Simple Blackjack Strategy
If you are going to play blackjack at a casino, you are going to look pretty stupid to most people when you try to use a blackjack strategy card at the table. These cards are generally for people who play blackjack online.
A blackjack strategy card is by no means perfect either; it only gives you the recommended moves when facing a certain situation.
There are a lot of dealer/player card combinations that are very close calls and can be more of a judgement call rather than a definitive decision. Therefore, let’s throw away the strategy card for a little while and try to make some simple judgements while playing blackjack. This will give you beginners some practical experience before you hit the tables.
Before we get into this simple blackjack strategy, you need to know about money management. If you go to the casino with $200, you should only be betting $10 max on a hand. If you have $500, you can bet $25 max per hand.
The general rule is that you basic betting unit should be no more than 5% of the total amount of money that you have.
This section will give you a lot of information that you should already know. However, it bears repeating because people act differently when there is money on the line. This is especially true when you place a larger bet on the table and you are concerned about splitting or doubling down.
#1 – Always Split Aces – This is easy enough. If you are concerned about only getting one card on each hand, you need to realize that you have a 4 out of 13 chance of getting 21 twice. This means that you have a 61.5% chance of guaranteeing that you have at least one hand where you won’t lose.
If placing the second bet scares you, you shouldn’t be placing a bet that you aren’t ready to split or double.
#2 – Always Split a Pair of 8’s – Again, a very easy call. The only exception to this rule is when the dealer shows an Ace and you are allowed to surrender. Otherwise, you split them. You will only have 4 bad cards out of 13 that you can receive (4/5/6/7). If you receive another 8, split it again.
#3 – Only Split 2’s, 3’s 6’s, 7’s or 9’s when the Dealer shows 2-7 – If the dealer can’t reach 18 or better easily, you need to split these pairs. If the dealer can receive 18 or better in one card, don’t split these pairs. You should never place multiple bets when the dealer has less than a 25% chance of busting (dealer showing an 8/9/10/Ace).
#4 – Don’t Split 4’s, 5’s, or 10’s – 5’s and 10’s are common knowledge. You always stand on 20 and you double down on 10 unless the dealer has a 10 or Ace. The strategy card may show this differently for a pair of 4’s, but don’t be concerned by this. If you split 4’s, you are gambling that the dealer will bust. If the dealer doesn’t, you are likely to lose two bets.
#5 – Hit on a Soft 13 to Soft 17 – It doesn’t matter if the dealer is showing a 4, 5 or 6 and you just took away the 10 from him. There are too many cards that will improve your hand. Even with a 4, 5 or 6 showing, the dealer will only bust 42% of the time. You should only Double Down in this situation when the dealer is showing a 4, 5 or 6.
#6 – Stand on a Soft 18 to Soft 20 – There isn’t any situation where you should hit an 18 or better. I’ve seen strategy cards that will have you double when the dealer is showing a 6, but your odds of improving your hand aren’t good enough to break up what you have.
#7 – Always Hit with 9 or Less – “I also live dangerously”. What this really means is that you should never double down if you have a two card total of 8 or 9. The odds aren’t good enough and you should just hit your hand to give yourself the best chance of winning.
#8 – Always Double with 10 or 11 – There are two exceptions to this rule: You hit when the dealer shows 10 or Ace on your 10, or when the dealer shows an Ace on your 11. Other than that, you must double in these situations. Don’t ever be afraid to double down. Otherwise, you are giving the overall advantage back to the house.
#9 – When you have 12 to 16 – To make this simple, you should stand when the dealer shows a 2/3/4/5/6. You should hit when the dealer shows a 7/8/9/10/Ace. When you look at a strategy card, you will see a slightly different story. If you are an advanced player, then you will know that you have a slightly better chance to hit 12 when the dealer has a 2; but this isn’t an earth shattering advantage and shouldn’t cost you much to keep the strategy simple.
#10 – Don’t Hit with Hard 17 or More – There isn’t any advantage to hit hard 17 even if the dealer shows an Ace. Just stand and hope the dealer pushes or busts.
In addition to the simple strategy above, never take insurance. The dealer only has a 4 out of 13 chance (30.7%) of having a blackjack. Even if you have Hard 16, you have a 5 out of 13 chance (38.4%) chance of improving your hand. If you are a beginner at gambling and you don’t know what that means, you always go with the odds and insurance provides no odds in your favor.
You can use this simple strategy on many different types of blackjack games, not just the Vegas Strip game that can be found at most American casinos.
If you want to practice this simple strategy, you can try the free blackjack game at a great casino for UK and european players then try Casumo casino.
While they may specialize in slot machines, they have several different blackjack variations that you can play from your web browser including European Blackjack, Single Deck Blackjack and Double Deck Blackjack. If you download their free software, you can also play Face Up 21 (Double Exposure), Match Play 21 (Spanish Blackjack), and Super 21 (Super Fun 21).