BlackJack Strategy

By: Harper Whitefield

Knowing and acting uppon to the following simple blackjack strategies can increase your odds significantly. Please note that card counting is not allowed in Vegas casinos, so be carefull with that! Playing according to the optimal playing scheme is not illegal, and increases your chances of winning!

Optimal playing scheme

If blackjack is played according to the following scheme, the house win percentage decreases to below the 1%. This means that this game will give you the best possible odds you can get in a casino! The basic strategy is quite simple, all you have to do is to learn the following scheme and act uppon it!

? Dealer’s Hand
Your
Hand
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
8 H H H H H H H H H H
9 H D D D D H H H H H
10 D D D D D D D D H H
11 D D D D D D D D D H
12 H H S S S H H H H H
13 S S S S S H H H H H
14 S S S S S H H H H H
15 S S S S S H H H H H
16 S S S S S H H H H H
17 S S S S S S S S S S
A,2 H H H D D H H H H H
A,3 H H H D D H H H H H
A,4 H H D D D H H H H H
A,5 H H D D D H H H H H
A,6 H D D D D H H H H H
A,7 S D D D D S S H H H
A,8 S S S S S S S S S S
A,A SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP
2,2 SP SP SP SP SP SP H H H H
3,3 SP SP SP SP SP SP H H H H
4,4 H H H SP SP H H H H H
6,6 SP SP SP SP SP H H H H H
7,7 SP SP SP SP SP SP H H H H
8,8 SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP
9,9 SP SP SP SP SP S SP SP S S
10,10 S S S S S S S S S S

Index:
H = Hit
D = Double
S = Stand
SP = Split

Card Counting

In order to compensate the small house edge the bank still has against a player the follows the optimal playing scheme above, it is necessary to count cards. The idea behind card counting is that the player has some kind of idea what card is coming so that he can make his decision with the help of this information. The basics of card counting are as easy as adding and substracting. The moment the player starts the count will be zero. The count is changed with every card that is shown. This has to be done in the following way:

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
+1 +1 +1 +1 +1 0 0 0 -1 -1

As you can see, you have to add 1 to the count for every 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and you have to substract 1 for every Ace or 10. In case the count has a positive value of 2 or more you will have an advantage against the bank.
Important to know is that the number of decks that is used by the bank has an influence on the score. You will always have to divide the count by the number of decks used. In most casinos a total of 6 decks is used, so that you will always have to divide your score by six. After you have divided the count, you can use the resulting score in the following way:

For a score of +1 and less: Play the minimum bet
For a score of +2 and +3: Play 2x the minimum bet
For a score of +4 and +5: Play 3x the minimum bet
For a score of +6 and +7: Play 4x the minimum bet
For a score of +8 and more: Play 5x the minimum bet

Good luck at the tables!

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