Blackjack Tips: How to Bet and Use Your Bankroll Wisely

Of all the table games you can play at Bodog Casino, blackjack is easily the most popular. It’s a very simple game that people have been playing for over 400 years. You may have learned how to play blackjack blackjack online in your early years, but chances are you weren’t shown all of the different plays you can make beyond hitting and standing. And since you weren’t playing for real money, you weren’t introduced to concepts like house edges and bankroll management.

That’s why we’ve put together this blackjack guide for you. Here are all of the blackjack tips and strategies you need to get the most out of your time at the tables.


Understand Blackjack Rules

The object of the game is to outscore the dealer without going over 21 points (following blackjack rules, Kings, Queens and Jacks are worth 10 points, Aces can be 1 or 11, and everything else is face value), and you’ll start each hand knowing your two cards, plus the dealer’s up-card. Given that information, one of the following plays will be best for your online blackjack strategy:

  • Hit: Receive one more card from the dealer, and continue your turn.
  • Stand: Stick with what you have, and end your turn.
  • Double (aka Double Down): At the start of your turn, double your bet, receive one more card, and end your turn.
  • Split: When dealt two cards of the same rank, splitting means dividing that pair into two separate hands, each with your original bet amount attached.
  • Surrender: When you surrender at the start of your turn, you forfeit half your bet and end the hand.

How to Read the Blackjack Rules Chart

You don’t necessarily have to memorize any basic blackjack strategies – you can just use a “blackjack rules chart” that shows you which play to make, based on your running score and the dealer’s up-card. You can use these while you’re playing at our live blackjack casino.

There are different charts for different blackjack games, depending on whether the dealer hits or stands on “soft” 17 (meaning they have an Ace), how many successive times you’re allowed to split, and so on. An all-encompassing chart will get you most of the way there – simply adjust your play as indicated to fit the circumstances.

For example, your chart might recommend “R/H” when you’ve been dealt a “hard” 15 (meaning no Ace), and the dealer’s up-card is a Ten. This tells you to surrender if that play is allowed in your game rules; otherwise, you should hit. All of the different options will be explained on the chart.

Blackjack Strategy You Should Follow

Using these blackjack “cheat sheets” is perfectly fine, but you’ll enjoy the game more if you memorize at least parts of your strategy. Many of the moves you’ll make will be the same no matter which game you’re playing. Here’s a list of common moves that should be easy enough to remember.

  • Stand on hard 17+
  • Stand when your hand is hard 13-16 and the Dealer has 2-6
  • Hit when you have hard 12-14 or soft 13-18, and the Dealer has 7-11
  • Always split Aces and Eights
  • Never split Tens through Kings – stand with 20 instead
  • Double on 11

Other Blackjack Strategies: Card Counting

Using the basic strategy for online blackjack will bring the house edge down to its minimum – somewhere around 1%, depending on which game you’re playing. That means your Return to Player (RTP) will be around 99%, giving you one of the highest RTPs you’ll find online.

In theory, if you’re at a live casino, you can keep track of which cards have already been dealt and adjust your strategy accordingly, thus boosting your RTP above 100%. This is known as “card counting,” and it’s the way many old-school gamblers made a living in Las Vegas.

It’s also much more difficult to do these days. Most live casinos now use automated shuffling machines (ASMs) or similar devices that mix up the cards between every hand, making it impossible to count cards. But even if you find a live casino that doesn’t use an ASM, they have the right to refuse service if they catch you counting cards, and it doesn’t take them very long to figure it out. Use card counting techniques sparingly, if at all; don’t let greed ruin a fun night at the casino.

Choose the Best Blackjack Game

While card counting is generally discouraged, and impossible when you play online, you can still lower the house edge as far as possible by choosing the right blackjack games. Here are some of the variants to keep an eye on when you’re looking for the best possible RTP.

  • Single deck games: The fewer decks there are in the shoe, the better your odds will be. This is why you should choose a single deck blackjack game.
  • Blackjack pays 3 to 2: All of the games at Bodog Casino pay 3 to 2 when you get dealt a “natural” 21, but some live casinos only pay out 6 to 5.
  • Double is available: Some live games only allow you to double when you have hard 9-11 (the “Reno” rule), or 10-11 (the “European” rule).
  • Dealer stands on soft 17: This will lower the house edge by 0.2% compared to games where the dealer hits on soft 17.
  • Surrender: Most games use “late” surrender, where the dealer will check their hole card when their up-card is worth 10 or 11, and automatically end the hand if they have Blackjack. Games with “early” surrender, or European games with no hole cards, are more forgiving for the player.
  • Double after splitting: Games that don’t allow doubles after a split increase the house edge by about 0.12%.

Use Your Bankroll Wisely

Like every other game with a house edge, blackjack should be played for entertainment purposes only, and not as a way to make money. But you can stretch your entertainment dollar by using sound bankroll management principles. Keep your blackjack bankroll separate from your other funds; never play with money you can’t afford to lose, and try the following tactics to get the most fun out of your time at the tables.

Divide Your Roll Into Units

When you play Blackjack games for real money, you need to go into the session with a financial game plan that starts with creating betting units out of your bankroll. This is the fundamental step for any game that you play at the casino, whether live or online right here at Bodog Casino, so you may already be familiar with it.

An easy strategy to protect your bankroll is to divide your roll into units of 100 or more. If your bankroll is $500, for example, you could divide it into 100 units, which would result in you making $5 bets with each hand. This is a conservative approach that prioritizes longevity over big wins.

Set a Time Goal For Your Session

If you know what the house edge is for the game you’re playing, you’ll be able to calculate how long you can expect to play using a certain bankroll, on average. You can’t control how the cards come out, but you can set a goal for how long you’d like to play. A time period of approximately 90-120 minutes will help you stay focused and minimize the number of mistakes you make at the table, and maximize how much money you can win.

Have an Average Bet

Chasing down losses by increasing your bet size is one of the worst things you can do at the casino. The antidote is to have an average bet that you use for each hand. Sticking with smaller fixed amounts like the $5 “betting unit” mentioned above will keep you in the game during those inevitable down streaks when the cards aren’t falling your way.

Enjoy the Table Games at Bodog Casino

Now that you know how to get the most enjoyment out of blackjack, you can use many of these same principles to play other card games at Bodog Casino, including baccarat and poker games like Caribbean Hold’em. Each of these games has something different to offer when it comes to strategy; baccarat requires little to no thought, while Caribbean Hold’em can be mastered if you use some strategy. You can learn more about whichever games you choose to play by consulting our Help Center, and our library of articles here at Bodog.