Blackjack Strategies for Multiple deck games and single deck games.
The black jack beginners or basic strategy for multiple and single deck games is the basis of all black jack playing strategies. All other black jack strategies build upon this strategy and some further refine it. The first section concentrates on games where multiple decks of cards are used. The latter section shows the adjusted strategies used for the single deck games.
The purpose of the basic strategy is to help you win more of your good hands and reduce the amount of losses you experience on your bad hands. In theory it produces the best results of all the strategies.
Before we can start applying this strategy and the others that follow, you must understand the basics of the game of Blackjack.
Tens and the cards that are counted as ten (jack, queen, king) are the pivotal cards of the game. Since there are only four cards of any other value, you are four times more likely to draw a ten than any other card. In other words there are sixteen tens in a single Blackjack pack of 52 cards i.e. Almost one third of the cards are tens. This is why we assume that the dealer's facedown card is a ten. Add ten to the dealers face up card and that will be the value of the dealer's cards for about 35% of plays and about 52% of the time it will be that number or a higher number.
When your cards are dealt you have to assess the value of your cards and decide to stand, take a hit, split your cards (only if you have two cards of the same value), double down or surrender.
In assessing your options, your first consideration (after assessing the value of your cards) is the value of the dealers face up card. (his face down card is usually assessed as having a value of ten even though in reality this is usually not the case). At this stage there are over 500 possible card combinations. Many are very similar and in reality you have to recall less than thirty possible combinations for each blackjack playing system.
There are quite a few slightly different versions of the basic strategy. The first one I learned required rote learning of numerous card combinations for both the dealer and player. For me, this one (my second one) is simpler to learn and perhaps easer to apply when under stress.
Some basic strategies call for you to learn a table based on your hand's value relative to the value of the dealers face up card. These tables vary according to the version of the game you are playing and the number of decks of cards being used. I cannot learn a table of numbers and have it make sense to me without being able to write it out again and look at it. When playing on line, you can get away with this but for the physical casino, I had to find a way of converting that table into something that is instantly intelligible to me so I converted the tables to prose using rhyme where possible.
The bad news is that if you wish to play the single deck version of the game, you have to learn the next bunch of options. If you choose that road, make sure you learn the first one well before you start to memorize the second one otherwise you will get hopelessly muddled up.
The second basic strategy requires you to learn less like a parrot but to have a deeper understanding of the game and thereby reduce blind adherence to a set of rules. I feel that this is a better method
The black jack dealers advantage
The black jack Dealers Advantage arises because you must play before the dealer. Once you bust the dealer collects your bet. Because the dealer plays last, you still loose your bet in these circumstances even when the dealer also goes bust. So it is imperative that you learn how and when to minimize your chances of busting. Since we know the prescribed rules by which the dealer must play, we can formulate a strategy to improve our chances.
Reiterating, the dealer must hit on all totals of sixteen or less and stand on 17 or more. Some casinos require a dealer with a soft 17 (ace) to hit. Once the dealer exceeds 21, he or she busts the same as we do.
Working on the ten factor, we know that when the dealer has a 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 as the up card (also called a stiff card) he or she must hit (draw) at least one more card unless the hole card (face down card) is an ace and the up card is a six and the casino where you are playing does not require the dealer to hit on a soft 17. To illustrate the importance of this, face up card is 5, hole card (face down card) is ten, hit card is 7. The dealer has busted. Try substituting the other numbers in the group starting with 2 and working through to the 6 and then try the same exercise again substituting numbers (counting backwards from 10) for the assumed value of the hole (facedown) card. As the face up number rises, the dealer's chance of busting increases especially with a 5 or a 6. When the dealers face up card is a 4,5 or 6, he or she will bust about 40 odd percent of the time. You double and split when appropriate to take advantage of these weak dealer up cards.
When the dealer's face up card is 7 through 10 (jack, queen,
king are also tens) or an ace we still assume that the face
down card is a ten. There is a very strong chance that the
dealer has a hand on which he or she must strand as the total
will be 17 or more. The face up cards of 7 or 8 produce the
weakest dealer pat (stand) hands. If the dealer's up card
is an ace, it will be extremely difficult to beat the dealer
as dealers rarely go bust when their up card is an ace. Why?
The ace can be counted as either 1 or 11.
You also have to understand your own hand so we will look at it in three groups - up to 11, 12 to 16 and 17 to 21.
If the value of your cards is less than 11, you have nothing to loose. You must hit. Even if you are on eleven and draw an ace, you won't bust but it won't help you much. Anything else will. When assessing your cards, remember that doubling or splitting may also be a serious option. When considering splitting, never split a pair of fives (because they add up to ten now and a split 5 plus a ten won't usually help too much. At best you will end up with a weak hand that has a high potential for busting if you draw another card.) and never split a pair of tens (why risk stuffing up a strong hand?)
When you are on 17 or more you must stand regardless of the value of the dealer's face up card because the risk of busting is too great.
Trickey player's hands
The tricky player's hands are from 12 to 16. There is no
simple rule here because if you stand, your best chance of
winning is for the dealer to go bust and if you hit (draw)
there is a high chance that you will bust. Remember if is
a soft 12 to 16 you have more options as you can count the
ace as 1 or 11. In these difficult situations your strategy
is to minimize your losses. You have to play your hand before
the dealer. Your high risk of busting gives the house an instant
advantage. If you stand you cannot win unless the dealer busts.
For inspiration, we go back to the dealer's face up card.
If it's a 7 up to an ace the dealer will make that hand about
75% of the time. If we stand we will win only about 25% of
the time because the dealer goes bust but if we hit, we can
increase our wins by about 15% i.e. We can win about 40% of
the time. Remember in these difficult situations our only
serious strategy is to minimize our losses so it is better
to risk busting to reduce the frequency of our losses.
Earlier, we told you about the dealer's chances of busting with face up cards of 2 through to 6. When the dealer's face up card is a 2 or a 3 his or her chances of busting is much lower so we should hit a 12 in these circumstances.
The rules for doubling down depend on where you are playing. The most generous allow you to double down on your first two card combination regardless of the face value, then they slip back to 9, 10, or 11 and the worst I am aware of restricts doubling down to 10 and 11. Remember that when you choose to double down, you are restricted to drawing only one card. You loose the right to draw additional cards if that one is a lemon so weigh this option carefully and do not forget the ten factor as you are more likely to draw a ten than any other card.
Do not double if your hand exceeds 11 as the drawing of a ten will cause you to bust.
Double most aggressively when the dealer's up card is 4,5 or 6 (the weakest stiff cards for the dealer). It is wise to double against the dealer only when your pat cards total 10 or 11. Do not double on a 9 when the dealer's up card is a 2. It is unwise to double on an 8 regardless of the dealer's up card.
Doubling soft totals can easily become counter productive because of the high proportion of tens. Drawing a ten means we must count the ace as one so as not to bust and our ten leaves the score unchanged. If the dealer's face up cards are our favorites 5 or 6,
It is fine to double ace, 2 through to ace, 5 because of
the dealer's high busting potential.
When you are playing the multiple deck version of the above game, you split 2's only when the dealer's up card is 4,5,6, or 7. the rest of the strategy is the same.
At Casinos where doubling down after splitting on all 2 card combinations is permitted, the strategy changes appreciably as we want to split pairs where the odds are favorable to maximize doubling opportunities.
Single deck game where doubling is permitted on initial two card totals of 10 and 11 only. Your score 10 - double for dealer's up cards from 2 through to 10. Your score 11 - double regardless of the dealer's face up card.
This next table could cover several pages but we have deliberately left out all two card combinations where you definitely should not double
Where Doubling Down is permitted only on an initial two card
count of 9, 10 or 11 -
Where Doubling Down is permitted only on an initial two card
count of 10 or 11 -
Again the next Table could be huge but we saved you the pain by omitting every card combination on which you should never double.
When you are playing with a sign in bonus, you have a definite
advantage over the house. If you are playing at a reputable
casino, your advantage is only slightly less than your sign
in bonus percentage. The higher the bonus, the greater your
advantage. This is the reason why the sign in bonus for blackjack
players is traditionally low.
Once you master this strategy, you will be perceived as a respectable blackjack player. The true test of your acquired skills is at the blackjack tables. Here You will very quickly discover your weaknesses and your strengths and which areas of your play needs attention. We always commend Lassiters to new players because they have the lowest bets of any casino starting at only two cents. Playing for such sums you certainly won't loose too much nor will you win much either. It is a relatively safe low cost way to take your first real world examination in the art of Blackjack. When you think you are good enough to win big, they'll take your $1,000 bets on a single hand.
Disclaimer - We have put a great deal of time and effort into researching this strategy. We have mathematically analysed the listed plays (and many others) and calculated their probabilities as well as their statistically averages. At any given time, two players using exactly the same strategy can produce substantially different results by selecting different options within the strategy and without making any obvious serious mistakes. This was clearly demonstrated during our testing period. We have made a few minor changes, to the original basic strategy that we have personally used for many years. These changes were made to better reflect the mathematical projections to enhance our winning chances.
Should you decide to implement this strategy, it is your responsibility to do your own testing to determine its suitability for use in your particular circumstances. We have been playing BlackJack for years and we do not always win though we seldom loose much!
Remember seven losses in a row and it is time to call it quits for the day and review your play! Some days its easy to feel that the Lord is positively smiling upon you and other days he just seems to be frowning real bad!
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions or any gambling related problems. We look forward to hearing from you.
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