Do you want to win big? Blackjack is all about strategy, and if you’re really bent to bagging a fortune, you should start practicing your strategy toward winning. You can start by memorizing some important moves and situations. After that, it’s time to level up your free blackjack practice to a whole new height. We will master the basic strategy of playing.
Some players start by making a color-coded strategy chart that they can refer to each time they need to make a move (which we’ll discuss later on). This practice will sharpen your skills in betting and playing the card game. Regardless if you are a newbie or a pro, practicing your strategy is a must to increase your odds of winning.
Creating and using flashcards
Making blackjack flashcards isn’t really bound to a certain rule. You can make your own signals and notes as long as it will be easy for you to recognize it during game time. Usually, players write the possible hand together with the basic strategy.
For those who are playing using the Composition-Development (CD) strategy, the combination of the hand is also written. Although this can be a very detailed and exhausting process, it pays especially if you’re seeking accuracy and lowering the edge of the house. Personally, the CD strategy has given me a big edge in some of my bets and it really did work most of the time.
Still, there’s no problem about starting with the basic strategies. Write every line of the strategy chart on the index cards until you have everything covered.
Next, you’ll have an empty strategy card with the dealer’s up card value in it. What you have to do here is to fill out the necessary moves based on what you remember from the flashcards. The goal here is to answer each strategy slot with the same content with that of your basic strategy card. Do this repeatedly until you have everything memorized by heart.
Answer one section per day so you won’t rush in with the process. You can go with the ‘soft hands’ on the first day and then the ‘hard hands’ the next day. Go through this process over and over again until you’re confident you have everything in memory.
Practice with a deck of cards
Now that you’ve memorized the basic strategy, it’s time to apply what you learned using a deck of cards. Here, you’ll act both as the dealer and the player. First, place a 2 up card in purpose and then deal yourself two cards and another for the side of the dealer.
Once you have the cards, decide how you will play the hand. Take a look on your charts and make sure that you have the next move planned based on the strategy. You really don’t have to play the game entirely. The goal here is for you to solidify that moves you have to do under a certain hand and the dealer’s up card.
Do this process until you’ve run out of cards on the deck. Always make sure that you have the moves right on your memory by referring to the strategy chart. You can change the dealer’s up card with higher values like 3, 4, 5, or until 10.
Always seek to get your hand and move right. If you think the process of dealing the cards on your own may stagger your progress, you can ask a friend to act as the dealer. To level up the practice, you can try this on soft hands and even splits.
Remember: you can always refer to your flashcards or ‘books’ as some call it if you’re not certain. The goal here isn’t to rack your brain but to absorb the strategy effectively. Still, you should start laying off the books slowly. This is crucial especially if you’re planning to play in an actual casino.
Use your mobile devices
If you don’t have a deck of cards with you, free blackjack practice shouldn’t be stymied. You can use a mobile or desktop practice app. This way, you can be dealt with cards where you should choose the right move. Some apps will tell you if you made the wrong move or if it’s unfavorable for your hand.
Practice apps will pick up the hands where you’re most weak at. It will continuously come up with a similar hand until you figure out the right move. Practice blackjack online until you have the moves memorized.
Also, there are mobile or desktop versions of your manual blank strategy chart. You can fill it out using your gadgets while on the bus or a train. Aside from being a great pastime, it’s also an excellent way to keep your skills sharp.
All these ways of memorizing the basic strategy are effective. Also, it means you don’t have any excuses not to do it. Be it paper and pencil or by using your smartphone, there are ways to increase your chances of winning.
Remember, this is just the start of your practice. Once you’re confident that you have the strategy chart on your head, you can now proceed to the following steps.
Practicing it with the rules
Even the best gamblers get confused sometimes. As you know, each blackjack table would have its own set of rules. Always ask about the rules first before sitting on the table or making an online bet.
Knowing when to hit, stand, split, or double down is a crucial part of playing. It’s not just about getting close to 21. For example, you have two 10 face cards, but in a stir of confusion and impatience by other players, you decided to split. That, my friend, isn’t the right play, standing is.
You can memorize the whole strategy chart, but it’s a whole different thing to apply it. When factors like pressure, time constraint, noise, and other distractions are in place, recalling the strategy might send you to a panic frenzy.
➕The surrender rule
Let’s consider that the casino indeed allows the surrender rule. When a player is put in the position with an ugly hand and a threatening dealer up card, the common questions is this: should I surrender? Well, the answer to this is more than just a gut-feel during free blackjack practice.
An up card of 9 or 10 is a strong sign that you should surrender in the event that you have an ugly hand, say a poor combination of a 16 hand. Still, it’s just a sign. The value of your hand will be the determiner.
➕Splitting the pair
If you happen to have a pair of the same card, you’ll have the chance to decide whether to split it to another hand or keep hitting or standing. According to the basic strategy, it’s never wise to split two 10 cards.
For example, if you’re dealt with a pair of 7s, the common notion is to surrender. However, you can turn this losing hand into a winning one. By splitting the two 7s, you have a 7 starting card for each hand. This is way better than standing at 14 or surrendering. Practice blackjack online to master this.
Not all players are apt to double down their bet even if the casino allows. Doubling your bet is doubling the risk, as they say. This is actually true and you also reduce your edge over the house when doing this. However, lets’ take a look at it in both soft hand and hard hand perspectives during your free blackjack practice.
In a soft hand situation, doubling down isn’t meant to get close to the dealer’s hand. It’s intended to make more money and winning when the up card has a lower value, say 2, 3, 4, or even 6.
Meanwhile, doubling down in a hard hand is an offensive type of playing blackjack. When you have a hard hand and the dealer is most likely to bust, it’s your chance to exploit your edge.
Decision and key cards
According to the basic strategy, there are some key cards that you should remember as a guide about your possible next move. Here are some of those:
Splitting – player play
Doubling down – two-card hand 8, 9, 10, 11 as well as soft hands (will depend on the dealer card)
Surrender – If the dealer has 9, 10, or ace up card.
This guide and the process shown below just prove that hitting and standing is the last decision to make when playing blackjack. However, all of these processes should be done at lightning speed. You can’t expect the dealer and other players on the table to wait for an eternity before you can play. Some of these people are playing in specific rounds per hour to earn money. You wouldn’t want to be that guy who stalls the momentum.
Should you hit or stand?
This is the most important decision a player can ever make. Hitting at the wrong hand may result in an automatic bust. If surrendering, splitting, or doubling isn’t the option, you’ll be left with the decision to either hit or stand. This is why free blackjack practice is very, very important.
Here, I’ll give you some hand scenarios to help you decide whether it’s best to hit or to stand. Remember the sequence though: Should you surrender? If not, should you split? If the answer is still no, it might be a case for a double down. In case it’s still a no, hitting or standing is the only option.
Imagine you’re dealt a hard 14 hand and the dealer’s up card is 10. This is a blackjack table where the dealer has to stand at Soft 17 and you can double after split. Let’s follow the sequence as a way to practice blackjack online:
➕Is this a ground for surrender? With the up card 10, it might cause you to decide so. But according to the basic strategy, it shouldn’t be the case.
➕Since it’s a no, should you split? If you don’t have a pair of 7s, it’s a default to skip this. If you do you have a pair, always split it up. That way, you’ll get a fresh start and possibly better hands after the split.
➕In case you can’t split, maybe you can double? As far as the basic strategy is concerned, a hard 14 isn’t an ideal hand to double down to.
➕This brings us to the last option: hitting or standing. When the dealer has a 10 and you have a hard 14 hand, the rule is to hit. Why? Because the presence of higher value cards means there’s a chance that you’re going to hit a lower value card, say 6 or 7.
Here’s another example:
At the same game format, you’re dealt with a soft 18 (A-7) while the dealer has a 9 up card. As you know, 9 is a surrender card, but we never surrender soft hands according to the basic strategy. However, your hand isn’t viable for splitting and it’s not ideal for doubling down either due to the dealer up card. Again, you’re left with the choice to either hit or stand.
Since you have a soft hand, the only way to turn the tables is to hit when the dealer has a 9 up card. By following the sequence I mentioned above, you get to play within a foundation. Again, this is just the basic strategy. There are lots of other strategies that you can explore later on. Still, this step is crucial to master before diving into more complicated styles of playing.
If you want to boost your chances of winning using the basic strategy, here are more insights from Colin to help you out:
Practice is the key to winning. If you’re serious about playing blackjack, never underestimate the value of sharpening the basics and getting good at it. Creating flashcards with pen and paper is a good start no matter how basic that is. Utilizing the ways to memorize the strategy chart is important, especially if you’re planning to be a higher roller. This strategy chart will be helpful, especially if you’re playing online.
Once you’re done with the cards, reproduce the chart in an empty sheet until you can fill it out properly. You can also use your gadgets for a more convenient way of free blackjack practice.