5 Ways to Beat the Dealer in Blackjack

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Are you looking to take your Blackjack skills to the next level? Try these sure-fire ways of getting the upper hand on any dealer.

1. Learn Some Basic Card Counting Skills (These are Super Easy)

You don’t have to be a Mensa to learn some simple card counting methods. The first is called Ace/Five. Begin at zero. Add one for every five card dealt, and subtract one for every Ace dealt. If your count is above two, double your previous bet. If it is below two, bet the minimum.
The other method is called Hi/Low, and is slightly more complicated. Start at zero. For every card dealt between 2-6, add one point. Subtract one point for every card dealt between 10 and Ace. Count nothing for numbers in between. The higher the count, the more confident you can be placing higher bets.

2. Learn a Few Simple Dealer Tells (Yes, These Exist Even in Casinos)

Casinos train dealers not to exhibit tells, and since the dealer has no financial interest in winning or losing, you can’t depend on the same tells in Blackjack that you can when playing other people. However, there is one fact that remains consistent, even among the most experienced dealers. It’s harder to read smaller number cards 2 through 6, and easier to read 7s through face cards, so dealers raise the cards just a bit higher and glance just a bit longer at the lower cards. Learn to read this tell, and it helps your win percentages measurably.

3. Learn When to Hit and When to Stand (These Simple Rules Can Save You Big Time)

There are two types of hands in Blackjack: hard hands and soft hands. A hard hand is one with no Ace, or an Ace that must count as 1. A soft hand is one with an Ace that can count as 11.

When you have a hard hand, follow these rules:

  • If holding a 5-8, hit against any card the dealer shows.
  • If holding 9, double your bet against a dealer’s 2 through 6. Hit if he’s showing 7 through Ace.
  • If holding 10, double your bet against a dealer’s 2 through 9.
  • If holding 11, double your bet against the dealer showing 2 through 10.
  • If holding 12-16, hit against the dealer showing 7 through Ace. Stand if he’s showing anything else.
  • If holding 17-21, stand every time.

When you’re holding a soft hand, follow these rules:

  • If holding 13-15, always hit.
  • If holding 16 or 17, double your bet against the dealer showing 2 through 6. If he’s showing anything else, hit.
  • If holding 18, double your bet against the dealer showing 2 through 6. Stand if he’s showing 7 through 10 or Ace.
  • If holding 19-21, always stand.

4. Learn When to Split Your Hands (Yes, There are Tried and True Methods)

Splitting your hands increases the chances of winning, if you know the right splitting techniques.

  • Always split 8s and Aces.
  • Never split 4s, 5s, or 10s.
  • Split 2s, 3s, and 7s if the dealer shows 2 through 7.
  • Split 9s if the dealer shows 2 through 6, 8, or 9.

A friendly hand is always a better hand. Be nice to your fellow players and to the dealer. An easygoing temper might not give you winning hands, but it will allow you to have a better round, and is less likely to get you kicked out when you are beating the house.

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