Exercising Your Options in Blackjack
It's surprising how newcomers to Blackjack fail to utilize the wide array of options available to them during the game. Most are content to just place their bet, take a card or stand, and hope for the best.
To get the most out your sessions, you need to use, or at least consider the many options on the table. It does not matter if you play online or in a live casino; these are available in both, and can play a pivotal role in shaping up your Blackjack strategy.
The first is that of doubling down. You can't remove your bets once you're handed the two cards, but you can double your bet. The dealer will give you another card, and it is the last that you can get. If you feel good about your hand, this is a good tactic to use.
If you get good hands (like a pair of 8s) you can opt to go for a split. If you have an Ace, it is almost always an automatic split, but as mentioned, you can use any hand that you see fit. As a Blackjack strategy, it gives you the chance to double your winnings in one game.
One Blackjack strategy you should never use is the insurance bet. In its most basic form, it means putting up a side bet if the dealer's up card is an Ace (the assumption being that there's another Ace/face card down the hole). If you're right, the casino pays out 2:1. If you lose the dealer takes the insurance bet.
Almost all casinos offer this option, because they have the edge, so don't use it. Even in online play, the odds with an insurance bet odds are still the same as in land based venues.
In some online Blackjack sites, there are surrender options. An early surrender means you can, to use a term in Poker, muck your hand even before the dealer looks at her hand. A late surrender would be after the dealer checks her hole card. It should be emphasized that these options, particularly the latter, are not always offered.
One other option that you should exercise, especially if you are playing online, is to try some play money first. This will get you a feel for the game, and allow you to try out the different Blackjack strategies you have prepared. When you are ready, then it's time to take on the dealer, and play to win.