Advanced Blackjack Strategy Singapore & Malaysia
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  • December 20, 2020

In Singapore and Malaysia, there are plenty of blackjack tables to try out your advanced blackjack strategy. All you need to do is find a good mobile casino or visit one of the few land-based casinos. Even a trip to Macau is not out of the question!

This guide is perfect for you to understand all the various rule changes when you play blackjack at a table in a casino in Malaysia or Singapore using MYR or SGD.

It is not as difficult as you might think to learn and implement an advanced blackjack strategy. After reading this guide, all you will need to do is have a few practise games and put into play everything that you have just learnt. Before long you will reap the rewards of what this valuable information has had on your blackjack game plan.

This guide will take you through three of the core components used when playing an advanced blackjack strategy. Those are: 

  • Knowing How Different Rules Can Effect the House Edge
  • Understanding Basic Strategy 
  • Using Money Management

Understanding and utilising the above three components will allow you to develop an advanced blackjack strategy that should lead to better results, help you to minimise losses, and enable you to have better control over your bankroll.

Knowing How Different Rules Can Effect the House Edge

If you didn’t know better, you would be forgiven for thinking that blackjack is a game that uses set rules that do not change from table to table. 

Actually, this is not true at all. The rules can vary depending on the software provider, the online casino you are using and even from table to table. Understanding how these rules can change and which can give you an advantage over the house will allow you to make an informed choice of which tables to play at.

“An advanced player is able to quickly understand how each rule positively or negatively affects the house edge. They are able to use this information to increase their expected long term value when playing at the blackjack tables”

So which of the most common blackjack rules do you need to be aware of? The following section will tell you exactly what you need to know. Once you have finished reading, you will be in a much better position when looking for the best blackjack tables to play whether online or in a land-based casino.

“If you mainly play blackjack at online casinos, you generally only have to consider the RTP or House Edge of each particular table before choosing the one that gives you the best chances of winning”

The Surrender Rules

Simply surrendering your hand at the right times gives you an advantage over the house in terms of your long-term value during a session at the table. Of course, there are different types of ‘surrender’ and we will take you through each and how they affect the house edge.

The Early Surrender

You have the ability to surrender your cards if you are not a fan of your 2 dealt cards. Doing so at this time will see half of your bet returned to you. This action, when played at the right times using an optimal blackjack strategy will give you a 0.61% advantage over the house.

The Late Surrender

The late surrender is a rule more commonly found at blackjack tables when compared to the early surrender. This is because the early surrender offers such a reduction in the house edge. The late surrender allows you to surrender your cards in exchange for 50% of your bet – but only if the dealer has checked for blackjack (he is showing an ace and just requires a 10-value card for blackjack). The catch is that you still lose your bet if the dealer does have a blackjack.

This rule gives players a 0.07% advantage over the house edge in terms of their long term expected value.

The Double Down Rescue

Generally found at Spanish 21 blackjack tables, this is another rule that can give you a slight advantage. This rule allows you to surrender even after a double down. It will deliver you a 0.1% advantage over the house throughout the long term.

The Early Surrender vs 10

This is not a rule you will often find, but it can also bring you an advantage. It allows you to perform an early surrender even if the dealer is showing a 10 as his upcard. You get 50% of your bet back, even if the dealer lands a blackjack.

The Surrender Anytime

This is another rare rule that can occasionally be found at the blackjack tables. This gives you a slight advantage over the house because you can surrender at any point during the hand.

The Double Down Rules

Any experienced and advanced blackjack player will tell you that you should use the Double Down when it can bring you an advantage. The general rule of thumb is that you should always use the Double Down whenever you have a hand that statistically wins more than 51% of the time. Although a risk, over the long term, doing so will give you improved odds against the house.

There is a number of variations of the double down rule but below are some of the more common.

The Double Down after Split Rule

Often shortened to the DAS rule, the double down after split can provide you with an improvement of 0.14% over the house edge when used correctly. Remember that the double down should only be used as part of the optimum basic blackjack strategy. This particular rule allows you to double down after you have ‘Split’ your hand.

The Double Down on Any Rule

This is another common rule at blackjack tables both online and offline. This permits you to double down no matter the value of your two cards. If using basic strategy and thus making the right decisions, this will give you a 0.23% advantage over the house.

The Double Down on 9, 10, or 11 Rule

Many casinos will only allow the double down when the player has a particular value. This one can be used when you have 9, 10 or 11 and gives you a slight 0.09% advantage.

The Double Down on 10 or 11 Rule

Easily the most common double down rule, this one allows you to double down when you have a card value of 10 or 11 only. With 10, you have a 0.18% advantage and with 11, 0.21%.

The Double Down on 9 Rule

This rule only allows you to double down when you have a combined card value of 9. This is a little restrictive, but it still does give you an advantage of 0.18%.

The Double Down on 11 Rule

When you have a combined value of 11, you are already in a promising position. With this rule, you can increase that advantage further by placing a double down bet. This is worth a 0.79% advantage. 

The Double Down on 3 or More Cards Rule

This rule is not dependent on card values, but the number of cards you have in your hand. With 3 or more cards you can double down and achieve a 0.22% advantage in the long term.

The Split Rules

Any advanced blackjack player will know just how beneficial splitting pairs can be in the long term. However, there are many variations of this rule depending on the casino and table that you are playing. The most common are the following:

Splitting Pairs Not Allowed

We suggest avoiding casinos that do not allow the splitting of pairs. In fact, we find it difficult to understand how any table with this rule is able to attract any players other than those that do not understand the game of blackjack. By preventing players from splitting, a casino instantly increases their house edge by 0.45% over the player.

Splitting Aces Not Permitted

Again, not being able to split a pair of aces is not going to attract you to a blackjack table. By preventing this, the casino gains a 0.16% advantage.

Split up to 2 Hands

Casinos may allow you to split your pairs but only a limited number of times. With this rule, you are allowed to split and the resplit one more time. This rule will give you a 0.1% advantage against the house edge.

Split up to 3 Hands

Although rare, when you have the opportunity to split a hand up to 3 times, this rule allows you to do so. The first split and resplit will give you the same 0.1% advantage as before, while the third resplit gives you an additional 0.11%.

Split Aces

It is obvious why online casinos do not like to allow players to split aces. There is a good chance of landing a blackjack. Some do allow it, however, and if you can find a casino that does, you will get a 0.1% advantage.

Decks Used In the Shoe

You might not have thought about it before, but the number of decks of cards used at a blackjack table can have a big impact on your chances of success in the long term. A table could use anywhere between 2 and 8 decks of cards. The fewer decks used the better for you the player. 

A table using two decks of cards gives that table a 0.34% advantage over the player. At the other end of the scale, a 0.57% advantage is given to a table that uses 8 decks of cards. There may not be a huge amount between the two but you should always take any advantage over the house no matter how small.

Dealer Action

Understanding the dealer rules when playing blackjack is another important part of any advanced strategy. A dealer is obliged to follow the table rules he is sat, with the most important involving his action when he is dealt a 17.

Soft 17: (Ace = 11)

Any dealer hand that contains an ace has to count that ace as 11. This is a soft hand. Tables will differ in how they instruct dealers to play such hands. For example, some tables will instruct the dealer to ‘hit’ a soft 17 (A-6 or A-3-3 for example) while others will instruct the dealer to ‘Stand’. 

If the dealer is instructed to ‘Hit’, this gives players a 0.22% advantage. Just remember that while the dealer will bust in most cases, this rule only applies to the first ‘Hit’. After, that Ace can now count as a 1 or 11.

Hard 17: (Ace = 1)

A hard 17 is where the value of 17 has been reached without an ace. Again, tables will differ in how they ask the dealer to perform once they reach this number. The most common rule is for the dealer to ‘stand’ with a hard 17 but you may still find tables that ask the dealer to ‘hit’.

Always check the rules or ask the dealer himself if you are unsure of what the dealer is asked to do when he lands either a soft or hard 17. 

Understanding Basic Strategy

Even among the less experienced players, it is commonly known that blackjack should be played using the correct basic strategy. Backed by mathematics, basic strategy is ensuring that you always make the correct decision based on the cards you have, the number of decks being used, the table rules, and the dealer action rules when holding 17. 

There are numerous strategy charts that you can use to give you the best action to take in all situations depending on the combination of the above. For example, you could find a chart that is to be used specifically when playing at a single deck blackjack table that allows a double after split and the S17 rule. There will be a chart available for all possible combinations.

To determine what chart you will need to find and use, simply ask yourself the following questions

Using Money Management

No advanced blackjack strategy is going to get far without the practice of proper money management. There is little point learning all about the advantages and disadvantages of certain rules, using basic strategy, and understanding dealer actions if you are just going to wager all of your bankroll on one hand. 

A successful player is one that understands how to manage their bankroll and utilise the best bet sizing strategies.  

Bankroll Management

Anyone that wants to enjoy a long session at a blackjack table will have to have a good understanding of bankroll management. Your bankroll is the money that you have set aside for your hobby. It should not be money needed for anything else important, and simply spare money that you have allowed yourself to gamble with. Most players will set aside a certain amount of money each month and make sure that they stick to it. 

The key is to make sure that you utilise that bankroll in the best possible way. This is through bankroll management. Using a good management strategy will ensure that you do not burn through your bankroll and that it will last you the month, or a particular period of time that you have predetermined.

Most players will break their bankroll up into smaller amounts each time they want to enjoy a session at the blackjack tables. This could be 5%, 10%, 15% or more of your overall bankroll for each session. 10% is the most popular amount but this will depend on the player.

  • Never play with money you need to pay bills, rent etc.
  • Never play with money you cannot afford to lose.
  • Always stick to your budget.
  • Only use a small portion of your bankroll for each session
Bet Sizing

Taking bankroll management a little further is through choosing your desired bet sizing. Most people want to ensure that their bankroll stretches across a decent session at the blackjack table. Placing a single bet that is the value of your full bankroll is not going to achieve that.

Instead, you want to decide on bet sizing that will allow you to stay at the table for as long as you previously planned. This starts by choosing a timeframe and then calculating how many bets you will need to last that duration.

At an online casino, blackjack tables tend to see one hand per minute. So, for an hour-long stay, you need to make sure you can play 60 hands. If you had a $3,000 bankroll and wanted to use 10% of it for your session, you would first need to divide $3,000 to get to a budget of $300. Then, you need to divide that by 60 to get your ideal bet sizing. $300 divided by 60 is $5. So, by betting $5 per hand, you will be able to make your bankroll last the full one hour.

Summarising Advanced Blackjack Strategy

Using all the above information, you should be able to develop and stick to an advanced blackjack strategy that better utilises your money, gives you a better chance of winning, and takes advantage of some of the best blackjack rules. In short, your long term expected results should improve dramatically.

Why not put what you learnt into practice? If you would rather do so without risking money, you could always try to play at the free tables until you are comfortable with everything that you learned today.

Check out our blog for Asian casino news, and check for more information on Blackjack, see our main blackjack page.

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