Many may not know, but the game of blackjack is more about strategy than it is about luck; unlike the other casino games like poker. Players will realize that when they start playing blackjack, they have to make a lot of decisions that may mean the difference between losing and winning.
Blackjack strategy can be split into two groups; basic strategy and card counting. Basic strategy contains all of the options and decisions a player should make in order to keep the house advantage as low as possible. There are basic strategy charts that will tell you what decisions to make based off of every possible situation you might encounter while playing blackjack.
Any good blackjack strategy begins with knowing the basic strategy. In order to improve and be able to use more advanced strategies, like card counting, and avoid making simple mistakes it is important to fully understand. Likewise, being able to use the basic strategy will allow you to play all blackjack card games with great odds, and that is enough to show a profit most times. This is the main reason that you first learn the basic strategy until you feel confident enough with it.
Blackjack Basic Strategy
The entire basic strategy would be very long and complex, as there are many different situations that you could face when playing a blackjack round. There are certain factors that a player needs to take into account during each hand:
- The blackjack rules that are being used.
- Their hand value.
- The dealer’s up card.
- IF they have the option to split or double.
Knowing the rules is very important, as it will let you know what can and cannot be done, especially by the dealer; these rules will let you adapt your strategy. For example, the basic strategy when playing against a dealer that will hit on a Soft 17 will be different when playing against a dealer that will stand on 17. Other factors like the ability to surrender, the number of decks being played with, and others will affect what basic strategy you use.
Having to adapt to each situation makes it difficult to recommend a specific basic strategy that will work all the time, as there isn’t enough space on this article. The basic strategy is quite complex, but the different versions of the rules will make you change the strategy you use. There are full basic strategy charts that are available at the casinos, who allow players to use basic strategy when they play; there is one below. There are also many great blackjack books, as well as gambling websites.
When considering the strategy to use, you must always remember the hand rankings. Each card will have different values, especially when you have an Ace and a soft hand. Not only do you have to consider what hand you have, but also the potential hand that the blackjack dealer has. This is your first step towards using and understanding blackjack basic strategy.
Simplified Basic Strategy
On the other hand, there is a simpler strategy that can help you out when playing online and Las Vegas casino games. It will be easy to understand and remember, but won’t give you the high odds a more detailed chart will give you. All you need to do is follow the suggested strategy when you are presented with these certain situations.
- Double down when you have a 10 or 11 and the dealer’s up card is valued less than your hand. Double down when you have a 9 and the dealer’s up card is a 3,4,5, or 6. If you cannot double down, simply hit.
- Any other hands of 11 or below, hit.
- Hard hands of 17 through 21, always stand.
- With hard hands of 12 through 16, stand if the dealer’s up card is 6 or less. Hit when the dealer’s up card is a 7 or higher. Many players may take the risk of standing on hands 14 through 16, regardless of what the dealer has.
- Soft hands of 15 or less, always hit.
- Soft hands of 19 or more, always stand.
- Soft hands of 16 through 18, hit when the dealer’s up card is a 7 or more, and double down when the dealer’s up card is a 6 or less.
- Always split 8’s and Aces.
- Never split 4’s, 5’s, or 10’s.
- All other pairs, split if the dealer’s up card is a 6 or less, but play the hand by the above rules based on your hand value.
- NEVER take insurance on blackjacks – this is a sucker bet for any blackjack strategy player.
That is it! Eleven easy rules that you can follow that will let you play blackjack with higher odds of winning. This is a great strategy for those wanting to learn to play blackjack, without needing to memorize the more complex strategy. This will help any player to learn the system and reduce the mistakes they make while playing blackjack.
Many blackjack players are not happy with simply lowering the house edge. They would rather try to turn the house edge into their own advantage, and this can be accomplished by card counting.
Card counting works by keeping track of what cards have been dealt from the shoe. As there is a limited amount of cards, it is often that the remaining cards may not be in random placement. A simple example would be if there are 6 decks, and there have been 13 Ten’s dealt, which means that are 83 Ten’s still remaining. The same can be said about the other cards. This demands a high amount of mathematical skill and memorization, making it quite complicated for anyone to use.
Bad Blackjack Strategy
Just like there are good strategies, there are also bad strategies. You may encounter other players at the blackjack table giving you “advice”, which in most cases may be bad. Most players seem like they have good intentions, but may not have good enough knowledge of playing blackjack. They may tell you to split 10’s, since the dealer is showing a 5; however, there are always odds that the cards you are dealt will be worse. It is always better to make a steady profit, than try to “win big and fast”, as that is the quickest way to lose your money.
This is why it is important to stick to the basic blackjack strategy above, as it will increase your odds of winning, as well as lower the house edge against you. Simply enjoy your experience, while remembering to use the basic strategies you now know.