• August 1, 2021

Poker strategy: Blackjack Basic Strategy

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Blackjack basic strategy is based on the mathematics of the game. When it is followed correctly it reduces the house edge to the minimum, which is usually about one-half of a percent. Minor adjustments are made to basic strategy depending on certain rule variations that the different casinos can chose to use.
It is imperative as a blackjack player to learn this basic strategy, because by using it, you will eliminate the normal 5 or so percent advantage the casino has over the unskilled player. With basic strategy the house advantage is only about 0.5 percent! That is less than a 1 percent disadvantage to the player. This is why blackjack can be one of the most profitable games to play in a casino.
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Basic strategy varies according to the type of playing conditions that you are exposed to.
In order to know the Basic Strategy there are three things you must learn:
Simple Strategy – 7 Rules for Social Play

Simple Strategy; Seven Rules to help you Lose Less
Player Does Verses Dealer’s Upcard
Stand on 13 V’s 2 or 3
Stand on 12 V’s 4, 5 or 6
Stand on 17 V’s 7 or more
Double Down on 11 verses Dealer’s 10 or less
Double Down on 10 verses Dealer’s 9 or less
Always Split 8,8’s
Always Split A,A’s

When the Dealer is showing a 6 or less, he has a better than even chance of busting. So, the Player can pretty much relax and leave the Dealer to self-destruct. The only thing to remember is that if that upcard is a 2 or a 3, we stand on 13, not 12.
Stand on 13 verses Dealers 2 or 3. Stand on 12 verses Dealer’s 4, 5 or 6.
When to Double Down
‘Double Down” is when the Player double’s his bet on the first two cards, and receives just one more card in exchange.
When to Split Pairs
With two eights and you’ve got a Total of 16. No one wants a total of 16. Split and Hit, you’ve got a better than even chance of arriving at a Total of 17 or more. Even when the Dealer is showing a “6” or less and 16 would be a comfortable Stand, split the pair and double your rewards for Dealer’s better than even chance of Busting. So, all the odds say “Split”.
Splitting Aces would seem good sense to anyone, and it is. When you split Aces you only receive one additional card for each Ace. You can’t Hit again. If either of those cards is a “10” it’s not a Blackjack and only pays the usual 1 to 1, not 1½ to 1 . A Blackjack only applies the Player’s first two cards. That’s why it’s also called a “natural”. You don’t get it for extras.
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Basic Strategy is not something that you can learn by walking into a casino and trying it out. You need to practice.
Your Hand     vs        Dealer’s Upcard
8                                           Double on 5 to 6. Otherwise hit.
9                                           Double on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
10                                         Double on 2 to 9. Otherwise hit.
11                                         Always double.
12                                         Stand on 4 to 6. Otherwise hit.
13 to 16                               Stand on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
17 to 21                               Always stand.
A,2 to A,5                         Double on 4 to 6. Otherwise hit.
A,6                                    Double on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
A,7                                     Double on 3 to 6. Stand on 2,7,8 or A.
Hit on 9 or 10.
A,8                                         Double on 6. Otherwise stand.
A,9                                         Always stand.
A,A                                         Always split.
2,2                                          Split on 3 to 7. Otherwise hit.
3,3                                          Split on 4 to 7. Otherwise hit.
4,4                                          Same as 8 above.
5,5                                          Same as 10 above.
6,6                                          Split on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
7,7                                         Split on 2 to 7. Stand on 10. Otherwise hit.
8,8                                         Always split.
9,9                                          Split on 2 to 9 except 7. Stand on 7,10 or A.
10,10                                     Always stand.
The above chart assumes the casino doesn’t allow doubling down after pair splitting.  If the casino allows doubling down after pair splitting then use the following pair splitting rules.
Your Hand    vs Dealer’s Upcard
2,2                            Split on 2 to 7.   Otherwise hit.
3,3                             Split on 2 to 7.   Otherwise hit.
4,4                            Split on 4,5 or 6. Otherwise hit.
6,6                             Split on 2 to 7.   Otherwise hit.
7,7                            Split on 2 to 8.   Stand on 10. Otherwise hit.
Your Hand            vs     Dealer’s Upcard
5 to 8                     Always Hit.
9                              Double on 3 to 6. Otherwise hit.
10                           Double on 2 to 9. Hit on 10, A.
11                           Double on 2 to 10. Hit on A.
12                            Stand on 4 to 6. Otherwise hit.
13                            Stand on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
14                            Stand on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
15                            Stand on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
16                            Stand on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
17                            Always stand.
18                            Always stand.
A,2                          Double on 5,6. Otherwise hit.
A,3                          Double on 5,6. Otherwise hit.
A,4                         Double on 4 to 6. Otherwise hit.
A,5                         Double on 4 to 6. Otherwise hit.
A,6                         Double on 3 to 6. Otherwise hit.
A,7                         Double on 3 to 6. Stand on 2,7 or 8.
Hit on 9,10 or A.
A,8 to A,10                          Always stand.
A,A                                         Always split.
2,2                                         Split on 2 to 7, Otherwise hit.
3,3                                          Split on 2 to 7. Otherwise hit.
4,4                                          Split on 5,6. Otherwise hit.
5,5                                          Never split. Treat as 10 above.
6,6                                          Split on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
7,7                                          Split on 2 to 7. Otherwise hit.
8,8                                          Always split.
9,9                                          Split on 2 to 6, 8 or 9. Stand on 7,10, or A.
10,10                                      Always stand.
The above multiple deck basic strategy is valid if the players are allowed to double down after pair splitting.  If doubling down is not allowed after pair splitting, then use the following pair splitting rules.
Your Hand           vs            Dealer’s Upcard
2,2                       Split on 4 to 7.Otherwise hit.
3,3                       Split on   4 to 7. Otherwise hit.
4,4                       Never split. Always hit.
6,6                       Split on 3 to 6. Otherwise hit.
Perfect Blackjack Strategy
Once you have mastered these simple rules , you will have in place the basis of Basic Strategy. In order to master the complete strategy, there are two more areas of refinement to attend to. These are the rules for ‘doubling down’ and the rules for ‘splitting pairs’. These do not alter the rules you have learnt above. They build and extend on them.

Rules for Doubling Down
Double Down On Verses Dealer’s Upcard
11 V’s 2-10
10 V’s 2-9
9 V’s 3-6
A6-A7 V’s 3-6
A4-A5 V’s 4-6
A2-A3 V’s 5-6


Rules for Splitting Pairs
Split Verses Dealer’s Upcard
A,A V’s Any Card
9,9 V’s 2-9 but not 7
8,8 V’s Any Card
7,7 V’s 2-7
6,6 V’s 2-6
4,4 V’s 5-6
3,3 V’s 2-7
2,2 V’s 2-7

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Steve Carr

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