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BLACKJACK STRATEGY 

Blackjack is a classic game of chance: no luck, no gain. The bank is always at an advantage. As a good player, however, you are not at the mercy of luck for better or worse. There are a few effective strategies that you can use to minimize your bank advantage, improve bad cards or protect yourself against excessive losses and, with good cards, increase your chances of winning. This applies to the online world as well as to a visit at a real casino.

Before you get into the Blackjack strategy, you should be familiar with the basic Blackjack rules.

Doubling down

The double down is one of the simplest blackjack strategies. The purpose of doubling down is to increase the bet on a good hand and thus take advantage of the chance to win a higher payout. So, you would make twice the profit with one game. However, if you lose the game, the bank will receive the full doubled stake.

When the first hand is dealt, check your cards to see if doubling down is an option for you. You then simply place the same bet in the center of the table again that you originally placed before drawing the next card. Usually doubling down is also possible after a split.

Important: If you double down, you will only receive one more card. So doubling is only really useful for a few special constellations. The basic prerequisite for meaningful doubling down is that you have 9, 10 or 11 points with your first hand. (At some tables doubling is only possible under this condition). When doubling down, you speculate that the one or more cards you receive will also have a high score, so that you end up with 21 points or as close as possible. If the croupier also has 10 or 11 points with the first hand, doubling would be risky because there is a relatively high probability that he also has a good or very good game. If you have 10 or 11 points with the first hand, doubling almost always makes sense. The Blackjack strategy chart is the best way to determine which card constellation you should bet on doubling down.

Doubling is not offered at every table. Check the house or table rules first to see if the option is available to you. A special form is the option to double down after the first card has been drawn - but this is rarely offered.

Splitting

Splitting allows you to make two games out of one originally unfavorable hand under certain conditions. If the croupier gives you two cards with the same number, you can split this pair. To do this, you must double your original bet: each split continues to play with the same bet. 

Splitting and the associated doubling of your bet makes sense if you increase your chances of winning by splitting. For example, if you get the eight twice on your first hand, you would have 16 points without splitting. This is a bad value for a first hand, because there is a high risk that you will overbuy with another card. If you don't take another card, however, you have a bad hand against the dealer with 16 points. The situation is different if you split your eights and use each as the base for a separate game.

Insurance

Blackjack is all about stochastics. And admittedly: If the dealer's face-up card is an ace, it looks bad for you! The chance that the casino employee has a face card is disproportionately high. He could immediately beat you with a Blackjack if you don't beat him to it. A potential solution: opt for the insurance! In doing so, you place an additional bet (half of your placed bet) on the Insurance field. 

If the dealer actually has Blackjack in his hand, the insurance pays out at 2:1. Positive: You will not experience any losses and can immediately start the next round, in which you might have the Blackjack in your hand yourself! But be careful: If the dealer's second card in the example does not turn out to be a King, Queen, Jack or 10, you will lose your insurance, but you can still win the round. 

Even if insurance sounds like more security and the chance of higher winnings, it is not. Probability calculations show that the bank has an advantage of about 7.7% when it comes to insurance. Basically, insurance cannot be recommended as a strategy for profitable Blackjack.

Surrender

Surrender is an advanced option of the Blackjack game, which is widely used in Europe, but not in the USA. Depending on the casino, it may not be available to players: Each casino, whether online or offline, has its own regulations in this regard. 

The surrender option allows you to get out of the game early in case of a bad hand, thus minimizing losses. Once the first hand has been dealt, you as a player can surrender and reclaim half of the bet made. Surrender is thus a blackjack strategy for minimizing losses. 

Surrender is usually only possible directly after the first hand has been dealt. If you have already taken another card, the surrender option is no longer available. When it makes sense to surrender depends on the exact constellation, i.e. your cards compared to the dealer's hand.

card counting

The card counting is a strategy that is not popular in casinos and can even lead to a ban. So be aware of the consequences before you use card-counting. The sometimes rigid card counting rules are of course an indication that it can bring you great advantages. Card counting is a strategy that can even cancel out the bank advantage.

Card counting does not mean that you have to remember exactly which card has been placed where and when. There are easier and more efficient techniques. For example, you can classify the cards into three different categories according to their value. Cards with two to six points are placed in category +1, cards with seven to nine points are placed in category 0, and all cards with a value of ten and the aces are placed in category -1. Now you can calculate the probabilities: If at the beginning of the game a card of category +1 is placed and afterwards a card of category -1, the game is in balance. The result, however, only becomes significant when there are only a few cards left in the deck. If the result of the count is +1 after a few hands, you can conclude that there are more cards of higher value in the shoe.

BLACKJACK STRATEGY CHART

When applying the strategies described above, it can be helpful to have a blackjack chart at hand. This will give you an overview of the best course of action in the case of certain card combinations. The following abbreviations apply to all of the following charts:

  • S: Stand - do not draw another card
  • H: Hit - take another card
  • D: Double - if possible, double
  • SP: Split

Two identical hand cards

If your starting hand contains two identical cards the question of a split arises first and foremost, but of course other possibilities come into consideration as well. For a detailed overview of the recommended approach, please see the following chart:

Blackjack chart for Identical Hand Cards Blackjack chart for Identical Hand Cards

A "SOFT" STARTING HAND WITH AN ACE

A starting hand with an ace is called a "soft hand" because the ace in this case counts for 11 points but automatically converts to a 1 when overbought. You do not risk overbuying with an additional card. Therefore, it is often worthwhile to take another card or even double down. A detailed overview of the recommended procedure can be found in the following overview:

Blackjack Chart for Soft Hand Blackjack Chart for Soft Hand

A "HARD" STARTING HAND WITHOUT AN AS

A starting hand without an ace is called a "hard hand". If the sum of the two starting cards exceeds 11, you risk overbuying yourself with an additional card. Therefore, in contrast to the cases presented earlier, with a hard starting hand it is much more often advisable not to draw an additional card. As a general rule, you should only double down if your own starting hand is between 9 and 11, and even then, you should take the dealer's hand into account. You can find more strategy tips in the following strategy chart:

Blackjack Table for Hard Hand Blackjack Table for Hard Hand

 


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