Blackjack for Beginners: Building a Winning Strategy

Most casino games rely heavily on chance, but blackjack offers a unique opportunity for players to tip the odds in their favour.

Unlike slots or roulette, where luck reigns supreme, blackjack largely comes down to strategic decision-making based on probability rather than leaving everything to chance.

By mastering basic strategies such as knowing when to hit or stand, blackjack players can significantly improve their chances of winning.

Basic Strategy

Learning basic strategy is the key to success in blackjack. In simple terms, the system shows you the best way to play a hand in any game situation.

For example, basic strategy dictates that players should stand on a hard 17 or higher, even when facing a strong dealer hand, as the chances of improving further are minimal.

Doubling down on a hard 11 is recommended to capitalise on a favourable starting hand and increase the chances of securing a win in the long run.

It is optimal to split pairs of eights or aces as the starting hand to maximise chances of success regardless of what the dealer is showing, although an additional bet will be required.

The situation is identical when dealt a pair of nines, but it is best to stand if the dealer shows a 7, 10 or ace in that scenario.

Conversely, players should never split a pair of tens, as a starting hand of 20 offers a strong chance of an outright win.

When dealt an ace-seven combination, which can be a good starting hand at face value, it is advisable to hit if the dealer's up-card is higher than 8, as he is likely to form a stronger hand than 18.

Standing with a hand totalling 12 is preferred only when the dealer shows a 4, 5 or 6, otherwise it is recommended to hit since his hole card will likely result in a hand stronger than 12.

Similarly, it is best to stand with hands from 13 to 16 if the dealer's up-card is 2 through 6, which is quite a common theme when playing 21.

Standing is advised if the dealer shows 2 to 6, while it is recommended to hit and try to improve the hand if the dealer's up-card is higher.

Surrendering may also be viable if it is available, but only utilise that option on 16 against 9, 10 or an ace.

The Martingale System

The Martingale is the most common system that blackjack players use, particularly in countries where players may not yet be totally familiar with the game.

For example, blackjack has only recently started to gain traction in Middle East countries such as Kuwait, where gambling has traditionally been outlawed.

However, individuals in the country who enjoy the occasional dabble into gambling are now able to sign-up to online casinos in Kuwait, and blackjack is one of the most popular games.

For blackjack players in Kuwait and beyond, the Martingale system can be hugely beneficial as it increases their chances of winning over the short term by betting big to win small.

It operates on a simple principle - double your bet after every consecutive loss, looking to win back everything with your first victory before starting over with the original betting amount.

The Martingale can be applied to Dozens and Columns, which are bets covering 12 numbers and paying 2:1. It seemingly offers an easier path to profit than betting on Red or Black, but the catch lies in the potential for long losing streaks.

Since each bet is independent, 15 straight losses without a Dozen or Column hitting are statistically possible, even though they feel unlikely.

To recoup any losses, your next stake should amount to half the total losses to cover the previous deficit.

While the odds may favour Dozens or Columns in terms of longer streaks, the financial danger associated with chasing losses through the Martingale makes it a highly risky strategy.

Top Five Blackjack Tips

If you want to improve your skills at blackjack, follow these five tips:

Understand & Play the Basics

Having a good strategy is super important when playing blackjack. It provides players with a roadmap for decent decision-making based on their hand and the dealer's up-card. By sticking to this plan, you can significantly increase your chances of winning.

Manage Your Bankroll

Maintaining proper control over your bankroll is essential for sustained success in blackjack. Establish a clear budget for each blackjack session and decide in advance the maximum amount you're comfortable risking per hand. It is advisable to limit your bets to one to two percent of your overall bankroll per hand to minimise risk.

Avoid Insurance Bets

Avoiding insurance bets is advisable, even when the dealer shows an ace. Despite their initial appeal, insurance bets have a negative expected value over time. It is best to steer clear of them entirely to safeguard your bankroll from erosion.

Practise at Casinos & Use Small Bets

Traditional brick-and-mortar casinos provide a distinct and engaging ambience for refining your blackjack skills. If you are prepared to move from virtual practice to the actual casino setting, consider starting by exploring low-stakes tables. These are perfect for beginners or individuals aiming to enhance their skills without significant financial risk.

Maintain a Positive Mindset

Maintaining a positive mindset is often underrated but can significantly impact your blackjack performance. It is crucial to remember that blackjack is a game of probability, meaning winning and losing streaks are inevitable. Avoid letting emotions cloud your judgement, especially after a loss. Prioritise staying calm, focused and self-assured, as these attributes foster better decision-making.

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