This lesson is about Blackjack Decisions at Learn to
and includes the Lucky 13
While blackjack has been written about as the best possible
casino game to play if you know what you are doing, it is one of the
games to play if you don’t make the right decisions. Casinos
wrong decisions than they do at any other table game.
Blackjack decisions have
a dramatic impact on the players’ results. Whether you win or lose is
strictly a function of good or bad luck.
who makes good blackjack decisions (good is defined as one
who plays Basic Strategy) plays against a house edge of approximately
percent in multiple-deck games. And what does a bad player face?
are rated as playing against a two percent casino edge for comping
The fact is that most players are probably playing against edges of
six percent based on my observations at the tables. Another
makes blackjack a dangerous game for the unwary and unwise is the fact
is a relatively fast casino game, with anywhere from 60 to 100
That two, three, four or more percent is working on a
lot more money than
it would at games such as Pai Gow poker, Let It Ride or roulette, which
relatively slow games.
For example, most readers are probably aware that blackjack decisions
tens is a no-no. Here’s why. First, let us take the most
vulnerable dealer hand, 16, and see what happens when we split our 10s.
every $100 bet on your 20 composed of two
cards in the six and eight-deck games, you will win approximately $57
split them. Not bad?
Well , you will win approximately $70
if you stand with
your 20! That’s a big difference. And if you split your two ten-valued
against the dealers 10 upcard (yes, I have seen players do this), you
win five dollars for every $100 bet in this situation from an expected
dollars had you stood on your 20. That’s a huge difference.
Here’s another example of how the proper
blackjack decisions can
affect your monetary expectations. All casinos I'm familiar with offer
If the dealer is showing an ace, you can make a
bet that is up to
half your original wager that the dealer will indeed have a ten-valued
under his ace and therefore a blackjack. (Whenever a dealer shows an
will call out: “Insurance!” and give players the opportunity to make
The insurance bet pays off at 2-1.
At first this
seems like an
attractive proposition -- after all the dealer has a pretty good chance
that ten-valued card as there are four ten-valued cards for every 13
the deck. And the casino is paying you two to one if you win the wager!
hold it a moment. If there are four ten-valued
cards for every 13 cards, that means there are nine non-ten-valued
cards that will make you lose your insurance bet. So let’s see how that
blackjack decisions works.
Let’s say that you are betting $20
Thus, your insurance bet will be $10. You win four
times out of 13
for a total win of eighty dollars. However, you lose nine times for a
loss of $90.
That’s a ten dollar difference. If you divide
the 13 decisions
into the 1 unit loss (or $130 bet into $10), you get an edge for the
7.69 percent! You can expect to lose $7.69 for every $100 bet in this
situation. That is some big edge and that is why insurance is not the
Still, here is a common mistake that many players make.
dealer is showing an ace and asks if you want insurance.
have a hand
composed of two ten-valued
You want to make sure that you win that hand, which is the second
hand in blackjack. So you insure. Simple logic tells us that if you
have two ten-valued
cards in your hand, you have increased
the dealer’s chance of not having
ten-valued card under his
Yet, many players will give the casino an even greater
edge over them in
this situation because they erroneously think they are improving their
to win by insuring when in fact they are increasing their chances to
The key is to make
the right blackjack decision every time and thus reduce the house edge.
above examples show us clearly that the decisions blackjack players
their chances for success.
I have created a much simpler version of basic strategy -
called The Lucky 13 - that, if followed, will reduce the house edge to
Frank Scoblete’s Lucky 13 Blackjack Decisions: A Simple
Always split aces.
Always split eights.
Always stand when you have 17 or more.
Always hit your 12 through 16 when the dealer has an upcard
of 7 or more.
Always hit your 12 against a dealer upcard of 2 or 3.
Always stand on your 12 against a dealer’s 4 through 6.
Always stand on your 13 through 16 against a dealer upcard
of 2 through 6.
Always hit hand totals of 11 or less, no matter how many
cards compose them, against all dealer upcards.
Always double on two-card totals of 11 when dealer has
upcard of 10 or lower.
Always double on two-card totals of 10 when dealer has
upcard of 9 or lower.
Always stand on your hands of A7, A8, A9 against all dealer
Always hit on your hands of A2, A3, A4, A5, A6 against all
Never take insurance.
is followed by Side Bets
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.