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 few ways of memorizing blackjack strategies in order 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 considering the split action. There are a few thumb rules to follow. Aces and 8’s are always to be split while you should never split 10’s 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 and the blackjack basic strategy underlines that clearly. Following are some of the actions to take on the soft totals.
- 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
Similarly, the following actions are best to be taken as per the blackjack basic strategy chart when the player has a hard hand.
- 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|
This chart will be pretty much sufficient to memorize with three basic exceptions.
Memorizing Your Blackjack Strategy
There are few techniques, which can help you memorize basic blackjack strategy faster. However, once a player has simplified the basic strategy, memorizing becomes easy anyway. Plus, different people might have different approaches towards creating their own 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 on a daily basis, 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, based on their and the dealer’s hand, 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 are able to 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.
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 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 10’s 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 surrender, and late surrender, out of which, the early surrender option is more preferred. Early surrender allows the player to take back the bet even before the dealer checks for blackjack.
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.