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Blackjack Strategy

A good blackjack strategy is one that combines good bankroll management, proper use of basic blackjack strategy, and last but not least, a healthy dose of "knowing when to walk away" from the table.

Blackjack strategies range from the simple and elegant, to the simple and dumb, to the complicated and elegant, and to the complicated and pointless. There are numerous strategies, applicable to a variety of playing styles and intentions. How do ultimately find an effective blackjack strategy though?

The majority of well-played blackjack revolves around something that is commonly called 'basic strategy'. Basic strategy is, contrary to what its name suggests, the most advanced blackjack strategy available. In the mid-1980s, when personal computers were just becoming widely available, some mathematicians decided to teach a computer to play blackjack. The researchers decided to have the computer determine which player-decisions would be most suitable or profitable for every combination of an initial hand vs. the dealer's known card (up-card).

From this, a chart was created showing the suggested plays for every possible opening hand. You can see this detailed in the four tables below. For each table, the column on the far left represents the player's two-card hand, while each of the other columns represents the dealer's up-card. So you will need to follow the column on the left down until you reach your two-card hand, and then follow the row over to the right until you reach the column that represents the dealer's up-card. In the cell you've just found will be the suggested decision or play to be made - Either H (hit), S (stand), D (double down). Splitting rules are usually contained within their own chart that only references opening hands that could be split.

Your Hand Dealer's face-up card
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
Hard totals
17-21 S S S S S S S S S S
13-16 S S S S S H H H H H
12 H H S S S H H H H H
11 D D D D D D D D D H
10 D D D D D D D D H H
9 D D D D D H H H H H
5-8 H H H H H H H H H H
Soft totals
A,8-10 S S S S S S S S S S
A,7 S D D D D S S H H H
A,6 H D D D D H H H H H
A,4-5 H H D D D H H H H H
A,2-3 H H H D D H H H H H
Pairs
A,A 8,8 SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP
10,10 S S S S S S S S S S
9,9 SP SP SP SP SP S SP SP S S
7,7 SP SP SP SP SP SP H H H H
6,6 SP SP SP SP H H H H H H
5,5 D D D D D D D D H H
4,4 H H H H H H H H H H
2,2 3,3 H H SP SP SP SP H H H H

The above is a basic strategy table for 1 deck, Las Vegas Strip rules.
Key : S=Stand, H=Hit, D=Double, SP=Split.

Need a handy set of blackjack strategy cards? Try this:
Blackjack Basic (Playing) Strategy, 4-8 Decks (Cards)
by Hal Marcus
This is perfect strategy right at your fingertips. According to one reviewer, you've never seen strategy cards like this before.


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