12 Blackjack Tips For Beginners

12 Blackjack Tips For Beginners will help to eliminate that table game intimidation.  Most players and dealers are sympathetic to newbies at table games. Unfortunately, there are always a few that can be impatient, or even down-right rude. You’ve come to the right place to get you started.

Get Started with Learning Basic Strategy

1) Become familiar with basic strategy – practice at home with free apps or programs that will teach you certain situations.  You need to become familiar with the basic playing strategy for hitting, standing, doubling down, and pair splitting.  For novices, I recommend the Wizard’s Simple Strategy that you’ll find on the blackjack page on Wizard of Odds website. The strategy consists of 11 rules presented in a colored-coded table that makes it easy to remember. The link to the Wizard of Odds website is also in our sidebar.

An example of a higher strategy card.

2) Go to the casino with someone who knows what to do at the blackjack table, and visit at a less crowded time.
3) Stick to your basic strategy, no matter what “experts” at the table say. This is one of the most important 12 Blackjack Tips For Beginners. Get comfortable with your strategy play, not what others say – and they will let their thoughts be known.  Be strong.  The playing decisions of other players on your table have no effect in the long run on your odds of winning – or vice versa. Remember, Blackjack is not a team sport. Always use the basic playing strategy regardless of how other players play their hand, how much you bet, and whether you lost or won your previous sessions.

BE WARY OF THE blackjack rules and tables

4) Don’t play any game that pays 6-5 (or worse, even money) for a blackjack. Play only on tables where blackjack is paid at 3-2.
5) Play on tables where the dealer manually shuffles the cards.  It is interesting to watch for beginners and gives you a chance to catch your breath, and even thinteract with the dealer a little.
6) Scout the tables to find the most liberal playing rules. A 3:2 payoff for a blackjack is a good rules to look for. By the way, dealer standing on all 17s (including soft 17), doubling down on any two cards, and after splitting pairs aregreat also. In addition, surrender is good if you are aware of that strategy. Most casinos don’t offer surrender outside of Atlantic City (or what’s left in AC)

Side Bets anyone?

7) Don’t make the Insurance wager no matter how much money you wagered on your hand. As a result, Insurance is a sucker bet.

8) Check the dealer’s up card – Before you take any action, check the dealer’s up card. Is it bad (2 through 6) or good (7 through Ace)? “What the dealer has makes all the difference on what action the player should take, according to basic strategy.

The Dealer's upcard is the card you see on top of the card you don't see. to the right is first base, to the left is third base.

The Dealer’s up-card is the card you see on top of the card you don’t see. To the right is first base, to the left is third base.

9) Don’t sit in the first base seat. Sit in the middle if you can to give you more time to review your hand and the dealer’s up card. Stay away from the third base, or last seat.  Some players think your play changes the outcome of the game.  Mathematically, it doesn’t in the long run. The decisions of other players at the table won’t impact your hand. “You’re playing alone against the dealer,” says Frank Scoblete, author of many gambling resources. “They don’t know what you have and vice versa.”

10) Always give your Players Rewards Card to the dealer before you play.  This gets you on your way to being rated and getting comps.
11) Have fun and bring only the bankroll you can enjoy spending. 
12) If the table isn’t fun – grumpy dealer, drunks, unhappy “know-it-alls” – then move!
That’s all for now.  I hope you have many successful splits, double downs and dealer busts!

Your Blackjack Do’s and Dont’s – No Myths Here!


table game


So, you like to play Blackjack, eh?  Here are some tips to follow. Some things have to do with your presence at the table, others, proper strategy. One thing is for sure – there are a lot of people out there who think they know everything, but guess what – THEY DON’T!  So, here is a mish-mash of do’s and dont’s from the pros.


DO – Always stand if you have a 16, and the casino dealer holds anything above a 6. 

DON’T ever split 5’s or 10’s.  (ONE GENIUS WROTE IN HER BLOG “Except for tens and face cards, always split your pairs.”  See, you can’t believe everything you read)

DO – Always hit a soft 17 (i.e. ace-6), split aces and 8s, double down on 11, and stand on a hard 17 (or greater).

img_0146DON’T – take insurance. Why is it offered?  Because the casino knows the odds are very much in their favor. (Please note,  Bill Kaplan, co-founder of the MIT blackjack team, does list one exception – if  you’re keeping track of the ratio of aces and 10-cards remaining in the stack of cards still to be played (i.e. the shoe), and the odds are in your favor.)

DO – take breaks like getting a drink of water, eating a snack, or simply stretching  your legs. 

DON’T – play cards when you’re drinking, alcohol, that is.  If you do, moderate.  It’s free, it’s not like the $25 buffet that you have to eat enough to get your money’s worth.

DO – Win or lose, be gracious.

DON’T – Be arrogant or cocky, it is unacceptable.  Don’t be a jerk.  Unless you are specifically asked, do not offer unsolicited advice. It slows the game down. It frustrates the player who is trying to make his own decision. It’s obnoxious. And you never want to be the person who everyone else is talking about after they leave the table.

DO – accept that you have a greater probability to lose.  Either you’re good, or really good – and then you will be asked not to return anyway.  Do your best, but expect not to win all the time.

DON’T – accept the nonsense of a “hot” or “cold” table or a “hot” or “cold” dealer.  And with that,

Blackjack playersDO – take any seat.  All seats at the table are the same. Surprisingly, cards have no preference for particular seats. Only superstitious people do.

DON’T – believe third base is the seat that plays for the table.  Play your hand for your strategy, not the whims of the misinformed.

DO – pay attention to the dealer.  If the dealer pauses after you make a decision, it could be his way of telling you to reconsider your decision. Almost every dealer knows basic strategy like the back of their hand…ALMOST… it’s still your responsibility to know the strategy.  So, DO take it upon yourself to be prepared to play the game.

DON’T – Tip the dealer, unless he has been friendly and entertaining enough to reward him/her for a pleasant experience.  But, unless dealers are doing something dishonest, they can’t do anything that will affect your play.

DO – memorize the strategy cards for the best decisions in playing.  Once you’ve learned basic strategy, your disadvantage at the game will be .5%, which makes Blackjack the best game to play in the casinos.

Blackjack Strategy Card

Blackjack Strategy Card

DON’T – AND THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ONE, SO LISTEN UP – DON’T blame another player’s “bad decision” for ruining your hand.  First of all, results — good and bad — wash out over time regardless of what decisions are made. Secondly, the actions of other players don’t affect the chances for you to have a winning hand. Those chances are the same regardless of how another person plays their cards. So the next time the player next to you draws a card that you believe should have been yours, take a deep breath, relax and calm down. You might draw a card that works for you. Or you might not. But that player hasn’t affected your chance to win.

Well, that should get you on the right path to more winning, being well liked and respected at the table, and enjoying your casino visit.

That’s all for now.  Go get that Blackjack!