Here at casino-strategy.com we are determined to give you the best strategies that gets you the highest possible chances of winning. But that is not as easy as it seems.
To get the most value and fully enjoy this article, you have to be familiar with the Basic Rules of Blackjack - if you're not, consider reading our article on it. Like every game that has decision points, Blackjack requires a strategy to get the most out of the game.
In Blackjack the number of situations that can occur is quite high. The dealer may have 52 different face-up cards dealt to them, and we could get 1275 different starting hands (counting the dealer's upcard). And we did not account for other players at the table (or us playing several hands at the same time) and the later situations that can occur after hitting or splitting our hand. In short, we have a lot of ground to cover and need to simplify our blackjack strategy chart quite a bit.
Here at casino-strategy.com we ran some simulations with the most common Blackjack rules and came to the following blackjack strategy card:
Multideck, Dealer stands at soft 17: Surrender and Double Allowed, No Surrender, No Double, No surrender or double allowed
Multideck, Dealer hits soft 17: Surrender and Double Allowed, No Surrender, No Double, No surrender or double allowed
Single deck, Dealer stands at soft 17: Surrender and Double Allowed, No Surrender, No Double, No surrender or double allowed
Single deck, Dealer hits soft 17: Surrender and Double Allowed, No Surrender, No Double, No surrender or double allowed
It's nothing new, you've probably seen blackjack strategy charts like this before. When you're dealt a hand, sum up its total value, look at the dealer's face-up card and find them in the blackjack strategy chart (don't forget to check whether you have a soft hand); now you should know what action to take. Say you hit maybe once or twice, what now? Well, the chart still applies somewhat, but may be a little bit inaccurate in this case.
Forming a strategy in Blackjack heavily relies on the cards we can see at the table - those cards can't be dealt again. Let's look at an example. For the sake of this example, let's only use a single deck - this will make the example easier to understand. The chart says that if you have 16 and the dealer shows a 7 you should hit. This may seem a little bit controversial, because you need to catch a 2, 3, 4 or an A not to bust - that's not a lot of cards. However, the chance of the dealer having a card worth 10 in the hole is so high you still need to risk it.
But what if you were not dealt 16, but got there from a 2,3 starting hand and hitting a 4, an Ace, a 3 and another 3. So your hand is 2,3,4,A,3,3. Just to make things worse, the guy on our left has an Ace and the guy on our right just busted his K2 hand with another T. In this case hitting would be the worst play. Remember, we needed 2,3,4,A (a total of 16 cards) but 8 of these are dead. The chance of us getting a favourable card (our ‘outs’ to a good hand) has been bisected. The chances of the dealer having a T in the whole has increased though (since we see all these dead low cards), but that's not nearly enough to make us want to try our luck for the remaining 8 cards. This is called card removal effect.
How applicable is this to a 6-deck format? Somewhat, but to a much lesser extent. While having 8 cards dead in a single deck format is ~15% of the cards, 8 cards dead in a 6-deck format is only 2.6%. This means that if you decide to follow our charts in a multi-deck environment, you more than likely won't be making a huge mistake - and even if a better option was had, the difference in expected value is probably only fractional.
For now we'll leave you with this, start getting familiar with casino-strategy blackjack strategy card and think about the situations you might want to deviate from it, but don't go ham, there is only a handful of those. If you're interested in how the blackjack strategy chart is built-up and evaluations of some special situations - take a look at our Blackjack Advanced Strategy Articles.
Do you want to test your freshly gained blackjack knowledge? Try out our very own blackjack trainer, the Blackjack Guru!