BlackJack : Basic Strategy : Cards

Player is dealt a J-8 =18 against a dealer 4. Look up 4 on the Dealer's Up Card Row... scroll down one row (17+) and it says.... S for Stand. In this situation, you would stand against a dealer 4. Why? You ask? The theory behind this is: based on deck composition the dealers hole card is probably a 10, and a 14 is required to be hit on by the dealer, the hit card is probably a 10 in which case the dealer will bust. This isn't guaranteeed, but based on statistical analysis by Dr. Thorp and others... more often than not the dealer will bust when showing a 4. Remember... the object of the game is to Beat The Dealer.

Let's look at another sample hand...

The player is dealt 8-8 (16) against a dealer 4 (possible 14 and possible bust with 24). Look at the Cheat Sheet... Dealer 4... 8,8... SP for Split. Why would you split your 8s when a 16 will beat a 14? Because 16 is one of the weakest hands the player can have... by splitting the 8's you are opening up the possibility of increasing that hand to two possible 18's which are much stronger than a 16. Additionally, you are increasing your bet to two hands, maximizing the opportunity for profit against a weak dealer hand. Let's see what happens when we split this hand.

The player splits their 8-8 into two seperate hands (two seperate $5 bets). The first card dealt to the 8 is a 10. Strategy card says... Stand. The first card dealt to the second hand is a 2... leaving the player with a total of 10. Strategy Card says to Double Down on a 10 against a dealer 4. This is called doubling after split. Let's see what happens next.

The player doubles down on their two-card 10 (adding an additonal $5 wager) they pull a 10 for a total of 20 and strategy says to.....Stand. The player is now standing with totals of 18 and 20 against a dealer 4, and has a total of $15 dollars wagered. Let's see what happens to the dealer hand.

Dealer then flips their hole card - a 9 (not a 10 as we expected), dealer hits their 13 with a 10, dealer busts at 23. Player wins both hands and $15 on $15 wager (original + split + double down). See how easy it is?

Now take the time to deal yourself 10 hands to become familiar with BlackJack Basic Strategy. Keep track of how many chips you started with and how many chips you have when the 10 hands are complete. Continue practicing in your spare time until you have the Basic Strategy memorized. By now you are already a better blackjack player than 2/3 of the people who step into the casino, and while at the table you will watch them make rookie mistakes such as not hitting soft 17s (A-6), splitting 10s, not doubling A-6 against weak dealer hands such as 3-6 and more.

The next step in a true blackjack players arsenal is the aquisition and practice of a skill called card counting. Keep in mind that Card Counting does take some practice to learn, but the benefits you'll reap can be phenominal. Card Counting is tricky, but not impossible... when you feel that you are ready, move on to BlackJack 301 : Card Counting