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Online Blackjack Strategy

Playing with a strategy is the surest way to make money when playing Blackjack. Keep in mind when playing that the dealer must draw while he has 16 and must stand on 17, and that you don’t have to reach 21 to win, but only rank higher than the dealer. So don’t be tempted to hit in cases where the dealer is likely to bust.

When playing blackjack, it is important to be aware of the rules of the casino as this may impact on the strategy that you are looking to play. The above blackjack strategy chart is based on the following casino rules:

  • The dealer will stand on a soft 17
  • There are 4 to 8 decks
  • Double after split

If the casino tells the dealer to hit when they have a soft 17, the following changes should be taken on board:

  • When the dealer has an Ace, you should double hard 11
  • When the dealer has a 2, you should double Ace-7
  • When the dealer has a 6, you should double Ace-8
  • When the dealer has an Ace, you should surrender at 15, 17 and at 8-8.

There are three separate categories of hands and each hand will have a chart.

Once you receive your two cards, you should look at the chart to find the corresponding cards on the chart’s left hand side. Next, you should observe the up-card of the dealer and then look for the value which corresponds to this at the top of the blackjack strategy chart.

Online Blackjack StrategyThe table to the right breaks down the moves of this blackjack strategy, where the left columns shows the player’s starting hand, and the right columns show what to do according to the dealer’s open card. The action you should take will be found in the box where the row and column intersect.

Hard Hands

In blackjack, the majority of hands are defined as hard hands. The basic definition of a hard hand is one that does not hold an Ace or a pair. Examples of hard hands will be K-5, 4-7 or 7-10.

Soft Hands

Any hand where there is an Ace present will be defined as a soft hand. This means that examples of a soft hand would be A-3, A-5 or A-Q.

Pairs

As you would expect, a pair occurs when your hand has two cards of the exact same value. Examples of pairs would be 4-4, 8-8 or Q-J. An A-A would also be referred to as a pair.

Knowing this information makes it easier to plan ahead and make the best decisions for whatever hand you have been dealt with. If you have been dealt an A-6 and the dealer has a 7 for an up-card, you should first of all start with the soft section of the chart. When you find A-6 and then compare it to the value under 7 for the dealer, you will see that the recommended advice is H, which means that you should hit.

When To Double Down

One of the more attractive options for blackjack players in a game comes when they have the chance to double down. This is only possible when a hand has two cards. This allows a player to double their bet and to take one (and one only) additional card to add to the hand. An example of this would when you hold an 11 from your initial two cards (a 7-4) and the dealer has a 5 for their up-card. This position would represent a strong opportunity to win from taking one more card so having the chance to increase the size of bet from this position would be sensible.

Players have the opportunity to double down up to the size of the original bet but there is no need to double down exactly. This means you “double down” for a smaller rate. It is important to bear in mind that by doing this you give up the rights to be able to receive another card but if the strategy indicates it, you should look to double down wherever possible.

When To Split Aces

Giving that splitting Aces can give players a great chance of winning well, many casinos will limit players to only being able to draw an additional card for each of the aces. It should also be remembered that if you split Aces and then draw a 10 or a card with a value of 10, most casinos will not consider this to be a blackjack and the 3:2 odds will not be applicable. These limitations may cause some players to question whether it is wise to split aces but yes, if the opportunity arises, you should always look to split Aces. This is because it increases the opportunity to hit 21 and as this is the main of blackjack, it is something that players should be looking out for.

The great thing about a blackjack strategy card is that it will provide you with advice for every single possible blackjack hand. It is also possible to use the advice in the charts for multiple totals. An example would be when you start with a 3-4 and then take the hit and you receive another 4, which will take you up to 11. You should then look at the hard section of the chart for 11, look along to find whatever the upcard dealer figure is and then make your decision based upon the advice provided. You will see from the hard section that if the dealer has an Ace for an upcard, you shout hit and if the dealer has any other card as an upcard, you should double hit, if you are allowed to.

It is important to remember that while a blackjack strategy will help you to play the advised moves and in the long run should help you to win more often, there is no such thing as a perfect strategy. A good blackjack strategy will help to lower the benefit of the house advantage for the casino but it will not be enough to totally negate it or overturn it. A good blackjack strategy can help players to perform better but losses can still can occur so make sure to only gamble with what you are comfortable losing.

How To Deal Blackjack

All players are dealt two cards, that should be facing upwards while the dealer should give themselves two cards. One should be facing up and the other should be facing down.

The dealer should always look to see if their card is either a face card, a 10 or an Ace. If this has occurred, the dealer should say “Insurance”, which enables players to place an additional bet, to a value of equal to or less than their original bet. This insurance bet pays out at 2 to 1 if the dealer obtains blackjack.

The dealer should then look at their hole card and if they have blackjack, it should be stated right away. If this occurs, the house is the winner unless a player has also obtained blackjack. In this outcome, the hand will be determined as a push.

The dealer should then take it in turns to finish the request of every player, beginning with the player that is to the left of the dealer. If the player requests a hit, the dealer should provide them with a card. This process should continue until a player states that they are happy to stop or until they go bust, which is to go over 21.

Any player that requests a split, which can only occur if they hold a pair, should be given two cards, with one card going to each hand. There will be a need for the player to place an additional wager which is the same as their initial wager.

If a player wishes to double down, they should be provided with an additional card. The double down process sees a player placing an additional bet and they are only allowed to receive one additional card after doubling down.

The rest of the dealers hand should be played out once all of the players have completed their own hand. One the dealer reaches a value of at least 17, they should stop dealing themselves cards. At this point, the dealer should check to see if any card beats their hand, which is to check and see if any player has a hand that is closer to 21 than the dealers. Any player that has won should receive a payout of one to one.

May 2, 2012 - Offer valid as of date published. T&Cs apply.