The Blackjack Basic Strategy
The blackjack basic strategy chart
Memorising the basic blackjack strategy chart is your first step along the road to blackjack playing greatness. The blackjack chart is your guide to smooth sailing through the choppy waters of every blackjack game; a computer has done the navigation for you, so you can feel safe in the knowledge that by following the chart you’ll be on the right course. Blackjack is, at its essence, a mathematical game. There are a fixed number of cards and a fixed number of possible outcomes. A computer programme has worked out all of the possibilities and come up with the best moves to make for any given hand that will maximise your chances of winning.
The blackjack strategy chart is essentially a rule book that shows you what move you should make for every possible hand that you’re dealt based on the dealer’s first upturned card. In order to read the basic blackjack strategy chart, all you need to know is that the dealer’s cards run along the top of the chart, and the players cards run down the left-hand side of the chart. The chart teaches you when to surrender, when to split, when to double down, and when to hit or stand – this also happens to be the order in which you should make these moves.
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It’s important to keep in mind that the basic strategy differs slightly depending on whether or not the dealer hits on a soft 17 or stands. Ideally, you should memorise the strategies for both of these two scenarios. However, if you can only manage to memorise one of the strategies, go for the one that has the dealer standing on a soft 17.
Another important thing to note is that the rules regarding ‘surrender’ differ depending on where you’re playing. Early surrender allows you to take advantage of the surrender rule prior to the dealer taking the hole card – common in European and Asian casinos, but not so common in America. Late surrender means that you can only surrender after the dealer has taken their second card and determined whether or not they have blackjack. With early surrender you only lose half your bet, but with late surrender there is a chance that you’ll lose your entire bet if the dealer has blackjack.
Now, you may have been playing blackjack for a while, and you probably think that you already know when to make any of these moves -its basic stuff right? But trust us when we tell you; if you haven’t memorised the blackjack chart, you’re highly unlikely to be making the right moves at the right time, every single time! And the basic strategy chart is only the beginning, you’ll also need to learn counting, deviations, betting strategies and count conversions if you truly wish to winnings that more than make up for any losses.
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