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It’s not an exaggeration, everyday millions around the world play online blackjack UK players are part of that family. There is one huge inescapable reason for amount of money wagered on blackjack skill can win. Yep that’s right a skillful player can beat the casino. The game is a simple one with not that many decisions to make but if knowledge and skill is applied those decisions can be profitable. Ask the team of MIT students that devised a card counting strategy and won millions. Right up until the casinos figured it out and banned them. Land based venues consider these types of advantage play, cheating. In the case of the students it’s debatable. As they played as a team and signaled each other the casinos viewed it as blatant cheating some argue it was just clever play. The online game is set up differently so their strategy wouldn’t work. There are however ways that can be played to give yourself a better edge. We will talk about them a bit later but first let’s explain the basic game.
The Magic Number Is 21
In any blackjack casino UK players log into there will be tons of different versions but the basic idea is the same, get as close to 21 without going over and get closer than the bank. In fact some countries called the game 21. The cards are valued as such: an Ace is 1 or 11, picture cards and tens are 10, from 29 they are face value. If you get dealt a picture/ten and an Ace its blackjack.
Your Turn
First you lay your stake for the game this will vary depending on the table limits. The payouts can vary from casino to casino and is a big factor in ranking the best to play with. We will go into that later. After you stake your wager two cards are dealt to you and the dealer (unless multiplayer version). Both of your cards will be face up, one of the dealers will be face up one hidden. If one of the dealer’s cards is an Ace this will be the card face up. Now depending on the version you are playing and the cards you are dealt you now have options on what to do next. The basic choices are stand or hit that is get another card dealt or stay with what you have. If your cards are paired you may split them into two hands getting a further card dealt to each one. If you split your cards the wager is the same again on the second hand. These two hands are then played the same as normal hit or stand. You may hit as many times as you like without going over 21, or busting as it’s known. When to hit or stand is the crucial factor. Mathematically there is always a correct move not necessarily a winning move but one that will be beneficial. More on that later let’s get back to basics. The other two options will depend on the house variation first is the double down. When you double down you can double your bet but are then only allowed one more card. A lot of blackjack online has this option but some house rules restrict you to only being able to do it with a total of ten or eleven. The surrender move is the other main option you have with your two cards. This move is not on allowed on every version but is on a lot so check first. If you don’t like the cards you are dealt you can surrender the hand and lose half your stake. This doesn’t sound like a good idea to the novice but there are times when it is the best play. You may not win money like this but you lose less in the end.
Now The Dealer Plays
So you are happy with your hand and you stand now it’s the dealers turn. The dealer’s decisions are written in stone. Well the T&C’s anyway. The dealer deals their own cards until 17 or above is reached as soon as 17 or more hits the hand is over. One difference that is common is the soft 17 situation. Some variations will state dealer stands on all 17’s. If dealer soft 17 is called it means the dealer carries on hitting until a hard 17 or above is hit. A soft hand is one made with an Ace in it so a soft 17 is Ace and a 6. If the soft 17 rule is played this increases the house edge. The dealer doesn’t split or double down. If you are closer to 21 you win. If the total is the same the hand is usually a push but this is not always the case, in some games the rules are the dealer wins in a tie. This is terrible for the player and is another major factor in which version to play.
Choosing The Best Version Of Blackjack
Blackjack has so many different rules that either favour the house or the player that it can be complicated to work out which is best. There will never be a game that has all of the player favourable rules. If you are determined to get the best terms it pays to do some research. There are hundreds of books that explain strategy and how the different rules effect the house edge. In fact the subject is so indepth we can barely scratch the surface. A rule of thumb is the more decks in the shoe the greater the house edge. As a player a double down after a split is better for you. As is a double down allowed on any two cards. Rules surrounding splitting Aces also effects the house edge. You want to be able to resplit and double down. Most casinos don’t let this happen so if you find one that does it counts. The standard winning payout for a hand is 32 but this can be different also. Then there’s the payout for hitting blackjack which is usually 31. All of the different nuances of the game come together and usually balance out after all the house doesn’t want to give the edge to the player. All things taken into account though there are basic mathematical principles that will point to the best play. These all take into account the dealers face up card.
Basic Strategy
The variables in the game make for different results but there is a basic strategy for blackjack. Take for example you have been dealt a ten and a six the dealer has a ten showing. Nothing you do will lead to a profit in the long run. If the surrender option is there you give up the hand it will lose you the least. If no surrender is allowed then the next best option is to hit. This is because hitting loses less often than standing although they both lose more often than winning. Here’s a blackjack basic strategy table that takes into account just 4 variables 48 decks, the dealer stands on all 17’s, you can double down after a split and only original bets are lost on dealer blackjack. Most of this strategy plays in all standard versions of the game the changes come with the soft 17 rule and no surrender. Try playing for free using the strategy below and see for yourself. Good luck and hit the tables.
Player hand 
Dealer’s faceup card 

2 
3 
4 
5 
6 
7 
8 
9 
10 

Hard totals (excluding pairs) 

17–20 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
16 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
H 
H 
SU 
SU 
15 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
H 
H 
H 
SU 
13–14 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
H 
H 
H 
H 
12 
H 
H 
S 
S 
S 
H 
H 
H 
H 
11 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
10 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
H 
9 
H 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
H 
H 
H 
H 
5–8 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
H 
Soft totals 

2 
3 
4 
5 
6 
7 
8 
9 
10 

A,8–A,9 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
A,7 
S 
Ds 
Ds 
Ds 
Ds 
S 
S 
H 
H 
A,6 
H 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
H 
H 
H 
H 
A,4–A,5 
H 
H 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
H 
H 
H 
H 
A,2–A,3 
H 
H 
H 
Dh 
Dh 
H 
H 
H 
H 
Pairs 

2 
3 
4 
5 
6 
7 
8 
9 
10 

A,A 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
10,10 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
S 
9,9 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
S 
SP 
SP 
S 
8,8 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
7,7 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
H 
H 
H 
6,6 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
H 
H 
H 
H 
5,5 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
Dh 
H 
4,4 
H 
H 
H 
SP 
SP 
H 
H 
H 
H 
2,2–3,3 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
SP 
H 
H 
H 
Key:
 S = Stand
 H = Hit
 Dh = Double (if not allowed, then hit)
 Ds = Double (if not allowed, then stand)
 SP = Split
 SU = Surrender (if not allowed, then hit)