Winning at Blackjack - Basic Blackjack Strategy
Experienced players will tell you it is vital to learn the basic strategies before you can hope to do well in the popular blackjack game. The skills need to be learned and practiced before venturing out with real money!
Mathematicians have researched and devised simple strategies for all players to follow. The basic skill is to learn when to stand, double down or hit. Other strategies such as insurance should also be used at the correct time, and players should not rely on pure luck or hunches to succeed.
The goal in all casino games is to increase your chances of winning, and, at the same time, reduce your chances of losing. Not many casino games give you the chance to do this but by following some simple steps, in blackjack you’ll be able to do just that.
Let’s look at the basic blackjack strategy, all designed to give yourself the edge at the table, and take it away from the dealer.
Basic Blackjack Strategy for the Hard Hand
A hard hand is one which doesn’t have an ace, or if it does the option of using 11 points is ruled out, or else the players hand will go bust. Players need basic strategies to deal with hard hands, because these are the most common hands that are dealt.
- 8 points or less, always HIT.
- 9-11 points, consider DOUBLING.
- 12 points or higher, STAND if the dealer’s up card is weak.
- 15-16 points, SURRENDER if a dealer has 10 or Ace. But if surrender is not available then HIT instead.
- 17 or more, always STAND.
|Hard Totals||Dealer`s Up Card|
Soft Hand Blackjack Strategy
A soft blackjack hand contains an Ace which a player can use as either 11 points, or 1 point, without going bust. This gives the players options and means it is always safe to ask for another card – to HIT. The next card may turn the hand into a hard hand, and then hard hand blackjack strategy is used.
Let’s take an example which could happen both in Vegas or any online casino Australia offers: you have an Ace and an 8. This is a soft hand of 18, and being HIT doesn’t risk your hand going bust, because you have the option of scoring the ace as 1 point. Your next card is an 8; you now count the Ace as 1 point, but your hand is now a hard hand.
|Soft Totals||Dealer`s Up Card|
Blackjack Strategy for Paired Hands
When dealt two cards of equal face value, players have the option to SPLIT; meaning they can now play with 2 hands. Note that some casino rules don’t allow splits with 10 point value cards – Jacks, Queens and Kings.
It’s not good blackjack strategy to split 10 point cards. Some players think their chances are improved with two starting hands containing a 10 point card. A far better hand is one with TWO 10 point cards. Players will rarely lose with a 20 point hand.
Similarly, fives should never be split. Two fives together give a 10 point hand, always a good start in any hand. A pair of eights represents a weak hand, especially if the dealer’s up card is strong and is therefore a good candidate for splitting.
|Pairs||Dealer`s Up Card|
* = HIT If double after splitting is not allowed.
H - Hit S - Stand D - Double P - Split