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Advanced Blackjack Strategy

Once you’ve mastered the basics of blackjack, you’ll realize that your hand is not the only factor in deciding what to do when playing online blackjack. The dealer’s hand is also a critical factor. Of course, you can only see the dealer’s upcard, meaning that you are working with a limited amount of information. Many different systems have been used to work out the odds, and there are many charts available to help determine what moves should be made in every single situation. This advanced blackjack strategy section will help you understand on the elements you need to think about in each hand.

Special Rules

There are different rules that vary from game to game and really change your play strategy, so you should be careful to be aware of these rules. First, you should be aware of whether there is an early surrender rule. This is a big advantage in certain situations, so if an online casino offers a blackjack version with surrender, it will probably have a lower house edge. Late surrender is not nearly as helpful.

The second rule that varies game-by-game is whether the dealer hits or stands on a soft seventeen. It is to your advantage to play a game where the dealer must stand on soft seventeen. You should always make sure to only play at tables that pay 3:2 for blackjack. If they pay worse, then the house edge increases a lot. Another rule that can make the house edge rise radically is a rule which makes the dealer win in every tie. Don’t play at a table like that. Simply walk away. It’s better to leave with the cash in your pocket than to lose it at a rogue table.

Strategy For Regular Hard Hands

Using this basic strategy for hard hands will lower the house edge by a considerable margin.

  • If you hold 8 or less, always hit.
  • For nine, double against a dealer’s upcard of 3-6. Otherwise hit.
  • For tens, including a pair of fives, double against anything except a 10 or an ace. Hit against those.
  • For eleven, hit against anything except an ace.
  • For hard twelve, not including two sixes, stand against a 4,5,6. Otherwise, hit.
  • For hard thirteen to sixteen, stand against anything less than a seven. Hit against seven and up.
  • For hard seventeen and up, always stand.

Strategy For Soft Hands

When you have a soft hand (a hand that contains an ace) you should follow the strategy outlined below.

  • Always split a pair of aces.
  • A2 or A3 should double against 5 or 6. Otherwise, hit.
  • A4 or A5 should double against 4-6. Otherwise, hit.
  • A6 should double against 3-6. Otherwise, hit.
  • A7 should stand against 2, 7, and 8. A7 should double against 3-6. For 9, 10, or A, hit.
  • A8 and up should stand.

Splitting

Splitting is only an option when you are dealt 2 cards of the same value. when you do have the choice of whether or not to split, use this basic strategy.

  • 2s and 3s should be split against 4-7. Otherwise, hit.
  • 4s and 5s should never be split.
  • 6-6 should be split against 3-6. Otherwise, hit.
  • 7-7 should be split against 2-7. For 8 and up, hit.
  • 9-9 should be split against 2-6 and 8-9. Otherwise, stand. Remember that 18 is a fairly high number.
  • Never split 10s.
  • Always split aces and eights.

If you can resplit (for example if you are dealt 2 8s, split them and then receive a 3rd 8), resplit according to the above rules. Resplitting improves your odds, so do it as much as you are allowed to.

Insurance

The insurance bet is a bet that the dealer will have blackjack. This is a bad bet unless you have been card-counting. Statistically speaking, it is a worse than average bet, so it should not be taken.