Practice always makes perfect, no matter what game you choose and where: you might be shooting for the perfect ‘21’ at the table of a Vegas land-based casino or play Fowl Play Gold on 777pokies online casino web page.
Basic Strategy is the foundation to winning at Blackjack. You’d better master it if you are aiming to beat the game someday. The strategy is designed to make your life as easy as possible: it tells you exactly how to play every Blackjack hand. After mastering it, you will no longer have doubts about when to hit, when to stand, split, double down, or surrender.
Blackjack Basic Strategy was introduced a long time ago and created with the help of very early computers. But it has been revised many times since then, taking into consideration the rules of how Blackjack is normally dealt today.
Blackjack Basic Strategy is a mathematical decision for every hand that might be dealt at Blackjack tables. Those decisions rely on pure statistics. That’s why it is crucial to know the whole strategy: using only 75% of it won’t work. You shouldn’t treat the strategy as a list of suggestions you can apply to build your own tactics around. These are the correct decisions you have to make every time without deviating from the plan.
At the same time, you have to understand that the words ‘mathematics’ and ‘statistics’ don’t mean that you will be winning every Blackjack hand; it means that the strategy will help you to either win more money or lose less. For example, you will know the correct times to double or split. Doubling down when you have an advantage is the way to have more money on the table, which will work out in the long run if you follow it properly.
And as for losing less money, consider the situation when you have 16 against an Ace. Most players don’t dare hit against such bad odds. And they are not wrong: the odds, in this case, prove that the player is going to lose. And yet, you are going to lose less money by following the Basic Strategy and hitting at 16 against an Ace than by ignoring the Strategy and standing. According to the math, with the negative winning expectation spread over enough time, you are going to lose less money, for instance, $0.5 against $0.75.
The strategy is put together in a simple chart that you should copy or download and start memorizing. If learning something like a chart by heart scares you and seems impossible, keep reading to find out what patterns and techniques may be useful there. Plus, there are a lot of online web pages that provide virtual Basic Strategy training drills, and you can use them to practice for free, any time, anywhere.
The Basic Strategy Chart
We will be honest and say that perfect knowledge of the chart and its correct application don’t guarantee winning every Blackjack game you play. Basic Strategy cuts the House Edge to about 0.5% – 1% but doesn’t reduce it to zero. The House always wins in the long run, remember? An excellent way to gain more advantage is to learn how to count cards. Card Counting + Basic Strategy is the formula to having the best winning odds at Blackjack.
How to memorize Blackjack Basic Strategy?
Let’s talk about the fastest way to memorize Blackjack Basic Strategy. Many professionals strongly recommend vocalizing all the formulas you see in the chart and repeating them hundreds and hundreds of times without cards in your hand, first. The next step will be practicing repeating the same formulas in your head and applying them. Then – playing. Believe us, if you transform those rules into a poem and see the meaning behind each line, you won’t need the chart and will be able to follow the strategy during the game.
So, here are the groups of formulas to memorize:
- Always split As and 8s;
- Never split 10s and 5s;
- Split 4s against 5s and 6s;
- Split 6s at 2 – 6;
- Split 9s at 2 – 9 except 7.
- Soft totals
- Soft 21 and 20 – always stand (which is not surprising right?);
- Soft 19 (A + 8) – double against 6, otherwise – stand;
- Soft 18 (A + 7) – double against 2 – 6 (if you can’t double here, then – stand), stand against 7 & 8, hit against 9, 10, A;
- Soft 17 (A + 6) – double against 3 – 6, otherwise – hit;
- Soft 16 and 15 (A + 5, A + 4) – double against 4 – 6, otherwise – hit;
- Soft 14 and 13 (A + 3, A + 2) – double against 5 or 6, otherwise – hit.
- Hard Totals and Surrenders
- 16 against 9 – A – always surrender;
- 15 against 10 – always surrender;
- Hard 17 and higher – always stand;
- Hard 13 – 16 – stand against 2 – 6, hit against 7 – A;
- Hard 12 – stand against 4 – 6, otherwise hit;
- Hard 11 – always double down;
- Hard 10 – always double against 2 – 9;
- Hard 9 – always double against 3 – 6;
- Hard 8 and lower – always hit.
Best of luck to you, a Blackjack enthusiast.