Blackjack Strategy : Lesson 3

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    Lesson 3: Learn Blackjack Strategy
Before we start to learn how to count the cards, we will have to learn what is generally called "The Basic Strategy" and was devoloped mainly by the mathematician Edward Thorpe in the late 50's. This Basic Strategy must always be followed and you must never divert from it. Diverting from basic Strategy will most probably take away that small percentage edge that will make you a winner. Exceptions are if you are using a very sophisticated card-counting strategy (If you were however, you would not be reading this...).

Stay with Basic Strategy at all times! Below are a few lazydog tables that will give you easy to remember decision rules, within Basic Strategy. Complete decision tables can be viewed by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.

Basic Strategy
This is a quick guide to learning Basic Strategy

1. Stand, regardless of the number of decks and the dealer's up card, when your hand is...
  > (10, 10)
2. Always Split when your hand is...
  > (8, 8) because 16 is a terrible blackjack hand.
  > (A,A) because two aces equals 2 or 12.  If you hit 
     and get two 10's, you'll bust.  But if you split the 
      aces you'll get two winning hands of 21!
3.   Never Split when your hand is...
  > (10,10) or fives (5,5) because these hands are 
     good to begin with.
4.   Split when your hand is... 
  > (9,9) and the dealer's face card is a 2 through 9 
     (except 7)
(7,7) and the dealer's up card is a 2 through 7 
  > (6,6) and the dealer's up card is a 2 through 6 
  > (4,4) and the dealer's up card is a 5 or 6 
  > (3,3) and the dealer's up card is a 2 through 7 
  > (2,2) and the dealer's up card is a 2 through 7
5. Doubling Down let's you put more money on the table when the cards are in your favor.  

The best doubling down scenario is if you have a a two card combo of 9, 10, or 11 (if you only hit, you have a 12% chance of winning, but by doubling, your change of winning increases to nearly 18%)

Here are some more tips on doubling down.  
Double on

If the dealer shows

11 2 - 10
10 2 - 9
9 3 - 6
A,7 and A,6 3 - 6
A,5 and A,4 4 - 6
A,3 and A,2 5 - 6
6.   Hit when your hand is an A-7 and the dealer's face card is a 9, 10, or an ace (the dealer's hand averages an 18.23).
7.   Don't hit on a 12 or higher if the dealer's face card is a 6 or lower, most likely you will bust. 
8.   Buying insurance is not recommended because it is not financially rewarding.  If you buy insurance and the dealer does not have a natural blackjack, you lose your insurance bet and play out the hand as usual.  If the dealer does have a natural blackjack, you lose your original bet, but double the insurance - so you come out even.  

Click HERE to open the complete Basic Strategy tables.
Click HERE to go to Lesson 4

    OK, now what?
  I can't really tell you where to play or for how much. That is up to you. Its very difficult to make a living on playing blackjack online... BUT! with the right strategy and the right mindset it is possible.

I've had some very good luck at the Blackjack Ballroom.

Another casino that has been especially fortunate for me is the Golden Tiger casino.

My last tip for good blackjack is a really cool new casino! The Casino Action which offers 1 hour of free playing with 1250$ of the casinos own money - you keep the profit.

In short, try out the casinios I mention above or just go to your own favourite and try the new strategy you have learned here.

I sincerely wish you good luck at the tables!

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