A common belief among tepid gamblers is that in a game of blackjack, be it the one played in land-based casinos, in traditional online casinos or with live dealers, it is very hard to beat the dealer because the house edge is in his/her favor. Naturally they would think this way, but if anyone would do the math involved, they would know that it is not impossible to beat the dealer. All that is needed is a solid knowledge of how blackjack is played.
The goal of blackjack is to get a hand of cards whose total value is 21 or less, but never going over. If your hand is a natural blackjack or at least having a total value of 21, you will at the very least get back the money you have wagered. If you bust (that is, have a hand value that is over 21) or if the dealer’s hand is closer to 21 than yours, you lose.
There are a number of playing options in blackjack which, if you follow them astutely, can make you last long in the game. These playing options are the following:
1. Doubling down. Doubling down is an option available to a player to double the original bet he/she has made prior to the first deal of the cards. The payoff for a successful doubling down bet is 2:1. The player, however, is required to draw one card from the dealer if he makes a double down bet.
2. Splitting. You can split the two cards you receive and play them as two separate hands. Splitting is usually done if the original hand has a value of ten or eleven. When you make a split, you need to place a wager that is equal to your original bet. Take note, however, that if you do get a 21 from one of your split hands, it is just a 21 hand; it can no longer be considered as a natural blackjack.
3. Double after splitting. This move allows you to double down on your bet after you have split your original two cards to create two separate hands. However, before you do this, you need to check with the casino if they allow this move.
4. Surrender. Some live dealer casinos and traditional online casinos allow players to surrender their cards if it turns out that it is not a natural blackjack. If this is the case and you opt to surrender your hand, you can get back half of the bet you have made for that particular round.
5. Insurance. Remember that in blackjack, the dealer has one card open. If this card is an ace, the probability that it is a natural blackjack is high. In this situation, you can make an insurance bet and wager that the dealer has a natural blackjack. If this turns out to be true, then you lose your original bet but get twice what you paid for your insurance bet. If the dealer’s hand is not a blackjack, you lose the insurance bet.
6. Five-Card Charlie. There are times when a player was already hit for five times and yet has not managed to get busted out. This is called a five-card Charlie. Most casinos reward a five-card Charlie.