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Splitting And Doubling Down

Splitting And Doubling Down In Blackjack

Splitting and Doubling down

The whole idea behind splitting and doubling down  in blackjack is as simple as this: you should amass as much money as you can when the odds are in your favor. If they are not, you should try and get out as economically as you can. The trick lies in realizing when your odds are good and when they are not. Here are a few pointers that will help you become rich.

When to split?

If William Shakespeare was a Blackjack player, he would have probably said something like, “to split or not to split, that is the question”.

Splitting is one of the most important options of Blackjack where you get to win more amount in the game when the dealers deals you a pair of cards. For example: Let’s say you are betting twenty bucks and the dealer deals you a pair of eights. Now you have a chance to split those two eights and bet on them separately thereby making two hands out of one. Though, you have to put up another twenty for betting on the other eight. If the dealer deals you another eight, then guess what, you get to split it again.

Let us try and understand the logic behind splitting the cards. If you have two eights, your sum is sixteen and it will most probably break if you decide to hit it again. Alternatively, if you split the cards, you get to make two good hands out of one bad hand. Although we have to remember that your winning still depends on what cards the dealer has got. Splitting your cards in such a case will improve your odds at winning nonetheless.

There are a few things that we must memorize with regards to splitting.

  • Always split Aces and Eights. One crucial point you have to take care of is that you get only one more card dealt on an ace and no more.
  • Never split tens. Seeing you already have a twenty, you wouldn’t want to risk ending up with two bad hands. Also never split fours or fives.
  • If the dealer turns over a four, five or six, you should not mind splitting twos, threes, sixes, sevens and nines.

Doubling down

Doubling down is an option in blackjack that allows the players to double their bet by a 100 percent. They can do this by committing to stand after receiving exactly one more card.

When do you double down?

The ideal time to double down is when you have a total of 11. This is because, as we have stated earlier, the most probable card you can get when a card is dealt is a ten. Doubling down at 11 therefore improves your chances of winning more money.

How about doubling down at 9 or10? It is a good idea to bet on 10 when the top card of the dealer is not an ace or ten. One can also double down at 9 if the dealer is showing one of the bad cards i.e., 4, 5 or 6.

It is also a good idea to double down with an ace + any card between two and seven, if the dealer’s top card is a 4, 5 or 6.

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Blackjack Bankroll Management

Don’t Lose A Lot Of Money Playing Blackjack

Managing your chips

The money should be kept on the table where the dealer can see and count it. Don’t put the chips in or around the betting circle as the dealer might think you are placing a bet.

Surrender

Surrender is another strategic blackjack option which lets you minimize your losses. This is similar to how surrendering in a war keep your resources alive. This is how it works:

If you think that you are dealt one of the worst hands possible, for example, a jack and a six. And the dealer is showing a nine, ten or an ace. Surrendering your cards means that you give up half your bet and get out of the rest of the hand. This blackjack strategy saves you half the money on a hand you are certain to lose. You have to keep in mind that ‘surrender’ goes through only when the dealer does not have a black jack. Experts say that it is a good idea to surrender when you have a total of 15 or 16.

Money management

Money management is one of the most important things you have to keep in mind in a blackjack game so that you don’t incur a loss. It is recommended that you always start betting with the minimum bet on the table. Then upon winning it, you double up your money reserves. Now, again start with the minimum bet and then upon winning, keep your initial betting money with you and bet the remaining amount. Now you win again, bet double the minimum bet and keep the rest with you. And so on. In case of a loss at any stage revert back to the minimum bet. This is easily demonstrated with an example. Assume you are starting with $50 on a table with $5 minimum bet.

Bet                              Result of the Hand                Reserves after the hand

5                                              Win                                         50 + 5

5                                              Win                                         50 + 10

10                                            Win                                         50 + 20

20                                            Win                                         50 + 40

40                                            Lose                                        50

5                                              Win                                         50 + 5

Hand signals

It is important to know about the hand signals and gestures when playing in a casino. If the cards are dealt face up and you need another card, all you need to do is gently scratch the table or tap on it. If you don’t want another card, what you simply do is place your hand a few inches above your cards and wave it sideways indicating that you don’t need another card. To indicate that you don’t need another card, you could move the cards under the chips you bet.

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New Players Strategy

Strategy For Players Starting Out Playing Blackjack

Blackjack is the most popular and the most profitable game in a casino. Blackjack’s history can be traced back to a 17th century French game ‘Vingt et un’ which translates literally to “Twenty-one”. The object of Blackjack is to get as closer to twenty one than the dealer gets without going past the number.

Basic terminology: Here are a few words you must know before you sit at a blackjack table

Hit – Get a card

Stay – Stop getting cards

Double down – Double the bet

Shoe – The device holding all the cards

Break – Breach 21

Finding your blackjack table:

Check out what the minimum bet at a table is. Look for the table where the minimum bet is lowest and play there till you get the hang of the game. Secondly, you have to read the rules for the dealers which are usually written on the table itself. For example, if it says the dealer must draw to seventeen and stand on all eighteens, it means that even if the dealer gets an Ace and a seven, he has to stay there because the total comes out to an even eighteen. Though he might have chances of getting a higher sum if he hits it, he has to stay on it since the rules dictate so. Such tables where the dealer is constrained are the tables to look out for.

Card counting

Impressed by the amount of money Kevin Spacey and his students made in the movie ‘21’ by counting cards? Though it is not illegal to do card counting mentally, a player might be banned from a casino if he is caught doing so.

Here we will go over the hi-low card counting system and see how it works. In this each card is given value of a positive one, a zero or a negative one. The player in turn keeps a running total of the cards that are dealt thereby making him/her able to calculate the probability of a high card (a ten) being dealt.

In the Hi-low card counting system, each card is assigned a specific point value. Aces and ten value cards are a negative one; 7, 8 or 9 are a zero; the remaining cards are a positive one. As the game goes on, the player keeps a total of the cards that are being dealt. A higher sum means that there is a good probability that the next card dealt might be a ten value card. If the sum is a zero, the deck is said to be neutral.

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Basic Strategy

Basic Strategy for Blackjack

Basic Strategy: The right way to play blackjack is by employing the basic strategy. Moreover, it is very simple to understand. The one thing that basic strategists assume is that the face down card of the dealer is always a ten. Since there are sixteen cards in the deck i.e., ten, jack, queen and king, whose value is ten, the probability of the card being a ten is much higher. Though the basic strategy does not ensure your win, it increases your chances of a profit in the long run manifold.

Let us take an example to demonstrate this. We will consider a scenario where you are dealt two cards which show a ten and a seven. The dealer’s face up card shows a six. Since we are now assuming that the face down card of the dealer is a ten, his sum is sixteen and yours is seventeen. The natural human yearning for that perfect twenty one will want a person to hit that seventeen to make it a Blackjack. But a little bit of reasoning will help you deviate from that line of thought. As we have already showed how the probability of any card being a ten is higher than the other values, it is in our best interest to assume that the next card to come out of the shoe will also be a ten. So, if you hit that seventeen of yours, chances are you lose the game because you will go over twenty one. Therefore, your best bet is to make the dealer take it.

Adapting to the basic strategy takes a bit of time and practice. One thing you have to remember is that the cards you get are of lesser importance than the ones the dealer gets. You also should clear from your head the misconception that you are trying to make a good hand. The question still remains, when to stay on and when to hit. Now let us generalize the example we have just taken and put the whole of the basic strategy in a nutshell.  Look at the following three rules that simplify it.

  • If the dealer is showing a bad card like two, three, four, five or six and you have got twelve or more in your hand, you risk breaking by taking another card.
  • On the other hand, if the dealer is showing a good hand like seven, eight, nine, ten or an ace, and if you got sixteen or less, you should take another card because we are assuming that you have already lost the game.
  • There is an exception to this rule. It is when you have a twelve and the dealer is showing a two. Twelve can be a dangerous sum because there is fifty percent chance that the dealer might hit it and make a better score.

We all know that the dealer’s bottom down card is not always going to be a ten. The reason the basic strategy works is because you are playing the same way consistently. Using the basic strategy in the long run will lower the house edge in blackjack to less than one percent.

That is pretty much all of the theory you need to know about the basic strategy. But you have to remember one thing now, implementing the basic strategy is way more important than just understanding it. And thankfully, you don’t need to memorize all of it. Pocket sized blackjack strategy cards are available everywhere and a casino will allow the player to keep it in front of them and refer to it during gameplay.

Using a basic strategy card:

Blackjack basic strategy cards have a table with all the possible occurrences of a blackjack game written on it. There are different cards for soft totals, hard totals, and pairs for the convenience of the users.