Playing blackjack for money for the first time

If you have never played blackjack before, it is important to get some tips before visiting the casino. To play really profitable blackjack for money requires more experience. Although the basic strategy will give you optimal chances of winning, the card counting strategy is the only thing you can apply to get an advantage over the casino.

On this page we give you a few tips that can help you for now to have a better chance of winning money at the blackjack tables. From now on, play blackjack without losing your shirt and take advantage of the useful tips described. You could also use it as a beginner’s guide if you need help before you plan to play blackjack with real money for the first time.

To be clear, these are not blackjack tips that will help you beat the casino. You can’t learn that by just quickly reading an article like this. You also don’t have time to learn all the rules or strategies this way. Moreover, we don’t explain card counting which really brings the house edge below 0% in favorable situations.

As a beginner, keep it simple

You do have time to learn the basics or how to keep the house edge low. If you are an experienced blackjack player, then this advice will sound simple. One of the problems of experienced players is that they forget what beginners don’t know. Still, we try to give you an explanation that can help you improve your odds from the beginning.

Keeping things as simple as possible will help beginners get started faster and avoid absorbing too much information right away. Read the simple tips below and enjoy your first experience playing for real money at the blackjack tables.

Blackjack table
As a beginner, keep it as simple as possible and don’t take in too much information right away

1. Find a good blackjack table

It’s easy to get stuck trying to figure out what all the different rules are for different variations and how they affect the house edge. When you’re trying to figure out the best way to get started, you need to keep things simple, as mentioned above.

Here you have two rules you can focus on:

  • Play on tables that pay out 3 to 2 for a blackjack
  • Play on tables where the dealer must pass on a soft 17

If you can’t find a blackjack table with the soft 17 rule, you can ignore it. Obviously, you want the house edge to be as low as possible and therefore you should find games with other good rules such as surrender, doubling after splitting, doubling with as many totals as possible and splitting cards multiple times. However, this can all quickly become too complicated if you don’t have much experience yet.

The house edge

If you have almost no time to learn the game, you can drop this rule as long as you make sure the payout for a natural blackjack is 3 to 2. The house edge goes up tremendously when you play on a table with a payout of 6 to 5. Frankly, these tables are not worth the effort.

With the difference in house edge, it doesn’t matter very much if the dealer takes a card or passes on a soft 17. Many casinos with several blackjack tables at least have tables that pay 3 to 2 and a dealer that passes on a soft 17.

Once you have enough experience on the blackjack tables, we recommend that you learn about other game rules. This will help you get good results in the long run. The best way to start is to find a table that pays out 3 to 2.

2. Never take out insurance

The second step is to never take an insurance bet if the dealer offers it. Some dealers will offer you an insurance bet and call it “even money” and want you to believe that you can break even with this bet. The problem is that the only time you will break even is when the dealer actually has a blackjack. When the dealer does not have a blackjack, you still have to continue playing with the original bet and you lose the insurance.

The truth is that insurance is not really part of a traditional blackjack game. It’s just a nice way for the casino to add an extra profitable bet to the game. When the casino offers blackjack insurance, you are betting that the dealer’s close card has a value of ten.

Insurance pays out 2 to 1, but the deck has nine cards not worth ten and four cards worth ten. This is a ratio of 9 to 4, which is worse than a 2 to 1 payout. Therefore, insurance is a bad bet.

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3. Don’t place side bets

Insurance is the most common side bet, but many casinos have even more available. As a rule of thumb, you should avoid almost all side bets in the casino. This includes all the most common side bets in blackjack. Stick to the basics of blackjack where you get 3 to 2 payouts for a natural blackjack and avoid the extra bets, including insurance.

4. Apply a basic strategy

Blackjack is one of the few casino games where you can use a strategy to influence the house edge. Some moves are easy to figure out. Yet many are quite tricky to figure out when it comes to using the best possible strategy.

The good news is that you can use a simple strategy card at the table. Sometimes fellow players may look at you strangely when you sit down at the table with a strategy card, but casinos don’t care so much as long as, in a sense, you don’t slow down the game. Once you have learned how to use basic strategy, you will soon see what the best choices are.

The strategy card

After you’ve used the strategy map for a while, you’ll start to remember the most common choices better. This will help you make faster choices in the future. As a beginning player, it is recommended that you apply the strategy to each choice. This leads to another good tip. Never listen to what other players tell you what to do. Although players want to help you, many do not know what the best choice is. The strategy table always indicates the right choices in any situation.

Sometimes a blackjack dealer will give you advice. If this advice is about the rules and how you should play, then you should listen to them. However, if a dealer is telling you how to play a hand and it doesn’t match the strategy, then it’s best to ignore the advice. The internet is full of different strategy tables for all blackjack variants.

Blackjack strategy table
The strategy table will help you remember the most common choices and make the right ones.

5. Playing with the minimum bet

The game of blackjack has a house edge for the casino unless you learn advantageous techniques like card counting. The longer you play and the more money you risk, the more money you will lose. On blackjack tables with reasonable game rules, the house edge is less than 1%. Some blackjack games have a house edge of less than 0.5%, but still you are fighting against an advantage of the casino over the player.

This is why we recommend you to play with the minimum bet and stick to it. Many blackjack players raise the stakes after losing money in order to recover the loss as quickly as possible. While this can sometimes work in the short term, in the long term it is very damaging to your bank account. It means that you actually lose more money.

How the house edge works

Here’s how the house edge of blackjack works. If a game has a house edge of 1%, it means that in the long run you lose 1% of the bets you place. So if you bet €100, you lose €1 on average. If you play sixty hands with a €10 bet, you risk €600. You can expect to lose €6 per hour on average.

The way to play blackjack for as long as possible is to lower your bet to the minimum of the blackjack table. You can check with casinos in advance what the minimum bet limit is and based on your balance, make a choice for good money management. What you can also do is to take regular breaks in between or set a profit and loss limit and always stick to it.

Summary

The five steps in this article are very easy to follow when you first start playing blackjack for money. It’s recommended to try free blackjack at the online casino first to get a better grasp of the strategy. By following these steps you can keep the house edge low and make your balance last longer.

Also, the tips give you a chance to finish the blackjack sessions with a nice profit in your pocket every now and then. The odds are still against you and you will lose in the long run unless you learn to count cards. However, the simple system on this page gives you the chance to win some sessions.