Blackjack Hands

A detailed description of Blackjack Hands and how cards are played in order to get the most out of each session at the Blackjack table.

Blackjack Hands

Every new deal at the Blackjack table brings with it opportunities to win. Those who are prepared for the various types of hands that can come up are in the best position to capitalize on them. In the following ten sections, we examine the types of situations that require more than simply deciding to hit or stand. These are the hands that can make or break a session, add to a bankroll or eliminate it completely.

Splitting Pairs

Splitting a pair of identical cards is one of the fastest ways to accumulate winnings at the Blackjack table. In this article, we go over the basics of how to split, why to split, and when to split, with emphasis on strategy. Offered, too, is a complete review of how the dealer’s up card affects the decision-making process.

Doubling Down

This is another way of quickly increasing or decreasing a player’s stack of chips. We begin with a look at the most favorable situations for doubling down and then cover the basics, including how to double down for less that an amount equal to the original wager. Soft hands are covered as well as doubling down on counts other than ten or eleven. Strategy is explained in detail, along with a note on how House Rules can impact the choices made.

Insurance in Blackjack

Just like life, health, or auto policies, insurance in Blackjack is predicated on “negative expectation.” If you believe something bad may happen, you invest a little money to guard against it. This article describes he basics of insuring a Blackjack hand, including “insurance for less” and the procedure for taking “even money” when holding a natural 21 facing the dealer’s Ace. We also get into strategy and how ignoring insurance offers may be the best bet of all.


Not all casinos offer the option to surrender a hand, but when playing at a table that does, it is in a player’s best interests to know exactly what can happen. This is especially true of tables that offer “late surrender.” Use this section to become familiar with the basics and strategy of abandoning a hand for 50% of what’s wagered. Take a good look, too, at the situations where surrendering a hand actually makes good sense.

First Base

Being the first to receive cards and make decisions during each round of Blackjack play is the role of the player seated at “First Base.” This position has its benefits and drawbacks, which we go over in detail so that you can decide if playing First Baseman is the right choice for you.

Third Base

This is the last spot at the table to receive cards and act, with the advantage of seeing all that has gone before and the responsibility of being the last player to make a decision before the dealer reveals the hole card. Many players like this position and believe it is worth waiting to be seated there. We show you why, as well as the characteristics that make a good Third Baseman.

Multiple Hands

Most casinos allow players the option of playing not just one hand but also an adjacent hand if the neighboring seat is open. Turn to this section to see whether there is any advantage to playing two or more hands against the dealer and how the House Edge can make a big difference.

Alone Against the Dealer

When a table is empty or an intimidating dealer has scared everyone away, a player may be able to sit down and have a private game, alone against the dealer. We offer you the pros and cons of “heads up” play, including why it very well could be the fastest way to big winnings.

Dealer Tells in Blackjack

The next best thing to being able to see the dealer’s hole card is seeing a gesture or mannerism that “tells” you what it is. The ability to read a dealer’s tells can give a player a massive advantage in play. Let us show you how it’s done and how to act on the information you receive.

Shuffle Tracking

This controversial tactic revolves around watching the dealer shuffle the cards and trying to determine where a high concentration of Aces and face cards might be positioned in the deck. For the observant, it can be an undeniable indicator of when to wager big, play a hand aggressively, or back off from betting entirely.

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