For anyone who is learning blackjack and trying to master this exciting casino game, understanding the blackjack basic strategy is crucial. However, the basic strategy itself is quite elaborate and only years of practice can make one implement this strategy in the most desired way in a game of blackjack.
In this article, we cover a few ways of memorizing blackjack strategies to play with more confidence.
Use a Simple Blackjack Strategy
One important way of learning the blackjack strategy is by simplifying it. That way, blackjack players can remember the best possible actions to take based on their hands.
You can begin by knowing when to split your hand. There are a few thumb rules to follow. Aces and 8's are always to be split while you should never split and 5's. On the other hand, one should split 2, 3, and 7 on cards 2 through 7, split 4's against cards 5 and 6, split 6's on cards 2 through 6, and split 9's against cards 2 through 9 but except 7.
In blackjack, soft hands and hard hands are played differently with the blackjack basic strategy underlines that. Below are the strategies to take on blackjack soft hands.
- Always stand on soft 21 and 20
- Double down against 6 or else stand with a hand of soft 19, comprising ace and 8
- Double against 2-6, stand against 7 and 8, and hit against 9, 10, and Ace with a hand of soft 18, comprising an ace and a 7
- Double against cards 3 to 6 or else stand with a hand of soft 17, comprising an ace and a 6
- Double against cards 4 to 6 or else, hit with a hand of soft 16 and soft 15, comprising an ace and 5 and an ace and 4 respectively
- Double against 5 and 6, otherwise hit with a hand of soft 14 and soft 13, comprising an ace and 3 and an ace and 2 respectively
For blackjack hard hands, below are the following useful strategies to take.
- Surrender 16 against 9- Ace and 15 against a 10
- Stand with a hand of hard 17 and above
- Stand against 2-6 and hit against 7-ace with a hard hand 13 through 16
- Stand against 4-6 and hit against everything else with a hard hand of 12
- Always double down on hard 11
- Double against 2-9 with a hard 10 and double against 3-6 with a hard 9
- Always hit with a hard hand of 8 and below
|11 or less||H||H||H||H||H||H||H||H||H||H|
|12 through 16||S||S||S||S||S||H||H||H||H||H|
|17 or more||S||S||S||S||S||S||S||S||S||S|
Memorizing Your Blackjack Strategy
There are a few techniques, which can help you memorize basic blackjack strategies faster. However, once a player has simplified the basic strategy, memorizing becomes easy anyway. Plus, different people might have different approaches to creating their strategy chart as well as memorizing it.
Here is an approach that is quite useful for beginners.
In this approach, things boil down to a 4 line rhyme, 'Surrender, Split, Double, Hit'. So, players need to ask themselves whether to surrender or not, then whether to split or not, then whether to double or not, and finally, whether to hit or not. Maintaining this order is important. The next step is to look at the simplified blackjack basic strategy and understand when to take each of these actions.
Another approach to memorizing the blackjack basic strategy is to consider two scenarios, first when the dealer is showing 2-6 and second when the dealer is showing 7-A. If the dealer is showing 2-6, the player's strategy should be to make sure that the dealer busts and that he doesn't. On the other hand, if the dealer is showing a 7-A, the player's strategy should be to make a score of 17.
With just these two rules, the basic strategy chart can look like the following:
- Players need to hit on 12 vs 2, and 12 vs 3.
- Players should double if the dealer is showing 3-6.
- Players should double down on 10 or 11 (ideally, players should double if their score is higher than the dealer's up card and should not double if it is a tie).
Methods to Help You Remember Your Blackjack Strategy
Memorizing the blackjack basic strategy is one thing and mastering the strategy well enough to implement it in the right way is another. And practicing is the most obvious way of becoming a pro in blackjack. Since it is not feasible to visit a casino and play live blackjack daily, there are some easier methods to help players remember the blackjack strategy.
Blackjack Live Stream Games
When it comes to blackjack, watching how the game is being played and what actions are being taken by the players can be quite useful. Such live streaming games on blackjack are available on YouTube. Alongside, there is a platform called Twitch, which was founded by two young poker pros. Twitch is a video vertical where you can find streams of people playing online blackjack. Anyone who is trying to learn the blackjack basic strategy better before hitting a casino can observe the strategies as they are being applied.
Free Online Blackjack Games
Free online blackjack games are another helpful method of finding out how much you have been able to memorize the blackjack basic strategy and how promptly you can apply the same in a game. These free blackjack games can be found on the internet and they require you to just play blackjack without involving real money. So, neither do you have any stake nor do you undergo losses. All you get to do with these games is practice and prepare yourself to win a fortune at blackjack in a casino later. You can even try free blackjack demos available among US online casinos. These demos are playable even without a credit card or account.
Advanced Blackjack Strategies to Remember
Advanced blackjack strategies are those that are applicable for difficult and complex hands. Once the players have become confident with the simpler basic strategy, it is time to get set with some of these advanced strategies.
Treating 3-4 Card Hands
Sometimes, the player has a complex blackjack hand such as a 15 or 16 but not from two cards but three or more cards. For instance, if the player is dealt a 16 against a dealer's face-up card of 10, the basic blackjack strategy would require the player to hit the 16 with the expectation of getting a card that will tally the score to a number that is possibly the closest to 21. However, as per the advanced strategy, taking a card would not be a good move because the player's 4 card hand might be made of low denomination cards that are no longer available in the deck.
When to Bet on Insurance
Most blackjack players believe that insurance is a bad bet and the best way to play blackjack optimally is to not take insurance, especially when the dealer holds an ace. However, insurance is a strategic blackjack side bet in a few circumstances where it must be placed. Card counting can make a player understand when there are fewer left in the deck and this is a favorable situation for placing the insurance bet. Going by the card counting technique, if the count is +4 or higher, players should take insurance against the dealer's ace.
Opt for the Surrender Option When Available
The surrender option, though not available at many blackjack tables, allows the players to fold their hands and take back half their bet. This is a good option to go with for players with a really bad hand. There are two surrender options, early and late surrender. Early surrender allows the player to take back the bet even before the dealer checks for blackjack. Late surrender is available after a dealer confirms they do not have a blackjack hand when their open card is an ace.
Is it hard to memorize a basic blackjack strategy?
While the number of dealer and player cards may seem intimidating to memorize at first, most people can remember the actions to take for each scenario around two weeks or two months. This is possible by practicing and applying the strategy in simulated games.
Are there tools that can help you memorize any blackjack strategy?
Numerous blackjack training apps or software are available to simulate any scenarios between the player and dealer. The majority of these apps are free while others require a one-time payment. Another way to practice blackjack for free is through social games available on social media or app stores.
Should you consider taking insurance?
An insurance bet is considered disadvantageous because of its high house edge. Unless the player is utilizing a card counting method to have a good grasp on the dealer's hole, it is not recommended to take the insurance bet when a dealer has an ace.
Can I use a blackjack strategy card in any casino?
Most casinos do not have a rule against the use of blackjack basic strategy cards or other printed materials. You can even use a blackjack chart maker to print one and take it with you to any casino. However, dealers will mind if a player is taking too much time consulting their cards when it is their turn to act.
Do I need to know card counting in blackjack to win?
While blackjack card counting can increase a player's odds in each game, it does not guarantee a significant return on their bets for a specific period. Following a basic blackjack strategy is all you need to keep the house edge low while bumping your odds of winning.
This sums up everything about memorizing basic strategy charts and the various ways in which players can master the strategy while also memorizing it in the simplest possible way.
This article was published on June 25, 2021, and last updated on August 17, 2022.