Five Blackjack Tips
Maybe you've always wanted to try blackjack, but are afraid you'll look like an amateur at the table. Here are a few pointers to let you play like a pro, even if you're just there to have fun!
The beauty of blackjack is that its premise is fairly simple: your goal is to have a hand value closer to 21 than that of the dealer, but without going over 21. Any hand over 21 is a loser and you're "busted." You'll be competing only against the dealer, not against any of the other players at the table. Because the dealer makes no decisions, there's no problem with anyone seeing your cards. In a shoe game, in fact, the cards are dealt face up.
You'll be dealt two cards and then you'll decide if you want a third. The sum of a hand is tallied as follows: numerical cards two through nine are face value, the ace can be either one or 11 (whichever value makes the best hand), and the king, queen or jack are all valued at 10. When an ace is used as a one, it's called a "hard" total, and when it's used as an 11, it's a "soft" total. The suit of the card is irrelevant. A blackjack is when you have a total of 21 in your first two cards only.
Playing Casino Blackjack
Also called 21, blackjack is a staple at casinos because its rules are fairly easy, and it has a lot of light-hearted energy. If you're a beginner, play at a table dealing a shoe game, meaning that the cards are dealt from a dealing shoe and are placed face-up using 6 or 8 decks of cards. There will be a dealer and space for up to eight players, each with a designated area for placing cards and bets. This way, it's easy to get help from other players. You can always switch to handheld games as you gain skill. Exchange cash for chips during a break in the action; for example in $5 Blackjack you might buy in for $40. Rules vary from casino to casino, and specific table rules are clearly posted for each table. The game has a number of variations, including six deck shoe blackjack, double deck pitch blackjack and single deck pitch blackjack. Following are a few tips for a better game:
1. Check the Table Rules
Before you even sit down at the table, read the rules of that specific table. Be sure you're at a standard blackjack game, read the limits for maximum and minimum bets on each hand, know which cards you can split and how often, know which you can double down on and know if you have options like surrendering.
2. Know Blackjack Courtesy
Know and follow the basic rules of blackjack courtesy, and remember to be courteous to your dealer. Always hold your cards with one hand and don't take them from the table. Taking cards out of view or holding with both hands can lead to cheating, and if the dealer notices you doing this, it can hold up the game. To keep everything out in the open, stack your chips in order of value when you're betting, putting the cheapest chips on top. If you don't, the dealer may have to stop and rearrange your chips. You can chat while at the table, but just use hand signals for your plays, not words. There's a whole "hand language" of gestures to signal your actions while playing a hand. Learn these and you'll definitely look like a pro!
3. Learn the Basic Strategies
Even if you're just a beginner, you can learn some basics that will increase your chances of winning:
- Stand on a hand with a hard total between 17 and 20 or a soft total of 19 or 20.
- Hit if your hand has a hard total between five and eight.
- Always split a pair of aces, eights and nines.
- Usually, double down on a hand with a hard total of 10 or 11.
4. Consult the Charts to Fine-Tune Your Strategies
If you really want to improve your chances of winning at blackjack, consult the charts. It's easy to find charts that tell you in great detail when to hit, stay, split or double, and you'll discover that a consistent strategy is the best way to succeed at the game.
5. Ramp up Your Skills in Tournaments
Once you're confident with your blackjack skills, a great way to improve your game is to get in on the tournament action. Isle of Capri® Lake Charles plays host to a super schedule of blackjack tournaments where you can put your new skills into action.
Get in on the gaming fun at Isle of Capri Lake Charles’ 45 high action tables. Blackjack fans can take their choice of $5 blackjack, six deck shoe blackjack, double deck pitch blackjack, and single deck pitch blackjack. Plus, you can play $5 Blackjack all day, every day at Isle of Capri®.