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Online Casino Project >>> Blackjack Tips

Welcome to the Blackjack Tips Section at Online Casino Conditions.  The following information dishes out the most common and accepted blackjack strategy known to professional gamblers (called the basic blackjack strategy).  Following this (at the bottom of the page), there are links to individual blackjack tips which shed a little more light on the game (tips which only experience and sometimes a little more theorizing can produce).  These are a little bit more specialized than our General Gambling Tips Section, which covers a wider range of topics.  Before, you break out the basic blackjack strategy chart and start to try and memorize every possible action and card scenario, take to time to digest the strategy in all of its rhyme and reason.  By doing so, you will be far better off when the time comes to consult a strategy card:

Regardless of how low a casinos advantage is for a gambling game, the fact remains that all betting games are operated by a degree of chance.  What is hopeful is that this degree of chance can be predicted more accurately in some situations and games than others. 

Blackjack is one such game that facilitates the use of a strategy that can help players make the best decisions based on odds, or mathematical probability - not on luck or intuition.  This is why the following tips are indeed based on mathematical probability determined by computer analysis, and readily compiled into what is known as the Basic Blackjack Strategy.  These days, players will often see this strategy printed on a card in the form of a table with numbers and single letters.  Although this can be a very helpful tool, I personally find this kind of chart to be too intellectual and heady, making the basic blackjack strategy either too intimidating to learn for players, or simply, too difficult to truly grasp without being a genius.  Without saying the following tips are essentially "Blackjack for Dummies", I will say the following is an organized collection of tips that are based on the basic blackjack strategy, thereby insuring the lowest House Odds possible when playing online blackjack

The tips are based on a few factors:  What the dealer's face-up card is, what the player's hand total is, whether the player's hand is a soft or hard hand, and whether to hit, stand, double down, split or surrender when allowed.  (Taking insurance is not considered a factor, except that it is advised to abstain from in all scenarios).

Sound simple?  Well, it really is - especially with some drilling and practice.  Before reading on, be sure you understand what a hard and soft hand is (below) and that you are familiar with the rules of the game, so that you will understand some of the terms I will be throwing about. 

Hard Hands are two card hands composed of any card except an Ace.  They can be classified as pat, no-bust or stiff, which is for your information only, and not needed to master the basic strategy.  Stiff hands are those that are valued from 12 to 16, which pose a risk of busting when hitting an additional card.  No-bust hands are like the name says, in that they cannot bust no matter what value an additional hit card is.  These hands total from 4 to 11.  Pat hands are those that do not need, or rather, should not receive a hit.  These hands range in value from 17 to 21, and are considered the best initial hands a player can receive.

Soft Hands are hands composed of an Ace and another card of any value.  In this case, the Ace will count as an eleven, since no matter the value of the other card (except another Ace, in which case you would split the hand anyways) the hand cannot bust by going over twenty-one.  It is only when the hand receives a hit and the Ace must be counted as a 1 to keep from busting, that the soft hand becomes a hard hand.

 

Tip #1 ------- Know When to Hit/Know When to Stand

Depending on what face-cards the dealer and player have showing, there is a time to take a hit, and there is a time to eventually stand.  The best way player's should go about recognizing the following scenarios is to take note of the dealer's up card first, and then to take note of the sum value of their own hand.  Whether one should hit or stand is based on the probability of the following events.

HARD HANDS

Player Shows a 17, 18, 19 or 20
Always Stand

Dealer Shows a 7, 8, 9, 10 or Ace
Player should Hit with a 16 or below - Otherwise, Stand

Dealer Shows a 4, 5 or 6
Player should Hit with an 11 or below - Otherwise, Stand

Dealer Shows a 2 or 3
Player should Hit with a 12 or below - Otherwise, Stand

 

SOFT HANDS

Player Shows a Soft 19 or 20 (Ace with an 8 or 9)
Always Stand

Player Shows a Soft 18 (Ace with a 7)
Stand when dealer shows a face card of 9, 10, Jack, Queen King or Ace
Hit when dealer shows a face card of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8

Player shows a Soft 17 or less
Always Hit

 

Tip #2 ------- Know When to Double Down

Doubling Down is a terrific way for player's to capitalize on either a dealer's bust or an outstanding hand.  In other words, if it is likely the dealer will bust (depending on their face-up card) or the player will come close to a twenty-one, without going over, it is common to see players doubling down.  Think of the basis for the following "double down tips" to be based on the fact there are more ten value cards than any other card in the deck.  If a player has an 9, 10, or 11 showing, there is a good chance their hit card will be a ten, thus bringing their hand very close to twenty-one.  Likewise, depending on the dealer's up-card, there are times when the dealer's chances of busting are higher, thus giving the double down great potential no matter how low a value the player's hand is.  To simplify, unlike determining whether to hit or stand by first taking note of the dealer's up-card, a player should first learn to recognize when their own hand warrants a doubling down.  If it does, (6 total scenarios possible) then should the player take note of the dealer's hand to follow through with a doubling down.  For hard hands, know that the only hands a player will be possibly doubling down on are hands of 9, 11 or 19.  The probability of these events (weighed in conjunction with the dealer's hand) will dictate whether a players should double down before taking any action on their hand:

HARD HANDS

Player Shows an 11
Double down if the dealer shows anything but an Ace

Player Shows a 10
Double down if the dealer shows any card except a 10 or Ace

Player Shows a 9
Double down when the dealer shows any card except a 3, 4, 5, or 6

 

SOFT HANDS

Player Shows a Soft 17 or 18 (Ace with a 6 or 7)
Double when dealer shows a face card of 3, 4, 5 or 6

Player Shows a Soft 15 or 16 (Ace with a 4 or 5)
Double when dealer shows a face card of  4,5 or 6

Player Shows a Soft 13 or 14 (Ace with a 2 or 3)
Double when dealer shows a face card of 5 or 6

 

Tip #3 ------- Know When to Split a Hand

Splitting hands can be a smart move when certain odds apply.  The first of these odds, or rather, probability of events, is that the player is dealt a pair to begin with.  Without a matching pair, a blackjack hand cannot be split.  Yet, just because a player is dealt a pair, does not mean he or she should split the hand every time.  There is another factor that shapes the advantage of splitting a hand - What the dealer's hand is.  Remember, with the dealer's face-up card, much can be determined about the odds of the dealer busting or hitting near twenty-one.  In relation to that, the following tips apply to splitting a pair into two distinct blackjack hands (To simplify, remember that pairs of 8's and Aces are always split, while pairs of 4, 5, or 10 should never be split, no matter what the dealer has showing):

Player Shows a Pair of Ace's
Always Split, no matter the dealer's up-card

Player Shows a Pair of 8's
Always Split, no matter the dealer's up-card

Player Shows a Pair of 2's
Player should split the hand if the dealer shows a 4, 5, 6, or 7

Player Shows a Pair of 3's (Same Rule as a Pair of 2's)
Player should split the hand if the dealer shows a 4, 5, 6, or 7

Player Shows a Pair of 6's
Player should split if the dealer shows a 3, 4, 5, or 6

Player Shows a Pair of 7's
Player should split if the dealer shows anything less than an 8

Player Shows a Pair of 9's
Player should split if the dealer shows a 7, 10 or Ace

 

Tip #3 ------- Know When to Surrender

Not every version of blackjack allows the surrender option. For those that do, it is best advised to go by the following: For games with 4 or more decks and when the dealer must stand on a Soft 17, the only time you should Surrender is when the dealer's up card is a 10 and your hand is a total of fifteen OR when the dealer's up card is 9,10, or Ace and your hand is a total of 16.  The same goes for games in which the dealer must hit on a Soft 17, with one addition. You should Surrender if the dealer is showing an Ace and you are holding a fifteen.

Such is all a blackjack player needs to know to get buy at the blackjack table without sneakily consulting a blackjack card, or carrying out excessive calculations.  In order to entirely digest these tips, the best recommendation I could give any player is to engage in practice drills of the previously mentioned scenarios.  In other words, all one needs to do is pull out a deck of card and deal four cards to their self and an imaginary dealer.  With the tips printed out on a sheet of paper for quick consulting, one should call aloud the appropriate action to take, followed by a recitation of the exact tip.  For instance, if the player is dealt a pair of 7's and the dealer's up-card is an 8, the player should call out "Do not Split", followed by "Split 7 pairs only when the dealer's up-card is anything less than an 8".  In this particular case, the player should then commence to play out the hand by determining whether to hit or stand.  Looking at the dealer's up-card of 8, the player should call out "Hit" followed by "Dealer shows a 7, 8, 9, 10 or Ace, player should hit with a 16 or below."  (Since a pair of 7's is fourteen, this rule applies)  The player should then play out the rest of the hand accordingly.

Another drill player's can exercise is one that emphasizes a particular action or tip.  In order to carry this out, the player should separate the cards of a deck into their value.  Then, pretending the dealer's face-down card is dealt, the player should deal out one face up card to the dealer.  If the hit or stand strategy is being practiced, the player should then deal two face-up cards to their self and call aloud the appropriate action.  Leaving the dealer's up-card the same, the player should deal another two cards, repeating the steps of the drill.  After becoming familiar with rules governing the dealer's particular up-card, the player should switch out the dealer's card for another, and repeat the drill by dealing several different hands to their self.

February, 2007 News: Blackjack Institute Seminar to Bring Down the Casinos Edge

Additional Blackjack Tips, Rules and Pointers:

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