Blackjack Strategy for Successful Gamblers

Blackjack Strategy for Successful Gamblers

Blackjack players have a greater role in their own destiny than almost any other gambling players because the Blackjack dealer follows set rules and makes no real decisions of his or her own. An intelligent, well-informed player uses this knowledge to his or her tremendous advantage. There are three different strategies a Blackjack player can utilize:

  • Play Blackjack as a game of luck: Use a money management scheme and decide when to call a card and when to stand regardless of what the dealer shows. Apply a suitable money management system like the Paroli System and know when to quit by setting appropriate profit and loss limits.
  • Use basic strategy: Follow the game and analyze the dealer’s cards in order to determine whether to call a card or stand. Apply a suitable money management system like theD’Alenbert System and set appropriate profit and loss limits so you know when to quit.
  • Card Counting: This is difficult and if casinos catch you doing it they won’ t be too happy. If you utilize this method, it is best to learn from the experts. There are many books that detail Blackjack card counting strategies.

Paroli System
This system is in a way the opposite of the Martingale system. You start with one bet and you increase your bet when you win rather than when you lose.

However, you will need to plan a betting procedure whereby you know how far you will let the bet build before you take it down to the initial starting bet and how much to raise after each win. This obviously depends on the type of game played and the odds of the bet. The advantage of this system is that you do not require a large bankroll. It lets the profit run and cuts short the losses.

D’Alenbert System
This is a mixture of Martingale and Insurance systems. Bets are raised one unit after each losing bet and lowered one unit after each winning bet. The sequence and amount raised or lowered can be varied to suit particular games and odds.

Basic Rules

      1. If the dealer’s up card is a seven (7) or higher, you should play to seventeen. That means that if you were dealt a 10 and a 2 (you have 12), you must hit this hand until you reach 17.
        Let’s say your next card is a 4 (you now have 16), You must hit this hand again, until you reach 17.
      2. If the dealer’s up card is a six (6) or lower but higher than a three (3) you must play to twelve and stop.
      3. If the dealer has a six (6) showing and you were dealt a 10 and a 2 ( you have 12), you must stand on this hand.
      4. If the dealer’s up card is a two (2) or a three (3) you must play until 13.
      5. If you were dealt a 10 and a 2 (you have 12), you must hit this hand.

    Let’s say the next card is an Ace (you now have 13), you

must

     stand on this hand.

Basic Strategy
Some of the most favorable odds found in any casino game can be found in Blackjack. However, these odds diminish greatly as the gambler strays from what we call “basic strategy.” “Basic strategy” is a chart that an individual player follows that tells he or she exactly when to hit, stand, split, or double down.

The charts that follow outline the basic strategy for a game that contains two decks, and one that forces the dealer to stay on a soft 17. If you follow this strategy your chances of a successful round of Blackjack will increase significantly. When played closely, the Basic Strategy can reduce the House’s edge in Blackjack to 0.5% or less, depending on the rule variations in effect.

Basic Strategy — Single Deck

Your Hand vs Dealer’s Upcard
8 Double on 5 to 6. Otherwise hit.
9 Double on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
10 Double on 2 to 9. Otherwise hit.
11 Always double.
12 Stand on 4 to 6. Otherwise hit.
13 to 16 Stand on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
17 to 21 Always stand.
A,2 to A,5 Double on 4 to 6. Otherwise hit.
A,6 Double on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
A,7 Double on 3 to 6. Stand on 2,7,8 or A. Hit on 9 or 10.
A,8 Double on 6. Otherwise stand.
A,9 Always stand.
A,A Always split.
2,2 Split on 3 to 7. Otherwise hit.
3,3 Split on 4 to 7. Otherwise hit.
4,4 Same as 8 above.
5,5 Same as 10 above.
6,6 Split on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
7,7 Split on 2 to 7. Stand on 10. Otherwise hit.
8,8 Always split.
9,9 Split on 2 to 9 except 7. Stand on 7,10 or A.
10,10 Always stand.

The above chart assumes the casino doesn’t allow doubling down after pair splitting. If the casino allows doubling down after pair splitting then use the following pair splitting rules.

Your Hand vs Dealer’s Upcard
2,2 Split on 2 to 7.Otherwise hit.
3,3 Split on 2 to 7.Otherwise hit.
4,4 Split on 4,5 or 6. Otherwise hit.
6,6 Split on 2 to 7. Otherwise hit.
7,7 Split on 2 to 8. Stand on 10. Otherwise hit.

Basic Strategy — Four, Six, Eight Deck

Your Hand vs Dealer’s Upcard
5 to 8 Always Hit.
9 Double on 3 to 6. Otherwise hit.
10 Double on 2 to 9. Hit on 10, A.
11 Double on 2 to 10. Hit on A.
12 Stand on 4 to 6. Otherwise hit.
13 Stand on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
14 Stand on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
15 Stand on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
16 Stand on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
17 Always stand.
18 Always stand.
A,2 Double on 5,6. Otherwise hit.
A,3 Double on 5,6. Otherwise hit.
A,4 Double on 4 to 6. Otherwise hit.
A,5 Double on 4 to 6. Otherwise hit.
A,6 Double on 3 to 6. Otherwise hit.
A,7 Double on 3 to 6. Stand on 2,7 or 8. Hit on 9,10 or A.
A,8 to A,10 Always stand.
A,A Always split.
2,2 Split on 2 to 7, Otherwise hit.
3,3 Split on 2 to 7. Otherwise hit.
4,4 Split on 5,6. Otherwise hit.
5,5 Never split. Treat as 10 above.
6,6 Split on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
7,7 Split on 2 to 7. Otherwise hit.
8,8 Always split.
9,9 Split on 2 to 6, 8 or 9. Stand on 7,10, or A.
10,10 Always stand.

The above multiple deck basic strategy is valid if the players are allowed to double down after pair splitting. If doubling down is not allowed after pair splitting, then use the following pair splitting rules.

Your Hand vs Dealer’s Upcard
2,2 Split on 4 to 7.Otherwise hit.
3,3 Split on 4 to 7. Otherwise hit.
4,4 Never split. Always hit.
6,6 Split on 3 to 6. Otherwise hit.

Splitting Pairs

This table shows when you should Split identical pairs. (A “T” in the Pairs column represents any pair of ten-valued cards). A “Y” means you should split when you have the indicated pair, and the Dealers shows the indicated upcard.

Dealer’s Upcard
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T A
(A,A) Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
(T,T) N N N N N N N N N N
(9,9) Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y N N
(8,8) Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
(7,7) Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N
(6,6) Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N N
(5,5) N N N N N N N N N N
(4,4) N N N Y Y N N N N N
(3,3) Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N N
(2,2) Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N N

Key:

  • Y = Yes, split the pair
  • N = No, don’t split the pair

Soft Totals
A “soft” hand is one that includes an Ace, which can be counted as 1 or as 11. The general rule of thumb is that you can always improve a soft hand with a total of 17 or less by hitting. Only hit a soft 18 when the Dealer shows a 9 or better.

Dealer’s Upcard
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T A
(A,A) Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
(T,T) N N N N N N N N N N
(9,9) Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y N N
(8,8) Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
(7,7) Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N
(6,6) Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N N
(5,5) N N N N N N N N N N
(4,4) N N N Y Y N N N N N
(3,3) Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N N
(2,2) Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N N

Key:

  • H = Hit
  • S = Stand

Hard Totals
A “hard” hand does not include an Ace. This table is the core of the Basic Strategy. A “D” in this table means you should Double in those situations.

Dealer’s Upcard
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T A
17 S S S S S S S S S S
16 S S S S S D D D D D
15 S S S S S D D D D D
14 S S S S S D D D D D
13 S S S S S D D D D D
12 H H S S S D D D D D
11 D D D D D D D D D D
10 D D D D D D D D H H
9 D D D D D H H H H H
8 H H H H H H H H H H

Key:

  • H = Hit
  • S = Stand
  • D = Double; if unable, Hit

Card Counting
The technique of card counting allows the player to take note of changing probabilities and by altering playing and betting strategies accordingly, they can gain a statistical advantage over the casino.

To learn the the skill of card counting is relatively simple. And no – you don’t need to have a photographic memory or a freakish mathematical ability.

The card counting system described below is designed only as a rough guide to give you an idea how card counting is done. It is not recommended that it be put to use in a practical sense. This is intended only to give a feel for how card counting is done, and is not recommended for actual practice.

  1. Start the count at -4 when the deck is shuffled.
  2. Count -2 for 10, J, Q, K.
  3. Count +1 for everything else (including Aces).
  4. Bet low when the count is negative, high when the count is positive (actually, simulations show that you can bet high for a count of -2 or above).
  5. Take insurance when the count is positive.
  6. Play basic strategy at all times.