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  • September 29, 2020

Poker strategy: Blackjack for beginners

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Blackjack can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. Using card counting and advanced techniques, you can actually have a slight advantage over the house in certain conditions. That is, if you are willing to spend hundreds of hours learning and practicing, plus hundreds of hours each year playing!
The strategy described below is designed for those of you who have never played Blackjack before or have played only a few. It requires that you learn only four simple rules.
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Card Values
Tens and face cards count as 10, Aces count as either 1 or 11 (your choice), and all other cards have a count equal to their face value.
The Play
All players play against the dealer, not against one another. Each player makes their bet and the dealer starts out by dealing two cards to each player and two cards to himself. The dealer’s second card is dealt face-up for all players to see. If the dealer has a “Blackjack”, he will turn it over and automatically wins all bets, unless a player also has a Blackjack, in which case it’s a tie.
Then, starting with the player to the dealer’s left, each player has the choice of standing or being dealt additional cards. Play continues with that player until the player stands or “busts” After all players have made their decisions, the dealer draws additional cards to either reach a total of 17 or higher, or bust. If the dealer doesn’t bust, all remaining player’s hands with a higher card total win, and those with a lower card total lose.
One very critical point to remember is this: you goal is not to get a card count as close to 21 as possible, but to get closer to 21 than the dealer, without going over.
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Doubling Down, Splitting Pairs And Insurance
There are three special bets you can make after the first two cards are dealt. Doubling down means you can double your original bet after you receive your first two cards. You then receive one – and only one – additional card.
Splitting pairs means that when you receive any pair on your first two cards, you can split them into two separate hands and play each one independently (of course, you must place an additional bet equal to your first bet on the second hand).
Taking insurance means that if the dealer’s up card is an Ace, you can wager an additional amount equal to half your original bet as “insurance” in case the dealer has a blackjack. If the dealer has a blackjack, you lose your original bet but your insurance bet is paid at 2 to 1, so you break even.
“Hard Hands” Versus “Soft Hands”
A “soft” hand is one that has an Ace which is counted as 11 (remember: Aces can be counted as either one or 11). For example, a hand composed of an Ace and a 4 is called a soft 15.
A hand that either contains no Aces or the Ace is counted as a 1 is called a “hard” hand.
Four Simple Rules

  1. If the dealer’s up card is 7 or higher, continue to draw cards until you have a hard count of at least 17 or higher, or a soft count of 18 or higher.
  2. If the dealer’s up card is 6 or lower, draw cards until you have at least 12. Stop when you have 12 or higher.
  3. Double down when your first two cards total 10 or 11, IF the dealer has a 9 or lower.
  4. Always split aces and eights. Do not split any other pairs.

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