The Basic Rules of Blackjack
To join a blackjack table and enjoy the experience you just need to know the basics and have a little bit of practice to gain confidence. This game is super simple for beginners to learn but leaves plenty of room for improvement. Mastering a basic blackjack strategy or basic strategy blackjack is a key achievement at the beginning of anyone’s blackjack journey.
Beating the house is the ultimate goal and players do that by accumulating more points than a dealer has. The challenge is the total can’t exceed 21. That’s the dilemma players face. Sometimes they are unsure whether they should risk getting another card to improve the hand or stop before it’s too late.
Dealer is in charge of all card handling. Every participant at the table gets 2 cards. But one of the dealer’s cards is face down, making the situation less favorable for gamblers. During the game, players just need to know a few words to explain their decisions.
- Hit/Stand. Two cards that every participant receives at the beginning aren’t the only cards they can have. In some cases, getting more cards is the best option. If you need an extra card, simply say/click Hit. A dealer will give you another card and wait for your next decision. When you are satisfied with your hand, say Stand.
- Double Down. This option is an integral part of every blackjack variant. When you Double, that means you want to double the stake and take only one extra card. The opportunity comes only once after two initial cards are released. After a player Hits at least once, there’s no more Double Down option for that hand. It’s also impossible to take another card after Doubling Down. So, only make this decision knowing that it is final.
- Split Pairs. When two cards have the same face value, the option to Split can be used. One hand is split into two separate and played one by one just like any regular hand. It’s possible to Hit/Stand or Double and in some cases Split again.
Once all players at the table are fine with what they have or go bust, a dealer reveals its face-down card. Some game variants are played with all dealer cards visible from the beginning. But less favorable rules get introduced as well to balance this out.
Does Blackjack Strategy Really Work
Blackjack is a game in which player decisions play a major role and strategies can make a real difference. Not all of them, however, will have a positive effect. In the early stage of your blackjack journey, you should know only one strategy, which is truly proven to be effective and is based on pure math and not false assumptions.
But even the best strategy won’t make you win on average more than 99.5% theoretical return. The reason why blackjack is considered to be a source of income for some players is that in physical casinos there’s a chance to count cards and get an edge over the house because card counters keep track of all cards and know when the chances of winning/losing change.
Blackjack Strategy Chart
One way to play the blackjack optimal strategy is to memorize all the scenarios and decisions to make. But there’s an easier solution. Learn to use a blackjack basic strategy chart that explains all the moves to be taken in all of the possible situations. It’s very easy to use and allows applying the basic strategy even by complete beginners. The chart will also give plenty of time to effortlessly memorize the strategy.
How to Read blackjack charts
Below is one of the versions of the strategy chart blackjack. There are many of them but the main difference is usually in the styling while the content is the same. Since different blackjack versions have specific rules, you’ll find different tables if there’s an additional rule.
At the top of the table, users locate a dealer’s card. At the left side of the table is a player’s total. Look at the top line and find there a dealer’s card value. Then locate your total in the first vertical row of the table. Find the point of their intersection and it will say what to do in this situation according to the basic strategy. For instance, dealer’s got 7 against your 14. At their intersection, you’ll see H, which stands for Hit.
Another example is a dealer’s 5 and a player’s 12. That’s a confusing scenario as 12 isn’t a favorite hand and many players will want to hit, but the table says Stand, because the scenario is unfavorable for the dealer as well.
There are a couple more things to know about blackjack. Soft hand is when Ace is present. This type of hand is called Soft, because Ace can give 1 or 11 points, and this characteristic changes many things in the strategy. Hard hands are those that don’t have an Ace and their value is fixed. So, blackjack rules chart will give a separate set of instructions depending on whether the hand is Soft or Hard.
The most common version is a six-pack blackjack. But some game variants are played with a single deck. Because the number of cards in a shoe is important, the basic strategy is adjusted depending on the number of decks. The rules of the single deck variant are the same as those of multi-deck versions with the only difference being that 52 cards are used. That makes it easier to remember which cards come out and which cards are left and decision making becomes easier.
The chart reads the same way as described above. Look up the dealer’s card at the top and your hand at the left. The chart is largely similar to the common six-deck chart but they disagree on what to do when players have 8 or 9 and a dealer has less than 7. As a single deck gives more confidence, instead of Hitting, players should Double Down when they have 8 against the dealer’s 5 and 6.