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Blackjack Rules - Learn basic blackjack strategy

Blackjack strategy is something that has been thoroughly studied and examined over the years.  The basis of most strategies is mathematics and with the use of computer simulations, experts were able to form a number of charts that clearly outline, depending on the cards that the player and the dealer are showing, what you should do in order to maximize your chances of winning the hand.  Mathematically speaking of course (there is no shame in going with your gut feeling sometimes). 

For your reference, we have included 3 different blackjack strategy charts with a brief explanation of each in this section.  By following these charts you will definitely reduce the houses edge.  If you are playing blackjack online then you can print them and keep them handy for quick reference.  Unfortunately “cheat sheets” are not allowed at live games in casinos so studying and memorizing them is your only option. 

Each chart is based on multi deck games and show the players hand (the first two cards dealt) along the left side and the dealers hand (the one card that they will have showing) along the top.  Also note that these charts explain what to do after your first two cards have been dealt but are also just as good to refer to after you’ve hit.  Just remember that after a hit, you no longer have the option to double, so in these cases when the chart says to double, simply take a hit.

Chart #1:


Hard Totals

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

T

A

8 (or less)

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

H

H

16

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

17-20

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

Where: H = Hit     S = Stand     D = Double

This is the chart that you will use when you have  two different cards, where neither is an Ace. These types of hands are called ‘hard hands’ and we refer to the total of your cards as a ‘hard total’.  As you can see, when your total is 8 or less you automatically hit.  And when your total is 17 or higher, always stand.  The other totals are where it can get a little tricky, so refer to this particular chart in these cases. 

Chart # 2


Soft Totals

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

T

A

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


Where:   H = Hit     S = Stand     D = Double

This is the chart that you want to refer to when you are holding tow different cards, where one of them is an Ace.  A hand that contains an ace is what we call a ‘soft hand’ and totals of these hands are referred to as ‘soft totals’.  Since an ace can be ranked as a 1 or an 11 it makes a big difference strategy wise.  Notice that your best possible move for a total may differ from chart # 1 when there is an ace in the picture.

Chart # 3


Pairs

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

T

A

2, 2

P *

P *

P

P

P

P

H

H

H

H

3, 3

P *

P *

P

P

P

P

H

H

H

H

4, 4

H

H

H

P *

P *

H

H

H

H

H

5, 5

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

H

H

6, 6

P*

P

P

P

P

H

H

H

H

H

7, 7

P

P

P

P

P

P

H

H

H

H

8, 8

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

9, 9

P

P

P

P

P

S

P

P

S

S

10's

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

A's

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

P

Where:   H = Hit     S = Stand     D = Double     P = Split
* split only if you are allowed to double after the split.  If not, simply hit.

This chart explores your best options if your first two cards dealt to you are pairs.  Since holding pairs adds the option of splitting the pair, the best possible moves will once again change.  Notice how when the dealer is holding a card less than 8 you will almost always split your hand.  And of course, you should always remember that two Aces and two eights should always be split up, no matter what the dealer is showing. 

 
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