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Basic Strategy

Basic blackjack strategy is the mathematically correct way to play each and every hand at the blackjack table. Each situation based on the dealer’s exposed card and your two starting cards has been run through computer simulations to determine the best play.

In the short term your results will fluctuate up and down because of variance, but over time the computer generated results will play out. Everything that happens at the blackjack table can be predicted on a long term basis because of the set number of cards in the deck.

The Odds

Here’s an example:

In a six deck blackjack game the shoe has 24 of each rank. As cards are removed from the shoe the number of each rank remaining goes down. If 20 aces have been played and 40 cards remain, you know four of the 40 cards are aces, or 10%.

When you know how many cards remain and which cards have been played you can predict how often each of the remaining cards will be dealt next.

From a new deck you have a one out of 13 chance to receive any particular rank of card. You’ll receive an ace as your first card one out of every 13 times on average. But once the ace has been removed from the deck it changes the odds of what you can receive for your next card. Your chances of receiving another ace on the second card are only three out of 51 instead of four out of 52.

This same type of computation is used for every single possible hand you can play at the blackjack table to determine the best basic strategy.

No Excuses

You don’t have to memorize blackjack strategy to use it on every hand. If you play online or on a mobile device you can use a card or printout while you play. When you play in a land based casino you can use a strategy card at the table.

Most players find that once they start using a chart it’s not long before they have most of the basic plays memorized. With a small amount of effort most players can have the entire basic strategy chart memorized in a short amount of time.

This all means you have no excuse when it comes to using basic strategy. If you don’t have it memorized always use a card or chart. If you find yourself in a position where you can’t use a card or chart you shouldn’t play. Any time you play without making every single play the correct way you increase the edge the house is holding over you.

How to Read the Chart

It’s easy to use a blackjack strategy card or chart. Simply find your hand on the left hand side and the dealer’s face up card across the top. Then read the result where the two meet. This is the best possible play for the situation.

Here are a couple examples to help you quickly learn how to read a chart.

If you have a 10 valued card and a three you have a hard 13. Look down the column to the left until you find the hard 13. When the dealer has a nine showing you find the nine across the top row. Then follow the nine down to where it intersects the hard 13 line and you see the proper play is to hit.

If the dealer has a six and you have an ace and a six you find your hand under the soft section and see where it intersects with the dealer six. This shows a double down is the best play. If you happen to be playing a game that doesn’t allow a double down on this hand you should hit.