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How to Move Past the Beginner Levels of Blackjack

By: Rick Balding, Thursday November 13th 2014
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Blackjack is a game where your results and your chances of winning are drastically affected by your ability to play well. Most people start out by learning basic principles, and the vast majority of players never really move past that. Because of this, they never really get past the beginner levels, and their results suffer in a major way. If you want to get past these novice levels, then we have some tips for you that will help you to push past this plateau and up into the dizzy heights of 99+ percent payout rates.

To start things off, you have to realize that each option you have at any given point in a hand will have an average win or loss associated with it. You can imagine that surrendering or doubling with a hard 20 against a dealer who is showing a six would have a very low payout compared to standing, but the differences aren't always that large. For example, knowing whether you should double or hit when you have a soft 14 against a dealer four will come down to very small margins. The key to getting better is to eliminate all of the mistakes you make that have large margins and to work yourself towards eliminating the mistakes that have smaller margins.

There are a few main places to do this. A common spot to focus on is knowing exactly when to hit and when to stand when you're facing weak dealer cards if you have a hard total that's 12 or higher. There are fine lines that you have to think about when it comes to these situations, and you can come up with your own general rules to try to remember when to make each type of play.

Another important place to study that has small margins is when you have a soft total against a weak dealer card because sometimes you're going to want to hit and other times it's more profitable to double. You can come up with rules based on the dealer's card and your own total to figure out when you should be hitting and doubling, and it's important that you do because these scenarios come up fairly often. While any one mistake isn't going to break you, making the same mistakes over and over again will really pull down your win-rate.

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