NetEnt’s Blackjack Professional Series Strategy
The most popular non-live dealer blackjack game Net Entertainment offers is their Professional Series Blackjack table. This game is so popular because it offers a payout rate of more than 99.5 percent with correct play, and the strategies involved are incredibly rich.
Introduction to Blackjack Professional Series Strategy
Net Entertainment has a number of different blackjack games with different rule sets. Many of them are set up so that the strategies are easier to learn. However, your resulting payout potential is almost limited as compensation.
The main exception to this rule is their Professional Series Blackjack game.
This title is so different for two reasons. First off, it’s tied for having the best payout rate of any of their blackjack titles. Additionally, it’s one of the best-paying games they’ve ever produced in their entire history. That obviously makes it a title that people are looking at a bit differently from the start.
On top of that, it has more involved and more difficult strategies than most of their other games. In fact, it may be their most strategically complicated title in their entire portfolio. Due to these complications, we want players to know how to approach these tables to maximize their chances of winning.
How to Approach Strategy in This Game
Understanding the rules of Blackjack Professional Series by Net Entertainment is a must. If you think you know everything about this game just because you’ve played other multi-deck titles, think again. The particular differences in the nuances of this game mean that the strategies used have to be very precise to get the best payout rates available.
With that said, if you take the differences in the rule set seriously, we can show you the rest. In the following, we will break down what you need to know to play a mathematically perfect strategy for this game. On average, your payout rate will be more than 99.5 percent with this approach. However, it requires that you don’t just jump in and play every single situation like you have before.
A Note on the Double Jack Side Bet
Our strategic discussion will center around the playing of the main game. However, for the sake of informing players, we do want to explain the Double Jack side bet very quickly.
You win in this game based on having your first card dealt be a jack. From there, other jacks as your second card can improve your payouts. It’s got a house edge of slightly more than 4.9 percent. That’s much lower than what you can achieve from the regular game mode.
The Key Rules That Affect Blackjack Professional Series Strategy
Here’s a quick overview of the main rules that affect things significantly in this game. They will inform how we approach specific situations as outlined below.
- Four decks are used, which is a bit atypical. This mainly affects how splitting works in some fringe situations.
- The dealer stands on a soft total of 17. This is a helpful rule that gives us more of an ability to double with soft hands in particular. However, it also affects some splitting spots.
- You’ll find that the dealer always checks for blackjack. Players don’t have to worry about sneaky European-style no-peek rules here.
- Players can split once per hand and double with any two cards, including after splitting. This makes learning when to double properly absolutely key.
With that overview out of the way, let’s get into some specific strategies.
When to Double With Hard Hands in NetEnt’s Professional Blackjack
The first question that you’ll run into a lot is knowing when to double with hard hands. You’ll never double with 12 or more, which is standard. However, playing 9-11 correctly in particular matters a lot here.
- Doubling 9 – Only double against 3-6. You won’t double against a 2 in this game with just 9.
- Doubling 10 – You should double openly as long as the dealer doesn’t have a 10-point card or ace showing.
- Doubling 11 – The ace is the only card you shouldn’t double against here. Unfortunately, the forced peek rule isn’t quite enough to make doubling against aces profitable here.
If you follow these rules and hit with every other situation of a hard 11 or lower, you’ll be in good shape.
Hard Hand Breakdown: Totals of 12 and Up
These are generally the easiest hands for players to learn to play. You always stand with a hard 17 or higher. Additionally, when facing a 12-16, you always hit if you’re against a 7 or higher.
Generally speaking, with 12-16 against a 2-6, you’ll always stand. However, you have a simple exception that you have to commit to memory:
With a hard 12 against a 2 or 3, you should hit instead of standing.
This is important to remember because it’s a part of the strategy that’s highly variable between different multi-deck games. Additionally, this is a situation that’s affected by only having the atypical four decks when six or eight are much more common.
Increasing Complications: Soft Hands in NetEnt’s Blackjack Professional Series
The following is the most difficult part to learn about this strategy for most players. However, a couple of simple rules can make it much easier to get down pat. The first rule will teach you when to double in this game, and the others tell you when to either hit or stand.
The First Rule: The Rule of 24
The popular Rule of 24 applies in this game. It’s a rule that tells you when to double soft hands, and it’s a quick piece of mental math that saves you from having to remember a tremendous amount of other information.
Here’s how the rule works:
- Start with your own total.
- Add the dealer’s up card to your total twice.
- If you end up with 24 or more, double.
While this is straightforward, it has one simple caveat. You’ll never double if you’re facing a dealer with a 7 or higher, and you’ll never double 19 or higher. Instead, this only applies with soft totals from 13 to 18.
When to Hit or Stand
If the Rule of 24 fails, then you have to decide to hit or stand. With a soft 17 or lower, you’ll always hit. Additionally, with a soft 19 or higher, you’ll always stand.
That leaves the soft 18s as being the most complicated hand to learn to play in all of the Blackjack Professional Series game.
Simply put, you should stand against a 2, 7 or 8. That makes sense because you’ll win against these really often with your total of 18. However, you’ll hit against a 9, 10 or ace. Again, this makes sense since those are the dealer cards that will challenge your total of 18 the hardest.
Learning the Splitting Strategy
A lot of players completely ignore splitting strategy for the most part in blackjack. We understand that it’s a lot to learn for a small percentage of your hands. However, it also keeps your payout rate from dropping a couple of points from the value you would have lost if you had learned it. To put it simply:
If you don’t learn the right splitting situations in this game, it will punish you for it severely.
This is another one of the quirks of having four decks. These situations happen to be more punishing overall as a part of your strategy as a whole. However, they’re not too difficult to learn, so here’s what you need to know.
To start with: Always split aces and eights, but never split fives or tens. That only leaves a few other totals, many of which have the exact same strategies.
Splitting Strategy for 22, 33, 66 and 77
The strategies for these four pairs are almost always exactly the same. You’ll split against a 7 or lower with all of them aside from one exception. That exception is if you have 66 against a 7 specifically. You should hit there instead because of how poorly the split 6s will perform against a 7 in particular.
Understanding When to Split for 44
You should only split with 44 at the Professional Series Blackjack tables when you’re up against a 5 or 6. These are the two dealer cards the most likely to bust out, which is critical here. With 4s starting new hands, you’re disproportionately likely to run into those difficult hard totals like 12-14 that rely on the dealer being able to bust to play well.
Splitting 99: The Broken Strategy
Of all of the pairs that can be split in this game, the 99 pairing will be the one most players make mistakes on. That’s because it has what’s considered a “broken” strategy. However, this doesn’t mean that the strategy doesn’t work. Instead, it means that each option is broken into different parts based on dealer cards.
Here’s what we mean:
- Split Against 2-6 – You do this because the dealer is likely to bust, and you’ll have an edge starting new hands with 9s.
- Stand Against 7 – Your hard 18 is enough to win really often against a dealer 7. However, a big part of this depends on the dealer standing on a 17 so often due to 10-point cards.
- Split Against 8-9 – Again, your hard 18 will not fair well against an 8 or 9. It’s better to split and hope for something better.
- Stand Against 10-A – Here you can’t afford to split and double the size of your bet. That’s because your new hands from splitting would still be at a massive disadvantage against a 10 or ace.
This is the most complicated single decision to learn in this game. It’s on par with learning to play a soft 18 as well.
If you follow the above recommendations, you will be playing Net Entertainment’s Professional Blackjack tables perfectly. On average, you can yield more than 99.5 percent from this approach. However, we do acknowledge that it’s more difficult than most, and there’s definitely a lot that goes into it. With that said, fans of a lot of strategy will just love the game that much more for these complications.