5 Side Rules That Will Help You Win at Blackjack


What Is Blackjack?

Blackjack is a staple of any casino, be that online or the real deal. When it comes to card games, it is right up there with poker. On the surface, it’s a simple enough game. In a casino, the dealer acts as a ‘permanent bank’, and you have to get 21, or close to it. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that, and you can find loads more information here

How Can I Win at Blackjack?

Blackjack, or 21 or as it is also known, is an extremely tactical game, with each move having a drastic impact on every play. Those who are mathematically minded can devise a strategy on the numerous outcomes from the cards drawn, and whether it is better to hit or stick. Naturally, there are some not-so straight-forward rules that can elevate your game from novice to shark. Here are five blackjack side rules that will elevate your game

1. Surrender

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “How can giving up get me to win?”. As the famous Chinese strategist, Sun-Tzu once said, “Move only if there is a real advantage to be gained.” If your hand is terrible and the dealer looks too strong, you can simply stop playing and get half your wager back. Blackjack is about the long game, and sometimes it is better to have something to wager down the road. This can vary in each casino, and if the dealer has 21, you may not be able to. 

2. Double Down

This may be a phrase you’ve heard umpteen times before without really knowing what it is. When you receive your first two cards, if the rules permit, you can double your original wager. Upon doing this, a card is placed on your original deal, and you can no longer act on this hand. If you win, it’s exactly what it says on the tin, you win double. Also, this is a variable in each casino, so it’s important to know where you stand first. Most will allow doubling on any cards, some may require a hard total of 9, 10, or 11. Also, in a lot of casinos, they will allow you to double on a split, which we will get on to next.

3. Splitting

Splitting can become your best friend in blackjack if done correctly. On the deal, if you have cards of the same value, you are given the option to split them. You just need to place a second bet, and the dealer immediately plays you a second card for each. Essentially, you are playing with two hands and can hit or stick with either. Some casinos will let you split again if you draw another pair. However, if you split an ace, you must stick. 

When to Split

This can be a convenient rule for winning big, but when to split is vital. Always split aces, if you don’t you basically start with twelve, whereas beginning with two aces gives more chances of winning. Another key would be splitting 8s. Starting at 16 is a weak hand, but if you start at 8, it’s impossible to bust, giving you all the more chance of winning. Splitting 10s and 4s is to be avoided. The former being a really good hand, and the latter would just split into two weaker hands. Also, avoid splitting 5s, which can be seen as a ten, so doubling down would be a good option. 

4. Insurance

This feels like a rule that can often get lost in all the commotion of blackjack, but how can it help you win? The side bet starts when the dealer is dealt an ace. With this, you can wager that the dealer will get blackjack. Usually, the amount is half your original bet, and it pays out 2 to 1. Over a long period, it wouldn’t be advised to continuously use this side bet. However, it can be a convenient way to pick up a win in a trying situation.

5. 21+3

21+3 can pick up a lot of extra cash if the cards fall your way. Some casinos will allow you to bet on the outcome of your first two cards and the dealers face-up card. It’s a poker-style, where a winning combination will be either a Flush, Straight, Three-of-a-Kind or a Straight Flush. The payout increases accordingly. 

These are just some of the side rules and bets that players can avail of in most casinos. Players should be aware of the different side bets that casinos have on offer, at the end of the day, it’s about maximizing your wins.

Nakoa Davis