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Blackjack Basic Strategy and Advanced Betting Methods

# Blackjack Basic Strategy and Advanced Betting Methods

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A short guide providing basic playing and betting strategies.
A short guide providing basic playing and betting strategies.

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04/18/2013

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# Blackjack Strategy Guide

Blackjack Basic Strategy and Advanced Betting Methods
Blackjack is one of the most widely played card games to ever grace the gaming felt, with millions of Blackjack hands contested at Blackjack tables around the world each day. The game of twenty- one is a strategic endeavor that allows an advanced player room for aggressive betting maneuvers and subtle strategy plays to gain an advantage over the dealer’s inherent statistical edge. Players attempt to achieve a count that is both twenty-one or less and higher than the dealers count at the end of the round, using a number of available tactics to maneuver themselves into the most favorable position as possible. The guide assumes that you're already familiar with the rules of the game and are playing against a 4-6 deck shoe where the Dealer Hits a Soft 17 and soft doubling is allowed. Here's a quick review of the options available to the player, all of which are nonreversible once selected:

of a Hard hand (explained below) by adding their cards together. The Dealer upcard is the basis from which all Blackjack basic strategy is derived. If counting the Ace as 11 would cause a hand to exceed a 21c an Ace must be counted as 1 instead. colorful designs) also being counted as 10's. a hand of A4 would result in a 15c (11+4) since counting the Ace as 11 wouldn't cause the total to exceed a 21c. in order of strength.Using the Blackjack Basic Strategy Charts In the following sections. The leftmost column in each chart shows either the players Hand Count (for the Hard hands) or specific hands (for Soft or Paired hands). The reason each chart uses the 6-5-4-3-2-7-8-9-T-A (left-to-right) sequence is that these numbers represent the weakest dealer upcards on the left up to the strongest on the right. the 6up is the weakest upcard for the Dealer. a hand of 86 would make a Fourteen count (14c) since 8+6=14. and this rule holds true for hands that contain multiple Aces. consult the accompanying text in each section for a thorough explanation of how to handle this situation and consider finding a more favorable game that will allow these optimal playing decisions! Now let's get started learning the correct Blackjack basic strategy. . Of course. each of the five playing options from above (Hit. Queens and Jacks (known as Paint cards due to their elaborate. with Kings. Note that the suits of the cards do not affect the count of a Blackjack hand and can be entirely disregarded. For example. eventually ending with the Ace (A). the card the Dealer has dealt face-up to their own hand. The only exception to arriving at a count by this method concerns hands that contain Aces. In Blackjack. The top row of each chart shows a listing of numbers starting with 6 and working its way progressively to the right. We'll start with the most encountered type of hand. Cards 2 through 10 are counted at face value. Split. These headlining numbers represent the Dealers upcard. continuing on to the A-up on the far right. but a hand of AA4 would only result in a 16c (11+1+4). or total. A player determines the count. Double and Surrender) are indicated by their own specifically colored entry in each of the strategy charts. In the Blackjack Basic Strategy Guide to follow. and conversely the strongest dealer upcard for the player. while a hand of K4 would also result in a 14c since the King is valued at ten and 10+4=14. Stand. Be sure to take your time and work through each section until you understand every play based on the corresponding dealer upcard before you move on to the next. If this is the case. you'll be presented with a number of basic strategy charts that will allow you to cross-reference each recommended play based on the players hand count versus the Dealer upcard. For example. also a very weak upcard for the dealer. For example. A summary of each colorcoded indicator is shown to the right. Next is the 5up. The second Ace counts as only one to avoid putting the count over 21. the Hard Counts. occasionally there are a few rule-based restrictions to some of the recommended plays depending on where you're playing the game of Blackjack. The options of Double and Surrender are sometimes restricted or not allowed under certain rules conditions even though they are the recommended optimal play on our chart. an Ace may count as either 11 or 1 depending on whether or not counting it as an eleven would cause the player to go over 21 and bust. The total arrived at when adding the cards together is known as the Hand Count and is indicated by a tiny 'c' in the notation. some Dealer upcards decrease the player’s advantage. The dealer upcards are shown as the card value with 'up' (such as 7up) in the text explanations that accompany the basic strategy charts in our guide. since certain dealer upcards will actually give the player using Blackjack basic strategy a mathematical advantage over the Dealer. While a player is always allowed to Hit or Stand on any count (unless their last play caused them to bust) and they may always Split a starting hand that consists of a Pair. Paired hands are covered in a separate section apart from the standard Hard hands. The A-up is the single strongest Dealer upcard and therefore the worst upcard for the player.

Nine counts are doubled against only the four weakest Dealer upcards (6-5-4-3) but Ten counts are doubled against almost all of them. The primary choice for Hard hand counts of 11c or below is whether you'll Double or Hit the hand. 10c and 11c. so playing them correctly is essential for solid play.Blackjack Basic Strategy: Hard Hand Counts The first group of starting hands we'll examine are known as the Hard Hands. Hand counts of eight or less are always Hit due to the fact that mathematically they are not profitable to Double against any dealer upcard (and hitting them will never result in a bust). With the Hard counts of 12c or higher. This is partially because of the new threat of potentially busting the hand with a hit. only hitting versus the powerful Dealer T-up or A-up. where doubling takes on more importance and frequency. Both of these counts are surrendered versus Dealer T-up and A-up. An 11c is the most Doubled hand of all. such as T5 or 76. Hard Hands are un-paired and contain no Aces. the chart indicates that a more conservative approach (Standing) is now necessary against several of the weaker Dealer upcards. known as Soft hands. regardless of the dealer upcard. Hard hand counts are discussed separately from starting hands that contain a single Ace. These two counts will bust a high percentage of the time so the best option is to take back half your bet and live to fight another day. If you are unable to Surrender these hands due to rules restrictions (or you've already Hit the hand previously) you should Hit them instead. While using the chart returns maximum value for each of these counts. aggressively pushing in another bet against all dealer upcards. The counts of 17c or higher are always Standing hands. and also paired hands. Both of these types of hands will be examined shortly after the Hard hand counts. if you find yourself short on chips and unable to afford the additional wager necessary to Double (or you've already Hit the hand previously) just Hit any 11c or less and then proceed as normal. Hard hands make up the majority of the starting hands you'll receive from the dealer. and a 16c is even surrendered versus a 9up as well. but also that the various counts will have statistically better chances of winning a showdown by Standing against the applicable dealer upcard as compared to Hitting them. The more flexible counts are the 9c. It is also useful to note that now Surrender is a recommended option for the 15c and 16c versus the strongest Dealer upcards. .