Blackjack: Basic Strategy (Part I)
- Blackjack: Basic Strategy (Part II)
- Blackjack: Splitting Cards
- Blackjack: Rules For The Social Player
For every game of blackjack and for every set of rules, there are basic strategies for the play of every conceivable hand. To memorize every basic strategy for every game and set of rules would be a daunting enterprise for the novice or intermediate player. For example, in the single deck game when the dealer has a 10 value card showing and you have 7-7, the basic strategy is to stand. However, in a multiple deck game the basic strategy is to take a hit.
So the very first decision you have to make is which basic strategy you want to learn. If you intend to do most of your playing in Atlantic City or against multiple deck shoes, then your best bet is to memorize the strategy tables for multiple deck games. However, if you intend to play both single deck games and multiple deck games, which means you intend to play at least occasionally in Las Vegas, then you should memorize the single deck basic strategy. There are, however, more multiple deck games, even in Las Vegas, than single deck.
For argument's sake, suppose you do memorize the multiple deck basic strategy and you suddenly find yourself in a single deck game, will this hurt you? Only slightly. Most of the differences between single and multiple deck strategies involve hands that don't occur all that frequently. It is better to play one basic strategy perfectly than to play several poorly!
How long will it take you to learn the basic strategy you have chosen? That depends on you. However, unless you're going to a casino tonight, a methodical ten day plan for memorizing the basic strategies is presented at the end of this article. It will also give you valuable hints on how to memorize if it has been a while since you have done so. Unlike most other forms of casino gambling, blackjack is a game where the player's knowledge can have a profound effect on the outcome. It's worth taking the time to learn to play properly.
Basic strategy for the single deck.
When basic strategy calls for a hit, it means to hit until you have achieved a hard hand of seventeen or more.
|Player's Hard Hand:||Decision based on dealer's up card:|
|8||Double on 5 or 6. Hit against all others.|
|9||Double on 2 to 6. Hit against all others.|
|10||Double on 2 to 9. Hit against all others.|
|12||Hit against 2, 3. Stand 4, 5, 6. Hit against all others.|
|13||Stand on 2 through 6. Hit against all others.|
|14||Stand on 2 through 6. Hit against all others.|
|15||Stand on 2 through 6. Hit against all others. (If surrender is available, surrender against a 10).|
|16||Stand on 2 through 6. Hit against all others. (If surrender is available, surrender against a 10).|
|17||Stand against everything.|
|18||Stand against everything.|
|19||Stand against everything.|
|20||Stand against everything.|
|21||Stand against everything.|
|Soft Player Hands:||Decision based on dealer's up card:|
|A.2||Double on 4, 5, 6. Hit against all others.|
|A.3||Double on 4, 5, 6. Hit against all others.|
|A.4||Double on 4, 5, 6. Hit against all others.|
|A.5||Double on 4, 5, 6. Hit against all others.|
|A.6||Double on 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Hit against all others.|
|A.7||Double on 3, 4, 5, 6. Stand on 2, 7, 8, A. Hit against a 9 or 10.|
|A.8||Double on 6. Stand against all others.|
|A.9||Stand against everything.|
|Player's Pair:||Decision based on dealer's up card:|
|A.A||Split against everything.|
|2.2||Split 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Hit against all others.|
|3.3||Split 4, 5, 6, 7. Hit against all others.|
|4.4||Double 5, 6. Hit against all others.|
|5.5||Double 2 through 9. Hit against all others.|
|6.6||Split 2,3, 4, 5, 6. Hit against all others.|
|7.7||Split 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Stand on 10. (If surrender is available, surrender against a 10.) Hit against all others.|
|8.8||Split against everything. (If surrender is available, surrender against a 10.)|
|9.9||Split 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9. Stand on 7, 10, A.|
|10.10||Stand against everything.|
Points to Remember: Soft hands become hard hands when the ace can no longer be used as an eleven or when you've achieved a total of 19. Thus, if you have an Ace-6 and receive a 10, you have a hard seventeen. You would not take a hit on such a hand. Do not insure any hand, including a blackjack, against the dealer's Ace unless you're counting cards.