Blackjack Strategy Guide
When heading into a blackjack game with any level of hope to succeed, you should have at least a basic understanding of common blackjack strategy. So in this article we will go over the basics and let you know what’s what.
Reacting to your total verses the dealer’s Up Card are the principle understandings needed in Blackjack, and combining this with some simple mathematical decision making makes it simple enough for almost anyone to greatly increase their winning chances in the game.
Normally the dealer always has a set routine of Drawing on 16 and Standing on 17. As a general idea following this style of play is a good start. The dealer doesn’t play to lose that’s for sure. On top of this another key thing to note is that when the dealer is only showing a 6 of lower, as in this case we don’t have to reach 17. The dealer in this situation is significantly more likely to bust than stand. These are the most basic initial tactics to learn, but building on these there are generally three areas that should be focused on. These are;
1. Rules for Social Play
2. When to Double Down
3. When to Split Pairs
Rules for Social Play
Regarded by most as the best place to start, these are the pillars of basic Blackjack strategy if you will. These rules can be applied to 90% of the game’s likely situations, so they are the first thing most players should get a good grounding in.
In this chart below, we have outlined the basic numbers showing the rules. There are different ways to practice them, so that you can get them saved in your mind. One way is simply to be the dealer with your own set of cards, or by trying them on online casino’s. The latter can cost money, however, as you will likely lose while you learn.
Player Reaction Verses Dealer’s Up Card
Stand on 17 Vs 7 and higher
Stand on 13 Vs 2 or 3
Stand on 12 Vs 4, 5 or 6
1. When Dealer’s showing card is 10 or less Double Down on 11 verses
2. When Dealer’s card is 9 or less Double Down on 10 Verses
3. Always Split 8,8’s
4. Always Split A,A’s
5. When the Dealer is showing a 6 or less it is one of the best opportunities to pounce. In this scenario he/she has a better than 50/50 chance of busting. So in effect the player can sit back and watch the likely event of the dealer lose most of the time when this happens.
6. If the Dealer shows a 2 or 3, make sure you stand on 13 not 12.
7. Stand on 12 verses 4, 5 and 6.
Once you have a handle on the basic rules above, you can delve more deeply into the full rules of doubling down and splitting pairs. Here are the rules in numbers for doubling down.
When to Double Down
Doubling down is when you choose to double your bet on the cards you have been provided, and only get one more card dealt from the deck to complete your set. So for example it’s a good idea to double down on a total of 11, as the likelihood of getting a total of 17 or over after one more added card is high.
Double Down On Verses Dealer’s Showing Card
11 Vs 2-10
10 Vs 2-9
9 Vs 3-6
A6-A7 Vs 3-6
A4-A5 Vs 4-6
A2-A3 Vs 5-6
When to Split Pairs
A total of 16 is bad, and it’s the perfect time to split. This way you have a better chance of getting a total of more than 17. Even if the dealer has lower than a 6 showing, if you split the pair, there is a greater than fair chance the dealer will bust, and provide you twice the reward.
Aces: Splitting aces is another key move. You only get one more card dealt to you, but if it’s worth a 10, it does not count as a bonus reward blackjack. The blackjack reward only applies to the first two cards you are dealt if they are correct.
When you split aces your chances of getting a 21 go up significantly, as there are 4 ways to reach the 21 total. If you play the hand as normal, you will need a 9 to reach 21. If you split, any face card or 10 will give you 21.
Eights: Playing two 8s as normal will leave you with a 16 total, which is awful. If you split them you are more likely to reach a total over 17, which is far better than 16. The best thing about 8s is that it’s impossible to reach over 21 with just one hit. So it’s a much more preferable option to take for these two key reasons.
Dealt a new pair: In the wildly unlikely scenario that you are dealt another two pairs. I.e start with double 8, and are dealt another 8 for each 8, always split them. This will mean you effectively triple your bet, and increase your chances of winning more times in the long run. Some casinos will allow up to three splits in a row. Some might not.
How to Practice
Practice makes perfect, so grab a deck and follow these steps to deal out scenarios that will help you train your blackjack mind. You might find it useful to use two decks instead of one as you will go through them quickly.
There is no easy way to learn all the rules of Blackjack by heart immediately, so it does take practice. To apply them effectively you will need to be like a consistent machine that is able to stay on course and keep the odds in your favor. This is not possible if you do not know each strategy by heart and can easily react correctly.
Play with friends or join very small rate online casinos to drill in the numbers. Actually trying to practice at a casino can be very expensive and a little risky in terms of security as looking at notes while you play will be impossible with real people!