Archive for June, 2009
Use the basic strategy chart in this order:
1. If surrender is allowed, this takes priority over any other decision. If basic strategy calls for surrender, throw in the hand.
2. If you have a pair, determine whether or not basic strategy calls for a split.
3. If you have a possible double down hand, this play takes priority over hitting or standing. For instance, in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, you may double down on any two cards. So, with A7 (soft 18) against a dealer 5, your basic strategy play, as per the chart, is to double down. In Northern Nevada, where you may usually double down on 10 or 11 only, you should stand.
4. After determining that you do not want to surrender, split a pair, or double down, consult the "Stand" chart. Always hit a hard total of 11 or below. Always stand on a hard total of 17 or higher. For all stiff hands, hard 12 through 16, consult the basic strategy chart. Always hit soft 17 (A,6) or below. Always stand on soft 19 (A,8) or higher. With a soft 18 (A,7), consult the chart.Blackjack For Money Play Blackjack
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Do not attempt to learn all aspects of basic strategy at once, but remember that regardless of the number of decks in play or the rule variations, basic strategy for any game is essentially the same. Since so few casinos offer early and late surrender, don't bother with these options unless you plan to specifically play those tables that include this variation, or are interested in the academic exercise. Early surrender is not included in these charts; should you find a casino that offers this option, you will find the basic strategy for it in the Complete Basic Strategy Chart section in the Appendix.
The basic strategy chart presented here is a "composite" basic strategy, good for any set of rules and any number of decks. Actually, as these conditions change, some of the basic strategy decisions also change. Usually, these apply to borderline decisions, and do not significantly change your expectation. I know a number of high stakes pros that know only one basic strategy, and ignore the fine changes caused by rule variations and the number of decks in play. In the Appendix, a complete basic strategy, including all the changes according to rule and deck variations, is presented. This is for advanced players, or for players who expect to do most of their playing under the same set of rules and conditions, and who would like to play accurately. For now, I advise learning this composite basic strategy, which may be all you will ever need.
Two pair-splitting tables are presented here. Note that I use the symbol "$" to denote a pair-split decision. The first pair-split table assumes that you are not allowed to double down after splitting, and that's the rule in many casinos, though in some, including many in the Las Vegas Strip and all of Atlantic City's, players are allowed to double down after pair-splits. If you plan to play primarily in these casinos, study the second table, and note that there are only a few differences between these tables. If you'll be playing in games with both rules, just learn the first table, then brush up on the differences prior to playing in the double-after-split (DAS) casinos.
Notice also that I use the symbol "0" to denote a basic strategy surrender decision.
The charts are straightforward: The player's hands are listed vertically down the left side, and the dealer's up-cards are listed horizontally along the top. Thus, if you hold a hand totaling 14 against a dealer's 6, you can see the basic strategy decision is "S," or Stand. With a total of 14 against a dealer 7, the "H" indicates you would hit. Note: If your total of 14 is comprised of a pair of sevens, you must consult the pair-splitting chart first. You can see that with a pair of sevens against either a dealer 6 or 7, you would split ($) your 7s.
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