It’s always fun to play online blackjack at Ignition Casino, but it’s less fun when the Dealer’s up-card is an Ace. That means there’s a very good chance he already has blackjack – a natural 21 that can’t be beat. Then again, maybe he doesn’t. What should you do in this spot? Do you surrender your hand immediately? Do you buy insurance? As always, your blackjack strategy will depend on the game you’re playing and the cards you’ve been dealt, but this blackjack guide will help you sort out your decision by going over the most common situations you’ll run into here at Ignition.

 

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Blackjack Insurance

If you’re just learning how to play blackjack, it’s good to know that there are at least a few plays that you should always or never make. Buying insurance when the Dealer shows an Ace is one of those plays. The blackjack insurance odds just aren’t in your favor; this side bet pays out at 2/1 when the Dealer shows a 10-value card, but even if you don’t have any Tens, Jacks, Queens or Kings in your hand, that will only happen 16 times out of 49 in Single Deck Blackjack (that’s the full deck of 52 cards, minus the three visible cards), or about 32.7% of the time. You would need it to happen 33.3% of the time for you to break even with the 2/1 insurance bet.

What if you’re playing Double Deck Blackjack? Now there are 32 of those 10-value cards that will give the Dealer a natural, and 101 cards to pull them from; that works out to 31.7%. Adding more decks to the virtual shoe only makes it less likely you’ll get paid. So if you’re trying to minimize the house edge when you play online blackjack for real money, never buy insurance.

 

Multi-Deck Blackjack

Insurance aside, when you play real money blackjack at Ignition, the number of decks in the shoe will have at least a small effect on what moves you should make, and so will the specific blackjack rules for the game you’re playing. For this example, we’ll look at the “New” blackjack game with the modern layout; this is the familiar six-deck game in use at most live casinos, with the cards shuffled automatically between rounds.

The Dealer must hit on soft 17 – that’s any 17 with an 11-point Ace, which you already know they have. Surrender (this is a late surrender, after the Dealer “peeks” to see if blackjack has already been made) is available, as is doubling down.

 

Hard Hands

If you get dealt a hard hand (no 11-point Ace included), and the Dealer shows an Ace, you’ll only stand if you have 18 or more. If you have 10 or less, or 12-14, you will hit. If you have exactly 11, you will double, and if you have 15-17, surrender is the right play.

 

Soft Hands

Your decision is a little easier when you also have an 11-point Ace: Stand with 19 or more, otherwise hit.

 

Blackjack Pairs

This is one of the trickier situations you’ll run into when you’re learning how to play blackjack – except for when you get dealt a pair of Fives, or any two 10-value cards. Those should never be split in any variant of the game; always double down on the Fives, and stand with your 20.

Otherwise, the only pair you should split in this blackjack game when the Dealer shows an Ace is a pair of Aces. If you have Deuces through Sevens, hit. If you have Eights, surrender. And if you have Nines, stand with your 18 and pray.

The following chart will help you remember and execute these plays correctly:

Hard Action Soft Action Pair Action
4-8 Hit 2-2 Hit
9 Hit 3-3 Hit
10 Hit 4-4 Hit
11 Double 5-5 Double
12 Hit 6-6 Hit
13 Hit 13 Hit 7-7 Hit
14 Hit 14 Hit 8-8 Split
15 Hit 15 Hit 9-9 Stand
16 Hit 16 Hit 10-10 Stand
17 Stand 17 Hit A-A Split
18 Stand 18 Hit
19+ Stand 19+ Stand

 

Single Deck Blackjack

Finally, we have arguably the purest form of the game: Single Deck Blackjack. This time, the Dealer has to hit on soft 17 – still no surrender, though, and as an added twist, you can only split up to two hands instead of three. How does that change the optimal strategy for when the Dealer has an Ace?

Only in one very small way: If you get dealt a pair of Nines, it’s now worth it for you to split that pair instead of standing on 18. That’s because the remaining deck is “saturated” with just enough 10-value cards (and Aces) to make splitting a touch more profitable. But here’s the chart anyway to complete the set:

Hard Action Soft Action Pair Action
4-8 Hit 2-2 Hit
9 Hit 3-3 Hit
10 Hit 4-4 Hit
11 Double 5-5 Double
12 Hit 6-6 Hit
13 Hit 13 Hit 7-7 Hit
14 Hit 14 Hit 8-8 Split
15 Hit 15 Hit 9-9 Split
16 Hit 16 Hit 10-10 Stand
17 Stand 17 Hit A-A Split
18 Stand 18 Hit
19+ Stand 19+ Stand

Now that you have all the right moves at your fingertips, load up your online blackjack game of choice at Ignition Casino and start putting these strategies to work. See you at the tables, and don’t forget to keep coming back for more proven blackjack strategy and tips.

 

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