Blackjack strategy can be described as a collection of theories centred on how to play a blackjack game in a way that maximises players’ winning odds and minimises the house’s edge. These strategies are compiled from extensive mathematical data and have been tested by computer simulations, and can be adhered to as a general rule to predict the outcome of a certain action or bet in a casino game of blackjack.
Standing and When to Stand:
‘Standing’ is a term used to describe a player declining an additional card. Players are urged to always stand upon holding a pair of 10’s, an Ace and 8, Ace and 9 or a hard 17 to 1 combination.
Blackjack strategy also encourages that a player should stand or hit as they see fit when holding these combinations. Players holding a hard 12 should stand if the dealer is holding a 4 to 6. If holding a hard 13 to 16, players should stand if the dealer is holding a 2 to 6. An Ace and 7 holder should stand if the dealer’s card is a 2, 7 or 8, and anyone holding a pair of 9’s should stand if the dealer has a 7, 10 or Ace.
Doubling Down a Hand
When the players double their hand, for example here, the value of their initial stake is multiplied by two and they may take a single extra card from the deck. Players can only double down on their hands on their first move, either with their original cards or when playing a hand created by splitting. Players who do not wish to double their hands may hit. Players should double down when holding:
- A pair of 5’s: double down if the dealer holds a card from 2 to 9
- An Ace and 7: double down if the dealer has a card from 3 to 6
- An Ace and 6: double if the dealer holds a 3 to 6
- An Ace and 4/Ace and a 5: double if the dealer has a 4, 5 or 6
- An Ace and 2 or Ace and 3: double if the dealer holds a 5 or 6
- Hard 11: double if the dealer holds a 2 to 10. Hit if he is holding an Ace.
Splitting Hands and When to Split
Splitting is a tactic involving separation of a hand of cards containing two of a kind. Players of blackjack can only split a hand on their first move in the game. If a player decides not to split, he or she can still ask for an additional card, or a ‘hit’, on any of the card combinations below. Players should split their hands when they are holding:
- A pair of 9’s: split the hand if the dealer holds a 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, or an 8 or 9
- A pair of 7’s: split the hand if the dealer holds a card from 2 to 6
- A pair of 6’s: split the hand if the dealer holds a card from 2 to 6
- A pair of 4’s: split the hand if the dealer holds a 5 or 6 card
- Pairs of 2’s and 3’s: split the hand if the dealer is holding a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7
- A pair of Aces or 8’s: always split