January 14, 2016

Live Blackjack Strategy

Should I play Live Blackjack with a strategy

Live Blackjack Strategy is a topic that you will find all over the internet. Not many sites however take the time to explain the house edge with every hand. We already said that Blackjack offers a favorable house edge. Taking advantage of that promising edge, depends on whether a player employs proper basic strategy. If you do want to keep the house edge below the 1% mark, it’s the only way to do it.

Blackjack Odds

The first thing you ought to be well aware of is the multitude of naive, one-liner strategies being thrown about. For instance, you often hear some (inexperienced) players saying things like, “I never take chances when there’s a possibility of going bust” or “I always assume that the dealer’s hole card’s a ten.” Employ such strategies, and we can almost guarantee that you will fail to win at Blackjack. In reality, there are odds to the game with which players should familiarise themselves and use. For example, It is always smart to stand when you’ve got anything between 17 and 21, which is exactly why the house chooses to do so itself. But, let’s say you hold a 9 and a 6 for a total hand value of 15. The chances to go bust should you hit are certainly on the cards. So, should you simply stand? NO! It depends on what the dealer’s up card is. In this case, should the dealer’s up card be a 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, you should certainly stand, banking on the chances of the dealer hitting and going bust. But if the dealer’s up card is a 7, 8, 9, 10, face card or A, you should hit. This is because the odds dictate that the dealer will end up somewhere between 17 and 21, so your hand must be improved.

And different odds and optimal decisions will apply to each Blackjack hand, and those decisions must be based on the dealer’s up card. But remember, there are several damaging, naive, one-liner strategies out there, and if you want to take full advantage of the favorable house edge Blackjack offers, you must avoid them like the plague.

Blackjack Payouts

Another thing you should look out for is the ratio that the house pays-out on a Blackjack hand. You ought to make sure that you play at a Live Dealer Casino that offers a pay-out of 1.5:1 (or 3:2) on your blackjack hands because this will have a significant effect on your game’s value. This is what most Live Dealer Casinos will offer you, but there are some out there that will offer a pay-out ratio of 6:5, and this will have an adverse effect on your winnings, perhaps even turning them to losses in the long run. So make sure to check the pay table at the casino of your choice before making that deposit.

Blackjack Insurance

We’ve already spoken of the Insurance option above. Well, to cut a long story short, you’d do well to just avoid taking Insurance. This is because the Insurance bet is disguised as a means for player protection against a dealer’s prospective blackjack. But think about it; really and truly, Insurance is a mere side-bet on whether the dealer’s got a blackjack in hand. And what are the odds of a dealer having a blackjack in hand? 9:4, which in our books, are pretty terrible, because they essentially mean that out of every 13 times you take Insurance, you will gain at 2:1 4 times, but lose your insurance bet 9 times, which is more than double 4. Get it? In the long run, Insurance will always favour the house.

Blackjack Card Counting

There are other senseless comments one sometimes hears being thrown about without shame. For example, you occasionally hear some (inexperienced) player say something like, “I play Live Dealer Blackjack online because you can count cards.” Ok, unlike RNG or virtual online Blackjack, Live Dealer Blackjack offers players the possibility to count cards. But is this to be relied upon? Definitely not. Firstly, many Live Dealer Casinos employ pit bosses, just like land-based casinos, and these guys are pretty proficient at detecting bet patterns that insinuate card counting. Get caught counting, and forget your chances of ever playing at that casino again. In fact, you may find that getting barred at one casino means that you’ll be barred from several others. Secondly, no Live Dealer Casino online allows the dealer to get anywhere remotely close to the end of the shoe without shuffling the decks, so your counting won’t get you very far though the shoe. We don’t recommend counting as an optimal Blackjack strategy.

Live Blackjack Bonuses

One way of ensuring you are taking full advantage of your chances of winning at Blackjack is to make use of the lucrative bonuses offered at some casinos. Make sure you know your bonuses though, because these have to be playable on Live Blackjack, which is not common, and must be translatable to real money once you’ve satisfied the wagering requirements attached. So do your homework well, but if you find a live dealer casino offering a good deposit bonus that translates into real money, you can bring down the house advantage, which is already relatively low if you apply a good strategy.

But what is a good strategy? As we said earlier, there are decisions you must make at every hand, which are also based on the dealer’s up card, and these will make or break your game. Let’s go through the strategy table briefly. The horizontal axis refers to the dealer’s up card, while the vertical axis refers to your hand value (8-20) or your cards (e.g. A-2, 6-6, etc.). The following is a table key:

H = Hit

D = Double Down

S = Stand

SP = Split

SP/H = Split if you’re allowed to Double Down afterwards, if not, Hit.

Live Blackjack Strategy Table

Employ the above basic strategy when playing Live Dealer Blackjack online and you may rest assured that you’re playing at an optimum level. And there’s another major advantage of playing online; you can keep the above table open on a separate browser window and refer to it in-game!