Blackjack is the best online casino game for players who want to leave as little as possible to random chance. While there is certainly an element of luck involved that rides on what cards you are dealt, blackjack is more skill-based than any other casino game.
At the roulette wheel or the craps table, you place your bet, and then you hope that the dice or ball lands on a favorable number. In contrast, a single hand of blackjack might require you to make a half-dozen decisions or more, any of which could mean the difference between winning and losing. This puts more control in your hands and less in the hands of fate, making it a more profitable endeavor for the skillful player. After all, luck always runs out, but talent is forever.
Another benefit of playing online blackjack is that it offers the closest thing you will find to even odds in any casino game. While odds always favor the house in a casino, its margin of advantage in blackjack is razor thin.
The casino's edge at a typical blackjack table where the dealer is required to stand on 17 and hit on anything lower averages about 0.6 percent, compared with 3 to 5 percent on average for craps or roulette. The exact margin of advantage varies slightly depending on certain other rules put in place by the casino (i.e., when a player can double down, whether the dealer can hit on a soft 17, and so forth), but it almost always remains at less than one percent.
In blackjack, the dealer's entire advantage comes from the player being required to build his hand first. Because of this, the player busts (accumulates a card total greater than 21) on many occasions before the dealer has to do anything.
However, the dealer also has some inherent disadvantages that skillful players can use to their advantage. Namely, the dealer must conform to a rigid set of rules on when he must stand or turn over another card, while the player, in contrast, has the versatility to make such decisions as he chooses, based on what he feels will give him the best advantage to win on any given hand.
Most blackjack tables also offer additional opportunities for players to increase their winnings, such as the ability to "double down" or split pairs. Players who know how and when to employ these options increase their chances of coming out ahead.
Here is some basic strategy to follow which will maximize your chances of winning in online blackjack.
Understand the goal of the game. If you were to ask a random person the goal of blackjack, his most likely answer would be that you want to get as close as you can to 21. This is an incorrect answer. The goal of blackjack is to beat the dealer on any given hand. Whether this is done with a card total of 21, 20, or 13 is irrelevant.
In the vast majority of hands, shooting for 21 is a strategy that will backfire on you and put you at an unnecessary risk of losing the hand by busting and not even having the chance to go head-to-head with the dealer.
Instead, your objective should be to analyze what the dealer has after you are dealt your first two cards, and then stand at a card total which gives you the best chance to win.
For example, if you're dealt a 9 and a 4 for a total of 13, and the dealer is showing a 5, there is a good chance the dealer's other card is a 10 or a face card, putting his total at 15. If you stand on 13 and he has 15, he is required to hit again, even though he has you beaten at that point. When he does as he's required, any card higher than a 6 will cause him to bust and you to win the hand with a measly 13.
Had you hit on that 13 and drawn a 9 or higher, you would have busted and handed the victory to the dealer without him having to do a darn thing.
Keep your bets consistent. The biggest betting mistake that amateur players make in a casino is that they lose a hand and then double their bet on the next hand to "win back" what they lost. Then, if they lose that hand, they increase their bet yet again, and then again and again, waiting on that winning hand that will bring them back to the break-even point.
While this strategy works in theory, in reality it is a recipe for losing all your money in short order.
Players who use it underestimate the power of the multiplier effect and its ability to deplete a massive pile of chips with a losing streak of only a few hands.
By playing smart online blackjack, understanding the true objective of the game, and placing your bets prudently, you can minimize your chances of losses and maximize the probability of walking away with a profit.