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This is dynamite! An explosive, mathematically sound Optimal Blackjack Strategy to play the game right. My previous article showed how card counting gives you a theoretical edge over the casino. But I also warned you of the risk in playing blackjack that way. This article increases your odds of winning — without the danger of getting thrown out of the casino.

Best Friend, Worst Enemy

Blackjack is a game that can be your closest buddy or deadliest foe in a casino. Because, played right, Blackjack potentially offers you the best EV of all the games in the house. But played wrong, blackjack will run you dry in record time. That’s why casinos are delighted that most people at the Blackjack table don’t really know what they’re doing.

Optimal Blackjack Strategy isn’t a new concept; it’s been around for ages, actually. Surprisingly, however, most recreational Blackjack players still don’t follow it, and I’ve wondered why for the longest time. So I’ve spoken to some people I know: regular casino patrons who like shuttling between the Blackjack and Baccarat tables. I’ve found that a conversation with frequent gamblers inevitably veers towards either math or philosophy. And the philosophical trail usually ends in a resigned tone. “If it’s meant to be, I’ll make my money. Otherwise, at least I tried.”

 

Confucius (playing Blackjack) say - "Hit me or don't hit me, I will still beat you" Blackjack dealer - "Huh?!"

Confucius say: “Hit me or not, I will still beat you.”
Blackjack dealer say: “Huh?!”

 

Using Your Brain

Really? That attitude annoys me, big time. Because, to me, trying really involves this: studying the game, understanding the logic and math behind it, crafting a strategy, and then using your creativity and analytical skills to break it down — and reconstruct it in your favour.

Regardless, I’ve found that the key reason for most gamblers’ dismissal of strategy is a mix of confusion and ignorance. Granted, when you do a Google Image search for ‘Optimal Blackjack Strategy‘, your screen shows a plethora of ‘rainbow-ish’ tables. These can indeed seem daunting to decipher. So I’ve simplified it for you here.

Basic Rule Of Thumb In The Optimal Blackjack Strategy

If there’s only 1 thing you’re willing to remember, this is it:

When you have a hard 17* or higher, always Stand.
When you have a hard 11 or lower, always Hit.

Hit until you reach…

Dealer’s up card (the card showing)
7,8,9,10,A 17
4,5,6 12
2,3 13

*A ‘hard 17’ means your cards cannot represent anything else — as opposed to a ‘soft 17’ (that is, Ace + 6), which can total either 17 or 7 since Ace can represent either 11 or 1.

For soft hands (containing an Ace):
When you have a soft 17 or lower, always Hit.
When you have a soft 19 or higher, always Stand.
When you have a soft 18, Hit only when the dealer’s up card is 9,T or A.

Hit until you reach…

Dealer’s up card (the card showing)
9,T,A 19
8 or below 18

That’s pretty easy to remember, isn’t it?

Double Down And Split

If you want to dig a little deeper, let’s talk about Double Down and Split bets as well:

For Double Down bets:

Your first 2 cards Double down if dealer has…
Total = 11 10 or below
Total = 10 9 or below
Total = 9 4,5,6
A2 to A7 4,5,6

 

For Split bets:

You have… Split if dealer has…
A,8 Any card
4,5,T Never split
2,3,6,7 2,3,4,5,6
9 2,3,4,5,6,8,9

 

Conclusion

Using this Optimal Blackjack Strategy gives you an Expected Value (EV) of approximately -0.005. This means you’re losing only half a cent for every dollar bet in the long run. That’s way better than any other casino game I know of. In fact, the number goes even lower if the casino is using fewer than 4 decks. And guess what? Your EV is almost neutral if you stumble across a table that’s using only 1 deck. Now that’s what I call a sweet deal!

 

Hey! Take a gamble by connecting with us on social media. Odds are you’ll love it.

 

Images: renotahoe

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