I tell any Players who want to learn Blackjack Strategy that, though your cards matter, the dealer's one face-up card matters more. Here's why.
Blackjack is played with either a single deck, which is more advantageous to the Player as it makes tracking cards easier, or multiple decks. Each deck consists of thirteen (13) different card types starting with 2 and ending with Ace. There are eight (8) cards that are worth their face value; one (1) card that is either worth 1 or 11; and four (4) cards that are worth 10. These 10-valued cards consist of the 10-card, Jack, Queen, and King. This brings the probability of holding a 10-valued card to 1 in 3. So, let's say the dealer has an Ace showing, this means that his chance of having Blackjack, i.e. an Ace and a 10-valued card, is 1 in 3 without even taking a hit.
The same applies if the dealer's face up card is a 6. There is still that 1 in 3 chance that his face-down card would be a 10; giving him a total of 16. He will have to hit again according to Blackjack Rules and then, most likely, he will go over 21. So, there is a lot of strategic information in simply seeing the dealer's face up card.
Okay, how would you handle this play - the dealer has a 6 and you have 12? The first thought that would come to mind is that 12 is not close enough to 21 to win and that 16 is. While that is true in the normal sense, it doesn't apply the same way in Blackjack, because there is a 1 in 3 chance that you will hit and receive 10 a second time giving you a total of 22 and an immediate bust. In this case, the best strategy would be to Stand because the dealer would most likely have to hit twice and if he gets two 10 valued cards, he will Bust.
Let's say the dealer shows a 7 and you have 16. There's a 1 in 3 chance that he has a 10 and may beat you. So you now need to realize that, if you take a hit, you have a 5 in 12 chance of getting a card that will score you 17 or more and either tie or win the game. These cards are Ace, 2, 3, 4, and 5. In this instance, the best strategy would be to hit. General Blackjack Strategy requires the player to take fewer hits if the dealer shows a 6 or lower and more hits if the dealer shows a 7-card or higher. This is because a 6-card or lower indicates that the dealer's hand is weak and may result in him taking too many hits and busting while a 7-card or more is an indicator of a strong hand which will require less hits by the dealer; thus increasing the likelihood of winning.
Advanced Blackjack Options
Even if you're a novice, you can still use these advanced playing options:
If you are dealt two (2) cards that are the same number (for e.g. Ace, Ace), you can Split them into two (2) separate hands. You will need to double your bet when Splitting. Once you do this; then you can play each of the hands against the dealer's hand and increase your likelihood of winning at least once over the dealer's hand. There is also the possibility that you could lose both hands. If you are dealt two (2) Aces, ALWAYS split them. Aces together only give you a score of 12 but two (2) Aces separately give you a pretty good chance of hitting a Blackjack. The same applies for 8-cards, ALWAYS split. This type of play, in essence, turns a bad blackjack hand into two (2) good ones.
This gives you the option of taking a second hit so to speak. If you have two (2) cards, you double your bet and get one hit only. It is good strategy to double down when you have a 10 or 11; especially when the dealer has a face up 6-card, because there is a 1 in 3 chance that you will score 20 or possibly even 21 and either push or win the game outright.
There you have it Basic Blackjack Strategy in a nutshell. But before you go thinking that you can use these strategies to win your next Blackjack game, there's more that you need to learn. Take some time to review the Basic Blackjack Strategy Chart courtesy of 32 Red Casino, which will help you to understand when to Hit, Stand, Split, and Double and which cards give you the better advantage of using these strategies. It is very important to note that, while these strategies will only improve your chances of winning, they are not guaranteed. The only way sure-fire way to win at Blackjack is to count cards.
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