So, in part one of our blackjack gambling strategy guide we covered the first three components of strategic blackjack and this section deals with the remaining three which are soft hands, insurance and surrender. When all three of these components are combined you will be much better placed to win casino blackjack by sticking to the correct rules and black jack strategy.
We touched on soft hands in part 1, but let’s elaborate here. These hands can be complicated to the blackjack novice, as they possess their own specific rulings for standing, hitting and doubling down. As a quick refresh, a soft hand is one that contains an ace, where the player has two options for the hand’s value, depending on the ace representing 1 or 11.
suggested soft hand strategy:
•If the dealer has 7 or higher, hit a soft 13 to 17. Don’t forget with a soft hand you can’t bust on that next card.
•If you have soft 13 to 17, double down only if the dealer has a 5 or a 6.
•If you have soft 15 to 17, you can also double if the dealer has a 4.
•A soft 18 generally warrants standing, but if the dealer has an ace, or a 9 or a ten, you’re probably better off hitting – you should stand opposing a 8, 7 or 2, double against a 6, 5, 4 or 3.
•Always stand on a soft 19 or higher, regardless of the dealer’s cards.
A player is offered insurance when the dealer’s up card is an ace. A player wishing to take out insurance can bet up to half of the original bet. Certainly as a long-term strategy it’s not worth it financially and particularly if your hand is already made up of tens, as you’re reducing the dealer’s odds of having blackjack yourself in this instance. Anyway, don’t insurance companies squeeze us for enough cash without casinos getting involved, eh?
A common mistake occurs when a player scores lucky with blackjack themselves, but the dealer’s upcard is an ace and the casino is still flogging insurance. In order to avoid a push (no winner, bet returned), the player ends up accepting ‘even money,’ a term originating from the fact that regardless of the dealer’s hand, a payout of 1:1 is paid on the player’s blackjack. By accepting even money, you are likely to be paying out potential winnings.
Before hitting the blackjack table, a final piece of advice; you can always surrender. If, once dealt your cards, the dealer’s hand means serious business and a personal win is remote, pull out. Surrendering gets you 50% of your bet back, more funds to play the next hand.
always surrender when:
- You have a hard 15 and the dealer holds a 10.
- You have a hard 16 and the dealer holds an ace, 10 or 9.
- For detailed strategy, refer to the blackjack strategy table.
- A few words of friendly advice…. (can’t say fairer than that)
Greedy people beware! If you assume you can increase your chances of winning, by playing two hands instead of one against the dealer, think again. There’s zero advantage. (nice try though)
Other misguided activities include increases in betting on losses, or using progressive betting systems to get an advantage – no advantage here, regardless of whether you are up or down, the odds of winning on the next hand remain the same. So you’re clearly in for a messy ride if you start upping the stakes. Progressive betting too is problematic, unless you use card counting and therefore know what cards remain in the pack to affect your decision making