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.