This guide will teach you the optimal Blackjack strategy for when you're using a bonus online. If you've never played blackjack before then please read the Blackjack part of this article here.
The below strategy is based upon the assumption that the dealer will stand on 17 and hit on 16 (which almost every variant online does). Despite looking daunting at first it's very simple. Simply find your hand on the left, and then go across until you meet the dealers hand and that's what action you should take.
To use the strategy, you have to first identify what table you should be using. Each hand you play will fall into 1 of these 3.
Table 1 (Left Hand Side): Your hand is Hard
This means that you have any two cards without an Ace.
Table 2 (Top Right): Your hand is Soft
This means you have any two cards, one of which is an Ace. The term soft means you cannot bust if you hit. If you have Ace 9 for example, you can still hit. It is impossible to bust with just two cards and one being an Ace. If you have Ace 5 (16 or 6) and you hit and get 10, you now have A 10 5 = 16, which will be hard 16 as it is now possible to bust on your next action.
Table 3 (Bottom Right): Your hand can be Split
This means you have two of the same cards, so 2-2, 3-3, 4-4 etc, and can therefore split your hand (double your initial stake, and play 2 separate hands, one with each of the cards).
Insurance: If the dealer is dealt an ace, you may be offered insurance. This is where you bet half your stake more (so 50p extra on a £1 hand), and then, if the dealer has blackjack, you win back 2x the insurance amount. Taking insurance is a losing strategy, and it should never be taken. The chance of the dealer making blackjack when they have an ace is 1/2.25 or 44% of the time. This means that 44% of the time we make money from insurance, and 56% of the time we lose money from it, and so overall, we lose money because more often than not, the dealer won't get blackjack when they show an ace.
Below is an example of a type of hand in each table.
Your cards: 4-5
Dealers card: 6
Your hand is a hard 9 so you will be using the table on the left hand side. Go across from 9 and stop where it meets 6. This lands on , meaning you should double if allowed, otherwise hit.
Your cards: Ace-6
Dealers card: 5
Your hand is a soft 17 because Ace is 11, add 6 = 17. But it's soft, because if you bust then the Ace will automatically become a 1 instead of 11 meaning you can't actually bust. You will be using the table in the top right for this, as it's soft. Go across from 17 and stop where it meets 5. This lands on , meaning you should double if allowed, otherwise hit. Lets say you just hit because the software doesn't allow you to double, and you get drawn a 6. You have 17 so are now on 23 so bust, right? Well because the ace can be a 1 or 11, you automatically opt for it to be 1. So your hand is now 1 + 6 + 6 = 13. Your ace is already worth 1 so your hand is now a hard hand, as you can now bust on the next draw (any 9, 10, J, Q, K or A). So for your next move you will use table 1. Go across from 13 as you now have hard 13, and stop where it meets the dealer's 5. It now says which means you should stand. So you've used both tables in this example and are finally standing on hard 13 against the dealer's 6.
Your cards: 4-4
Dealers card: 10
Your hand is a split hand because both cards are the same. The only exception to this is 5-5 which should be treated as hard 10. Go across from 4-4 to where it meets 10 and it will say meaning you should hit. If it were to say then you'd split the pair into 2 separate hands and be dealt 1 more card to pair with each 4. You would then play each hand separately, however you have to double your overall stake (so if you bet £5 originally, it's now £5 each hand so £10 total).
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