Beginner Tips to Help Win at Blackjack

Beginner Tips to Help Win at Blackjack
By Jon Young

Improve your game and beat the house with our top blackjack tips for beginners. Whether you’re playing at an online casino or in Atlantic City, you can enhance your chances with some basic blackjack strategy.

From choosing the right bets to making the smart moves, these blackjack tips and tricks can help make sure you don’t go bust. We’ll show you when to double down, when to split, and tell you why the Insurance bet is a loser ever time.

Test your skills out with freeplay games online, then bring out the bankroll and gamble for real cash.

Tip 1: Start With Small Stakes

Starting off with low stakes is the way to go in blackjack. While blackjack is easy to learn, it’s also easy to hit bad runs. Plus, you’ll need to learn some blackjack strategy to understand the best moves depending on the cards showing.

The best online casinos in New Jersey let you play blackjack from just $1 a hand. Start small and get a feel for the rules while you build up your skills.

You can even try out blackjack games for free with the Demo Play mode. Try out a few moves from the blackjack strategy card or test a betting system before risking your bankroll.

Tip 2: Check the Rules Before You Play

One of the most important tips for playing blackjack is to learn the rules. You can find detailed rules on how to play on the TopNJCasinos blackjack page.

While some blackjack variants have slightly different rules, the aim is the same throughout: beat the dealer’s hand without going bust. There are several stages to a hand of blackjack:

The Deal: Each player is dealt two cards face up. The dealer receives one face down, and one face up.

Hit or Stand: You now have the option to hit, and receive another card or cards, or stand and do nothing else. Once all players have made their moves, the dealer also hits until they are bust or are required to stand.

In blackjack, you win 1/1 for beating the dealer. You’ll win 3/2 by getting a natural blackjack. That’s a hand worth 21 made up of an ace and a face card worth 10.

Tip 3: Use Basic Strategy

One of the best tips for playing blackjack is to use a cheat sheet or strategy card. A cheat sheet shows you the optimum moves based on your cards and the dealer’s upcard.

You can find cheat sheets online for most types of blackjack. Your move can depend on a variety of factors, such as the number of decks in play and whether the dealer peeks for blackjack first.

These are the main blackjack tips for beginners:

  • Look at the dealer’s upcard before playing. A good card is 7-Ace, while a bad card is 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6. Any card that can make the dealer go bust is good for the player.
  • Double down on 11, regardless of the dealer’s up card
  • Always split eights and aces. You should also split nines, depending on the dealer’s card
  • When the dealer shows 2-6, just stand on all hands worth 12 thru 16
  • Never take the insurance bet. It increases the house edge

One of our top blackjack tips would be to pick games that have a low house edge. For example, NetEnt’s Classic Blackjack has a house edge of 0.41%. Gamesys’s Single Deck Blackjack is licensed in New Jersey and boasts a house edge of just 0.13%.

You can also lower the house edge by implementing the right moves. Avoid the Insurance bet, and don’t chase cards when you should stand.

Tip 4: Manage Your Bankroll

Some of the top tips for playing blackjack involve choosing the right staking plan. Bankroll management is essential in all casino games, and blackjack even more so.

Before you start playing for real money, choose a bankroll that you’re comfortable with. That is, a bankroll you’re comfortable with losing. Every blackjack player will go through downturns, so it’s important you can handle the bad periods.

Let’s say you start with a bankroll of $1,000. You need to decide on a stake per hand that is a percentage of your overall budget.

A safe option is split your bankroll into small units. Having 1,000 units worth $1 each is a super-safe plan with low risk. A high-risk strategy is to break your roll into 200 units worth $5 apiece. However, even with a low-edge blackjack variant, this is a high-risk strategy which could see your bankroll decimated.

Some blackjack strategies recommend you sit down at a table with 50 times the minimum stake. For example, you would need $500 at a $10 table, and $5,000 at a $100 table. However, this is a high-risk plan for anyone other than card counters who are tracking the hot and cold tables.

RELATED: A Beginner’s Guide to Card Counting

Tip 5: Don’t Fall for Betting Systems

There are plenty of blackjack betting systems, but you should always approach with caution.

Most blackjack systems are negative progression plans. That is, when you lose you double your bet. After a winning hand, your bet is reset to its original level.

Staking plans like the Martingale and d’Alembert claim to make you a winner over the long term. The major downside of a betting strategy is that you will eventually run out of money before the plan can bear fruit.

Blackjack already has a low house edge, and it can be reduced by employing optimal blackjack strategy. Making good plays and using your bankroll well are the best ways to improve your chances.

Tip 6: Ignore Other Players

Sometimes, blackjack tips don’t even involve your own play. Unlike in an online blackjack game when it’s typically you against a Random Number Genrator/dealer, in a brick-and-mortar casino setting, you will often be at the blackjack table alongside multiple players and a blackjack dealer. Everyone is drawing cards, and everyone is making their own decisions.

But a player can also make a bad move that affects the hand for everyone. For example, let’s say a player hits on 15, receives a 10 and busts. The dealer then hits on 15 and draws a 5 for 20 and the win.

If the player hadn’t hit on 15, the dealer would have got the 10 and all the players would have won. But equally, that player could have hit a 5, denying the dealer the card he needed to win the hand.

In blackjack, you need to ignore what everyone else is doing. You can try to count the number of face cards in the shoe by studying the other players’ cards, but this is only possible by expert card counters.

At some blackjack tables, other players can place bets on your hands. This puts a bit of pressure on you as you are now responsible for someone else’s stake as well as your own.

Don’t let it put you off. Just play your normal game and accept that blackjack is a game of chance.

Tip 7: Avoid the Insurance Bet

The Insurance bet in blackjack is a side bet that pays out if the dealer has 21. The dealer will need to show an ace for you to be able to make the wager. You place an additional bet worth half your original bet on the ‘Insurance’ box. If the dealer reveals a picture card or 10, you win 2/1.

Here’s one of our top blackjack tips: NEVER take the Insurance bet. The odds are always stacked against the player. You will lose over half of your Insurance bets, but the bet only pays out 2/1. The odds don’t stack up, and in the long term it’s a losing bet for the player.

Some expert card counters will sometimes take Insurance as they can keep track of how many 10/face cards are left in the shoe. If they are certain that the dealer is likely to make his blackjack, they may want to take the Insurance.

Tip 8: Know When to Hit or Stand, Split, or Double Down

Perhaps the most valuable of all blackjack tips is knowing when to hit or stand. Most blackjack variants also let you split pairs and double down for an additional wager.

First, print out a cheat sheet. This will show you the optimal move to make depending on your two cards and the dealer’s upcard. Playing optimal moves can also help to reduce the house edge of the game.

Here are some quick blackjack tips to win based on the cards showing. We’ll take a classic blackjack game played with 6-8 decks where the dealer has to stand on 17.


When you hit, you receive another card to add to your hand. You should always hit when:

  • You have 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 and the dealer shows any card
  • You have soft 13, 14, 15, 16, or 17. That’s a hand containing an ace that counts as 1 or 11. The dealer can show any card.
  • You have hard 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and the dealer shows 7 thru Ace. The dealer will have a chance of hitting a 10 and making a total higher than yours. Take the risk and hit.


When you stand, you receive no further cards and your hand is over. You should stand when:

  • Your hand is worth hard 17 or more (a hand that doesn’t include an ace)
  • You have a soft 19 or better
  • Your hand is 12, 13, 14, 15 or 16 and the dealer shows 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6.
  • You have 9-9 and the dealer shows 7, 10 or A

Double Down

The double down is a move you can make when you have 9, 10 or 11. Some variants let you double down on any two cards.

In the double down, you make an additional bet and receive one extra card only. Your hand is then finished and you can’t hit again. It’s a good move if you want to capitalize on your strong total.

But you shouldn’t double down every time. One of the tips for playing blackjack is to double down when you have hard 9, 10, or 11, depending on the dealer’s up card:

  • Double down on 9 unless the dealer has 2, 7, 8, 9, 10 or A
  • Double down on 10 unless the dealer has 10 or A
  • Double down on 11 unless the dealer has A

Against all other dealer cards, simply hit.

RELATED: Learn More About When To Double Down


Most blackjack variants let you split pairs and continue betting on two hands. Some blackjack games let you re-split as well.

You should always split when you hold:

  • 8-8, 9-9, A-A, whatever the dealer’s up card
  • 7-7, if the dealer shows 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7
  • 6-6, if the dealer shows 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6
  • 2-2 and 3-3, if the dealer shows 4, 5, 6, or 7

Tip 9: Play Sober

It’s tempting to have a beer while playing blackjack in your local casino. But alcohol can affect your composure and reduce your inhibitions.

When gambling, the most important of blackjack tip is to stay relatively sober. Keep your mind on the game and be disciplined when cashing in your wins or cutting your losses.

Tip 10: Play Online for Bonuses

You’ve read our blackjack tips to win, now it’s time to earn some extra cash through casino bonuses. Most online casinos in NJ let you claim free cash just by playing your favorite blackjack games.

You can opt into a welcome bonus when you first open your gambling account. Make a deposit and the casino will match it 100% with bonus funds. They will then release your bonus money when you have met the wagering requirements.

Typically, blackjack will contribute around 10-25% toward your bonus total. Choose the right games, employ sensible bankroll management, and unlock free casino cash in days.

Unearth the best online blackjack casinos in New Jersey with our top guide. And use these simple beginners’ tips to beat the house every time.



Jon Young is a writer and magazine editor with over 12 years' experience in the gaming sector. He has written on everything from poker and slots to casino, sports betting and mobile gambling. When not trying to take down the Mega Moolah jackpot he can be found playing poker tournaments in casinos.

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