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Basic Strategy

Here we review the safest way to play out your blackjack hand in order to increase your odds of being a winner. We understand there are other strategies which are more complex, however these work well for beginners.

One of the first thing you need to know is how the dealer plays their hand.

How The Dealer Plays Their Hand
The dealer must play his black jack hand in a specific way, with no choices allowed. The Black Jack table should be clearly marked whether the "Dealer Stands on all 17's" or "Dealer hits on soft 17's." 

Dealer Stands on all 17's
This is the most common rule. The dealer must continue to take cards until their total equals 17 or higher. 

Dealer Hits on soft 17's
The difference here is that when the dealer has a soft total of 17.  Hands such as (Ace,6),  (Ace,5,Ace), and (Ace, 2, 4) are all examples of soft 17.  The dealer hits these hands, and stands on soft 18 or higher, or hard 17 or higher.  This method reduces your odds of winning.


Black Jack Basic Strategy Chart

We have a few chart variations depending whether you are playing with 1 deck or 6 decks. Note: If you play online read how the are set up before you begin.

In the following chart, look for the value of your hand in the left-hand column. Then look for the value of dealer's upcard in the top row (A = Ace, T = 10 or Picture Card). The chart will tell you which option is statistically favorable:

1 Deck - Playing with a Hard 17
HARD TOTALS Dealer's Upcard
Your Cards 23456789TA
17 S S S S S S S S S S
16 S S S S S H H H H H
15 S S S S S H H H H H
14 S S S S S H H H H H
13 S S S S S H H H H H
12 H H S S S H H H H H
11 D D D D D D D D D D
10 D D D D D D D D H H
9 D D D D D H H H H H
8 H H H D D H H H H H
 
Key:H Hit
S Stand
D Double if allowed; If not, hit.


 
6 Decks - Playing with a Hard 17
HARD TOTALS Dealer's Upcard
Your Cards 23456789TA
17 S S S S S S S S S S
16 S S S S S H H SH SH SH
15 S S S S S H H H SH H
14 S S S S S H H H H H
13 S S S S S H H H H H
12 H H S S S H H H H H
11 D D D D D D D D D D
10 D D D D D D D D H H
9 D D D D D H H H H H
8 H H H D D H H H H H
 
Key:H Hit
S Stand
D Double if allowed; If not, hit.
 SH Surrender if possible otherwise hit

What is Surrender?
Surrender

The decision to surrender must be made before any other choice about playing your hand. Surrender may not be an option, but if it is you need to know what it is. 

Surrender offers you as a player the choice to fold your hand, at the cost of half of the original bet. You must make that decision prior to taking any other action on the hand. For example, once you draw a third card, or split, or double down, surrender is no longer an option.

Two varieties of surrender exist, early and late.
Early - (Rarely offered) A player choose to surrender before the dealer checks his cards for a blackjack.
Late - (More common) The dealer checks for blackjack first, and then only if he does not have blackjack will allow players to surrender their hands.

Enjoy the tables and Good Luck!


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