Blackjack is a game of skill, and mathematics plays a large role. Fortunately, players can use some simple mathematical principles to increase their odds of winning. Here are some of the most important mathematical blackjack rules to remember:
Understand the house edge. This is the percentage of money that the casino will win from your bets over a long period of time. The house edge is determined by the rules of the game, the number of decks in play, and the dealer’s strategy. Calculating the house edge isn’t easy, but it can be done. You can find a lot of free online calculators that will help you calculate the house edge for blackjack.
Know when to hit or stand. Blackjack has some of the best opportunities for hitting, especially when the dealer has a weak card showing. However, you should only hit when you can improve your hand to 21 or better, and when you’re sure that the next cards won’t cause you to bust.
Practice counting cards. It’s not hard to learn, and it can give you a significant advantage in blackjack. The basic method is to start with a single deck and count the cards as they’re dealt. You’ll need to learn a new system for counting multiple decks, but you can still get a lot of benefit from knowing when there are more high-value cards in the deck than low-value ones. You can also work on your doubling down skills. This bet is made by doubling your initial bet and receiving one more card. This can be a powerful move, but it’s important to practice your count before you try it in a live casino.
Always split two 8’s. Statistically speaking, this is the worst hand in the game and splitting it will give you a much higher chance of winning. By playing this hand, you’ll have a 22% chance of winning against the dealer. By contrast, choosing to hit will give you a much lower probability of winning (23%).
Avoid buying insurance. Buying insurance is a costly mistake that will decrease your chances of winning. The house edge is high enough as it is, so you’ll lose more paying for insurance than you will win back in the long run.
Don’t take insurance if you have a 12 against the dealer’s 10. This is the most common blackjack mistake that can be made, and it gives the dealer an unfair advantage.
When you’re learning how to play blackjack, the first thing you should do is set a bankroll. Once you’ve decided how much money you’re willing to wager, stick to it. This will prevent you from chasing your losses and potentially blowing your entire bankroll. It’s also a good idea to set a limit for the number of hands you play in an hour, as this will prevent you from losing your money too quickly. Moreover, it will help you concentrate on the game and make fewer mistakes.