Professional Blackjack players always walk into the casino with some type of strategy. Since Blackjack is one of the few games in the casino where the player can have an advantage over the house, it’s best to practice and eventually master these strategies in order to be successful.
The basic strategy of Blackjack is developed utilizing mathematics. Different strategies have been tested over the many years since its conception. When utilized properly, Blackjack strategy reduces the edge the house has over the player to a minimal amount. Strategies are adjusted to conform to different variations of the game.
Getting Started with a Strategy Chart
The most effective method for learning the basic Blackjack strategy is by memorizing a basic strategy chart. This chart illustrates exactly how to play your initial two cards against the dealers one face-up card. Memorization of the basic strategy chart is only one piece of the puzzle. Proper starting play is beneficial, but your moves after taking a hit are just as important.
Here are a few tips for playing paired starting cards:
- Aces or eights Split
- Twos or threes – Split if the dealer has 2-7 or else hit
- Fours – Split if the dealer has 5-6 or else hit
- Fives – Double down if the dealer has 2-9 or else hit
- Sixes – Split if the dealer has 2-6 or else hit
- Sevens – Split 2-7 or else hit
- Nines – Split 2-9, stay if the dealer has 7,10 or ace
- Tens – Stay
Playing Hard Hands
The following are tips to play two starting cards that do not hold an ace:
- If you have less than eight, hit
- Nine – Double down if the dealer has 3-6 or else hit
- Ten – Double down against 2-9 or else hit
- Eleven – Double down against 2-10 or hit if the dealer has an ace
- Twelve – Hit against 2 or 3, stay against 4-6, hit everything else
- 13-16 – Stay against 2-6, otherwise hit
- 17-21 – Stay
Playing Soft Hands
These final tips pertain to starting cards that contain an ace:
- Holding ace 2 or ace 3 – Double down against 5 or 6, or else hit
- Ace 4 or ace 5 – Double down against 4-6 or else hit
- Ace 6 – Double down against 3-6 or else hit
- Ace 7 – Stay against 2, 7 or 8; double down against 3-6 or else hit
- Ace 8 or ace 9 – Stay
By following these basic strategies, you can become a better poker player and have a more defined view of the game. More advanced techniques used in Blackjack build on this basic strategy.