while having fun, check out our other guides and posts!