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BASIC BLACKJACK STRATEGY:

The purpose of this page is to build upon the Beginner strategy with some more in depth strategies.

We're not at card counting yet at this stage but given probabilities of available cards coming up many different studies have come up with the same basic matrix detailing the best move given the cards at hand. The matrix shows you what to do in a given situation depending on what cards you and the dealer have showing. These strategy tables can be taken to Vegas the pit bosses don't mind. They get upset with counters not people who follow this basic blackjack strategy. This matrix applies best in Vegas but online some casino's put the odds more in their favor by limiting some of the Vegas rules. See the Online Blackjack Reviews to see who plays fair. You will find that Boss Casino's have the best rules on the net. Pharaoh's Casino and Prestige Casino being two of my favorites.

The player who applies the blackjack strategy found in the tables below reduces the house advantage to between 1 and 2 percent.

Here are the options you have in various situations during a hand of Blackjack:

  • Hitting
  • Standing
  • Splitting
  • Doubling down
  • Taking Insurance
  • Surrendering

Hitting or Standing

First rule is to always consider the dealers card showing not just your own cards when making a decision. In other words don't always take a card if you have a low hand the dealer may have a very weak hand that may lead to the dealer busting. Here are the basics for hitting or standing on a hard hand.

  Dealer
Player
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
A
17-21
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
13-16
S
S
S
S
S
H
H
H
H
H
12
H
H
S
S
S
H
H
H
H
H
4-11
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H

S=Stand, H=Hit

Soft-hand strategy

A soft hand (an Ace in your cards) affects your decision to take a hit. It is called "soft" because the Ace can be changed from a n 11 to a one if necessary. Taking hits with a soft hand is less risky than a Hard-hand. The following chart outlines what you should do with an Ace in your hand:

  Dealer
Player
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
A
A,8-10
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
A,7
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
H
H
H
A,2-6
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H

S=Stand, H=Hit

Doubling down

To optimize your probabilities of winning you have to take advantage when you have a strong hand. It's the primary means of offsetting the house advantage. Casino rules vary on what type of hands you can double down on but the following chart shows when to take advantage in all situations given a Hard-hand.:

  Dealer
Player
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
A
12
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
11
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
X
10
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
X
X
9
X
D
D
D
D
X
X
X
X
X
8
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X

D=Double Down, X=Don't Double

Soft-hand doubling strategy

Considerations here are a little different from the hard-hand doubling strategy. For example you don't want to double if you have soft 19 or 20 (which would be A,8 and A,9) even though these hands could be counted as 9 and 10. The following chart optimizes probabilities of winning given the Soft-hand:

  Dealer
Player
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
A
A,8-9
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
A,6-7
X
D
D
D
D
X
X
X
X
X
A,4-5
X
X
D
D
D
X
X
X
X
X
A,2-3
X
X
X
D
D
X
X
X
X
X

D=Double Down, X=Don't Double

Splitting-pairs strategy

This is also very important in order to maximize your odds of coming away a winner. You have to split. Most casinos allow you to split all pairs although some casinos will limit the splitting on Aces to once and online casinos usually limit splitting in some fashion..

As I said in the beginners strategy never split 10's or 5's for obvious reasons and always split Aces and 8's. Along with these hard and fast rules here are the rest of the combinations and what to do to maximize your chances of coming out ahead.

  Dealer
Player
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
A
A,A
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
10,10
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
9,9
S
S
S
S
S
X
S
S
X
X
8,8
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
7,7
S
S
S
S
S
S
X
X
X
X
6,6
S
S
S
S
S
X
X
X
X
X
5,5
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
4,4
X
X
X
S
S
X
X
X
X
X
3,3
S
S
S
S
S
S
X
X
X
X
2,2
S
S
S
S
S
S
X
X
X
X

S=Split, X=Don't Split

Keep in mind that if you can resplit follow the same chart.

Surrendering and Insurance

I usually don't enter into either of these options but if you must you can Surrender with 16, when the dealer has 9, 10, A. Or Surrender with 15 when the dealer has a 10. Never take insurance.

MASTER CHART

This chart summarizes all the above charts and maximizes your odds at winning at the casinos.

  Dealer
Player
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
A
2-7
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
8
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
9
H
D
D
D
D
H
H
H
H
H
10
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
H
H
11
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
H
12
H
H
S
S
S
H
H
H
H
H
13
S
S
S
S
S
H
H
H
H
H
14
S
S
S
S
S
H
H
H
H
H
15
S
S
S
S
S
H
H
H
Y
H
16
S
S
S
S
S
H
H
Y
Y
Y
17-21
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
A,2
H
H
H
D
D
H
H
H
H
H
A,3
H
H
H
D
D
H
H
H
H
H
A,4
H
H
D
D
D
H
H
H
H
H
A,5
H
H
D
D
D
H
H
H
H
H
A,6
H
D
D
D
D
H
H
H
H
H
A,7
S
D
D
D
D
S
S
H
H
H
A,8
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
A,9
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
2,2
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
H
H
H
H
3,3
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
H
H
H
H
4,4
H
H
H
SPL
SPL
H
H
H
H
H
5,5
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
H
H
6,6
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
H
H
H
H
H
7,7
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
H
H
H
H
8,8
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
9,9
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
S
SPL
SPL
S
S
10,10
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
A,A
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL
SPL

H=Hit, S=Stand, SPL=Split, Y=Surrender, D=Double Down

Summary: Don't wimp out. You have to follow the charts and odds to the letter to optimize your profits.

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