Basic Blackjack Strategy is the Way to Play
Blackjack is one of the best table games and basic blackjack strategy
is the way to play, as you will learn in this lesson. Along with poker,
gaming writers extol the virtues of this casino game. Many novice
players believe blackjack is a great game as well. As soon as they head
into the casino, they storm the blackjack tables and often discover
that blackjack is deadly! They lose their shirts.
You see, blackjack is only a good game if you use the right strategy,
boringly called basic
; otherwise, players can face edges of
from 2 to 6 percent or more, depending on how they play their hands.
Blackjack can be a very fast game, where the casino can get in anywhere
from 60 to 100 decisions per hour. Bad strategy plus fast game equals
disaster for the players.
One of the big blunders first-time blackjack players make is to figure
that if the house has their dealers play a certain way, and the house
has an edge, then that must be the best way to play for the players as
well. In fact, it is one of the worst!
The house rules generally have the dealer standing on 17.
However, some casinos have dealers hit their soft 17s=Aces + 6 for
example, that is a bad option for the players hitting on any
hand that is 16 or less until they get to 17 or more.
Dealers do not double down, split pairs or surrender, if that option is
offered. Therefore, players who 'mimic the dealer' will face a house
edge close to six percent.
Example: If you are a ten-dollar player playing 80 hands per hour, that
means you can expect to lose about $48 per hour in the long run if you
persist in playing like the dealer. Four hours of play will see you
digging into your kid's college fund to the tune of $192.
That's hardly using basic blackjack strategy.
is this 'mimic the dealer' style so awful? Because the dealer plays
his hand last. If a player goes over 21 and busts followed by the
dealer busting, the result is not a tie, but a player loss! That is the
big edge for the casino where the dealer can bust yet still
beat the player.
Some players play even worse strategies than 'mimic the dealer'.
You see them making all the wrong moves, hitting their 17s, splitting
fives and tens, doubling on 12s, standing on 16 against a dealer’s
seven, and standing on their eights and nines.
However, wise players who learn basic blackjack strategy will discover
that the game does indeed deserve the plaudits it has received from the
gambling experts. If you play correct strategy which is the
computer-derived play of every player hand against every dealer upcard,
you will find yourself facing an approximately one-half percent casino
edge and sometimes, even less.
Such a player playing ten dollars per hand for 80 hands per hour would
expect to lose only four dollars per hour in the long run. That is very
different from the $48 dollars per hour of the 'mimic the dealer'
Basic blackjack strategy tends to be logical, intuitive, and often
- If you have a blackjack that is a 21 with two
cards, you would not treat it as an eleven and double down and you
would happily take your three-to-two payout.
- If you have a 20, you would stand against all
dealer upcards. The same strategy follows with a 17, 18 or 19.
- Any time the dealer is strong and you are weak,
you would hit your hands of 12, 13, 14, 15 or 16. That means hit these
hands when the dealer has a 7, 8, 9, 10, face card, or Ace showing.
- When the dealer is weak and you are weak, you
let the dealer take a hit. That means standing on your 13, 14, 15, or
16 when the dealer shows a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6.
However, some basic blackjack strategy moves are not intuitive.
In fact, they feel wrong. For example, you always hit your 12 against a
dealer’s upcard of 2 or 3. Many players will steer clear
of doing this but the computers have shown, in analyzing
billions of 12s against dealer upcards of 2 and 3, that you lose less
money when you hit than when you stand.
Another counter-intuitive move is the splitting of 8s against a dealer
upcard of 10 or Ace. Very few players enjoy the prospect of taking
their 16, a losing hand, splitting the 8s and facing a powerful dealer
upcard with the resulting two hands and double the money on the table.
Still, it is the right thing to do. A 16 is a loser against a 10, any
way you slice it. But a split pair of 8s will lose you less money in
the long run even though you are putting up twice the money! Strange
but true. In this case, you don’t follow your fears; you split the 8s
There are other counter-intuitive moves to basic blackjack strategy. No
one likes to hit Ace+7=soft 18 against a dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace. But in
the long run, 18 is a losing hand for a player.
The average winning hand for a player is approximately 18.8. So even
though it feels wrong to hit your soft 18s against a dealer 9, 10 or
ace, you must do it.
Pair splitting strategies can also cause one to pause. Who wants to
split a pair of 2s or 3s against a dealer’s 2 in games where you can
double after splits? Very few. The fear is that you will get a ten on
each, hit each, get more tens and bust. The fact is you will win more
money if you split those low cards in such a situation.
Once you have mastered this strategy, you can head for the tables and
play a really tight game against the casinos. In fact, with comps
thrown in, strategy players lose very little money and some even have a
monetary edge over the casino. A monetary edge just means that between
what you lose in the game, that half percent, and what you get in
dollar value for comps, you are taking more in then you are giving out.
For blackjack players, the rule is clear. Play basic blackjack strategy
or don’t play at all.
blackjack strategy is followed by strategy cards
to Learn to Play Blackjack Program
GT is attentive about getting the word out about our free
programs, lessons and add-ons offered, however, we ask your assistance
and consideration in promoting us.
Click link below that reads, "Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward.
Here's how..." to add a link to your site, blog or personal page.