Blackjack is a very popular card game all around the world and it is getting more and more popular in Portugal. This game requires both skill and luck and with a good strategy, you can certainly improve your odds. Anyone can learn the basic rules of blackjack—getting your card value closer to 21 than the dealer’s—but understanding the mechanics of the game is the way to win consistently.
In this article, we are discussing the game’s basic rules and strategies with Portuguese iGaming expert Victoria Oliveira. Victoria knows the gambling industry inside and out and you can find out more about her if you click here.
What are the odds game rules
In blackjack, you are playing only against the dealer (not any of the other players) and your odds are pretty good compared to other casino games. If you know and apply the basic strategy, you can reduce the house edge to 0.5% but unskilled players who make bad decisions will have a house edge of 1.5 or even 2%.
Due to simple math wherever you play, your chances of drawing a certain card are the same, however, casino rules and payouts can make things worse for you. You can make an educated choice when you look for a casino on sites such as melhor casino online that lists casinos that accept players from Portugal. When you select a blackjack game, there are two things to consider.
- You should look for a table where “Blackjack pays 3 to 2” instead of one where “Blackjack pays 6 to 5”. Basically, this means that if you bet €2 you win €3 instead of wagering €5 for a chance to win €6—hence getting a 150% profit instead of 120%. Simple!
- You should read the rules of the table as different rules can increase or decrease the house edge. Generally speaking, look for a table that uses fewer decks for the game. If the dealer must stand on soft 17 it gives you the advantage. If you are only allowed to double down on 9/10/11 it gives the house advantage.
Blackjack rules and strategy
The objective of blackjack is to get a total card value closer to 21 than the dealer’s card value without going over it. Players get 2 cards face up, the dealer gets two cards, one face up one face down. Players can decide to hit or stand (plus there may be options for splitting, doubling down, or placing side bets), the dealer will hit or stand and the outcome of the game is determined. Key terms you should be familiar with are:
- Hitting: this means taking another card. In a land-based casino, such as the famous Casino Estoril, you can also tap your finger or hand to signal that you want to hit.
- Standing: this means that you don’t want any more cards. You can say “no” or wave your hand to the dealer.
- Soft 17: when you (or the dealer) holds an Ace and a 6 it is called soft 17. In this case, you can draw another card as Ace can count both as 1 and as 11 so there is no risk of busting.
- Insurance: when the dealer’s upcard is an Ace, players can pay half of their bet as insurance against a blackjack—in case the dealer’s second card is a ten-value card. Novice players may think that this is a good deal but in fact, the blackjack insurance strategy is a sucker bet in the long run as statistically, the dealer will get a blackjack less than ⅓ of the time.
- Splitting: When you are dealt two of the same cards you’re allowed to split them into two hands for double the chance to win. Never split into two tens or two fives but always split two Aces!
- Doubling down: this means hitting one card and doubling your initial bet. Doubling is common on 9, 10, or 11 as your chances of getting another high card are high.
You can easily find blackjack strategy tables all over the internet. These charts will tell you what to do in all the scenarios. Remember, you will not win every game and the key is to play consistently, also applying bankroll management.
The key to successful long-term blackjack is in applying perfect strategy. Get familiar with the table you are about to play at, use a blackjack strategy chart and enjoy the game!