Free Bet Blackjack Strategy

One of the first things you learn as an adult is that there’s no such thing as free lunch. Therefore, when Free Bet Blackjack showed up on our doorstep offering free double-downs and splits, we were sceptical. Still, there’s no denying that it works. Incredibly well, if its rise in popularity in the live casino categories is any indication.

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Which is why it’s only fair that we take a closer look at this game. After playing it for a while, we think we have a good strategy ready to go. This won’t be at the same level of detail as our standard blackjack strategy guide. That said, it does serve as a general rule of thumb you can refer to while playing.

The Basics of Free Bet Blackjack

Before we can run, we need to walk. If you’ve played blackjack before, you’re already well on your way to master free bet blackjack. It plays very similarly to a standard table, with a few key differences. The game is played with six card decks, with normal English decks. Blackjack pays 3-2; everything is as usual so far.

The differences are as follows: first, you get a free double down on every hard nine, ten or eleven. Emphasis on the hard hand – if you have an ace, you won’t be able to double down for free.

Players can also split on all pairs except two. A pair of tens cannot be split, as it would make it all too easy to possibly score blackjack. You also cannot split a pair of fours. In total, punters can re-split four times, and this includes aces!

Did we mention you can double down after a free split? In addition, you can do it without any extra cost! All of these things come together to form a strong advantage to the player. So how do the operators keep their edge?

The answer is simple; the dealer can no longer bust by going over 21. What was once a sure-fire win for punters is now just a push. You get your money back, but you not a win. The RTP for Free Bet Blackjack is similar to standard blackjack, so there’s no reason to get scared by this new rule. It all balances out in the end.

The Free Bet Strategy

As we already mentioned, we get plenty of free double downs, splits and re-splits. Every time you have a hard nine, ten or eleven, you can double down on the casino’s dime. You only risk your own initial bet! The same is true for the first split, which can be done with any pair except for tens and fours. Re-splits don’t appear to be limited by the same restriction, though we wouldn’t push it too far.

Since our advantage comes from using these new possibilities, we want to maximize their use. That said, we don’t want to take bad splits if we don’t need to. Doubling down on nines, tens and elevens regardless of dealer card is safe. However, splitting requires a bit more strategy.

You want to split any pair if the dealer’s face-up card is a five or a six. Any higher, and you’ll want to hold off. This is it as far as hard hands go. For soft hands, you want to pay particular attention, as they have better winning potential.

If you have a soft sixteen, seventeen or eighteen, you’ll want to double down against the dealer, if he has a six or less as his up card. You can also double down from a soft sixteen up to a soft twenty if you received a free split; though note this double down won’t be free. Soft seventeen, eighteen and nineteen are also safe to double down after a free split if the dealer’s face-up card is a five. Don’t double any other soft hands.

Final Thoughts

We enjoyed the time we spent playing Free Bet Blackjack. In fact, figuring out when you want to double down or split was half of the fun! Stick to our strategy, and you’ll be right as rain. It’s a fantastic variant, and one we look forward to playing long-term! You can also try Quantum Blackjack, and see if lady luck blesses you with a multiplier or three!  

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