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Backjack Basic Strategy

One of the best ways to increase your chances of winning at blackjack is by learning about basic strategy. Basic strategy is based on the mathematics of the game of blackjack. Mathematicians, statisticians and computer simulations have tested and discovered the best move in any situation in a game of blackjack, based on the player’s cards and the dealer’s up card. When you have a good understanding of this strategy of odds you can greatly reduce the house advantage and win at blackjack a majority of the time.

If you are interested in learning basic strategy you can find a number of basic strategy charts online, as well as in books about the game of blackjack. The chart will show your hand on one axis and the dealer’s card on the other axis. Match them up on the chart to find out what the best move is (i.e. to hit, to stand, to double down, to split or to surrender).

Basic strategy changes slightly depending on the blackjack variation you are playing, as well as the number of decks in play. However, the strategy is still pretty much the same across the board. Read on for some tips that you can use to apply basic strategy to your blackjack games.

The following strategies should be applied when you have a hard hand. A hard hand is one that does not contain an Ace:

  • Always hit on a hand worth a value of 8 or less.
  • When you have 9, double down when the dealer has a 3, 4, 5 or 6. Otherwise hit.
  • When you have a 10, double down when the dealer has 2 through 9. Otherwise hit.
  • When you have an 11, hit if the dealer has Ace. Otherwise double down.
  • When you have 12, stand if the dealer has 4 through 6. Otherwise hit.
  • When you have 13 through 16, stand if the dealer has 2 through 6. Otherwise hit.
  • Always stand on hard hands valued at 17 through 21.

If you have a soft hand, containing an Ace, then the following basic strategies should be used:

  • If you have Ace-8 or Ace-9 you should always stand.
  • If you have Ace-7, double when the dealer has 3 through 6 and stand when the dealer has 2, 7 or 8. Otherwise hit.
  • If you have Ace-6, double when the dealer has 3 through 6. Otherwise hit.
  • If you have Ace-4 or Ace-5, double if the dealer has 4, 5 or 6. Otherwise hit.
  • If you have Ace-2 or Ace-3, double down when the dealer has 5 or 6. Otherwise hit.

Pairs should be played as follows:

  • Split 2s and 3s when the dealer has 2 through 7.
  • Split 4s when the dealer has 5 or 6.
  • Split 5s when the dealer has 2 through 9.
  • Split 6s when the dealer has 2 through 6.
  • Split 7s when the dealer has 2 through 7.
  • Always split 8s.
  • Split 9s when the dealer has 2 through 6, 8 or 9 and stand when the dealer has 7, 10 or Ace.
  • Always stand on 10s or Face cards.

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