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BLACKJACK STRATEGY

Go to win at blackjack?

The blackjack basic strategy is a simple set of rules that tells you, the player, the correct way to play your hands. Basic strategy reveals when to hit (H), stand (S), or double (D) by taking into account only two factors: your cards and the dealer's upcard. Basic strategy allows you to win more and lose less.

The following terms are useful when learning basic blackjack strategy:

HARD HANDS - all hands not containing an Ace.
SOFT HANDS - all hands containing an Ace coupled with a 2 - 9.
SPLIT HANDS - all hands that contain a pair of cards with the same value.

PLAYER'S HAND

DEALER'S UP CARD

 

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

A

5-6-7-8

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

9

H

D

D

D

D

H

H

H

H

H

10

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

H

H

11

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

H

12

H

H

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

13-14

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

15-16

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

17-18-19-20-21

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

A-2(13), A-3(14)

H

H

H

D

D

H

H

H

H

H

A-4(15), A-5(16)

H

H

D

D

D

H

H

H

H

H

A-6(17)

H

D

D

D

D

H

H

H

H

H

A-7(18)

S

D

D

D

D

S

S

H

H

H

A-8(19), A-9(20)

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

A & A

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

2 & 2 - 3 & 3

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

H

H

H

H

4 & 4

H

H

H

SP

SP

H

H

H

H

H

5 & 5

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

H

H

6 & 6

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

H

H

H

H

H

7 & 7

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

H

H

H

H

8 & 8

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

9 & 9

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

S

S

10 & 10

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

Bad Blackjack Strategy

People play blackjack, and a lot of them don't do it so well. What's worse than just playing poorly though, is playing with blackjack strategies that you're sure are helping your game, when they truly aren't. Three bad blackjack strategies used far too often at the table are playing exactly as the dealer does, playing to never bust, and always assuming the dealer holds a hold card ten. Let's look at each of these individually.

Playing As The Dealer Does - Many people assume that if the dealer has an edge over the player (the house edge), then playing exactly the same as the dealer should allow the player to gain the same edge. But playing as the dealer doesn't let you double or split, and you always have to stand on a 17, and you're still going to lose on a dealer's natural blackjack even if you get 21.

Never Bust Strategy - Because of the statistic showing just how often the average player busts, some believe it is a good thing to play a game where busting is never risked, in order to eliminate the potential of losing outright. Taking this literally and never hitting a hard 12 or more will actually raise the house edge almost 4%.

Assuming a 10 Value Hole-Card - Although it is tempting to assume that the dealer must be holding a hole-card of 10, it's an incorrect assumption. Although there are more 10-value cards than any other value, the percentage of 10-value cards is still below 50%.

Knowing which blackjack strategies are bad for you is just as important as knowing which are good!

Recommended Reading

For more detailed information and resources on Blackjack tips and strategy check out Wizard of Odds.

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