Your Blackjack Strategy Guide

Blackjack is very popular, no doubt, because a lot of people know that the house edge here is low compared to other card games. However, knowing that fact isn't enough; to offset the dealer's edge, you should consider both your hand and that of the dealer.

When it comes to hitting and standing, the basic Blackjack strategy has been developed, and is universally followed. If you hold 17-21, you stand, For hands totaling 13-16, you should stand assuming that the up card is no higher than 6. If the dealer's card show a 7 or up, take another card.

If you hold a 12, the Blackjack strategy is to hit in all instances except when you see a 5 or 6. If you hold anything lower, just hit. With A8-A10, stand; the same thing with an A7 except when the dealer is holding 9 or higher. Here you can see the advantage of holding a soft hand, as the ability to change the value of an Ace really comes in handy. If you get any other soft hand combination, take another card.

Most players just go for the jugular when they get strong hands, but a good Blackjack strategy would be to double down instead. Not enough people use this option, but you should. Just keep the following in mind.

Never double down when you hold a 12. The opposite is true when you hold an 11 or a 10, except when the up card is an Ace. When your Blackjack hand totals a 9, you should double down only when the dealer has a 3, 4, 5, or 6. If you get soft hands, the following can serve as a guide.

Do not double down if you have A8-9 no matter what the dealer holds; with A6-7 double down when you see an up card of 3, 4, 5, or 6. For A4 and A5, double your bet when you see 4, 5, and 6; for the A2 and A3, you just play on and double only if the up card is a 5 or a 6.

A very important part of any winning Blackjack strategy is splitting pairs properly. The most significant thing that any new player should remember is that you must always go for the split when you get AAs or 88s and to never split a pair of tens and fives.

With 99s, always go for a split unless the dealer's hand is a 7, 10 or an Ace; with 77s, split except when the up card is 8 or higher; with pocket sixes, split only if the up card is 6 and below; never use the split option with a 44 except with a 5 and 6; with 33s and below, always split provided the dealer does not have anything bigger than a 7.

It should be emphasized here that casinos have different rules and options concerning hands that can be split or doubled down. This will undoubtedly affect your Blackjack strategy, so do some research first. Most casinos, live or online, make the rules available clearly, so try to find a site that will give you the best odds.


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