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Live Blackjack Basic Strategy Guide

a guide to basic blackjack strategy

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Those familiar with blackjack will understand there is a correct mathematical way to play the popular casino card game.

It’s known as Basic Strategy and if used correctly it minimises the house edge and gives the player the best chance of winning.

In fact, it’s such an accepted way of playing that land-based and some online casinos even provide guides on how to use live blackjack basic strategy.

If you’re a regular at land-based casinos, then you’ll also know that dealers will also help remind you of the strategy — especially if you’re about to do something stupid!

In most instances where you can’t remember it, you can ask for a prompt and they’re happy to help.

Please Note: Do not use Basic Strategy if you’re playing Power Blackjack. For that game, you need to use a revised Power Blackjack Strategy, which has been adapted to cater for the lack of 9’s and 10’s in the playing deck.

Importance of Live Blackjack Strategy

Using live blackjack basic strategy not only helps to drastically improve your enjoyment of the game but can also save you lots of cash over time!

You can use live blackjack basic strategy whether you’re new to blackjack or have been playing it for ages and perhaps looking for a refresh or to up your game.

Learning from a live blackjack strategy guide puts you in the best position to win, and covers everything from pair splitting to hitting, standing, doubling down, and surrender.

blackjack dealers

Blackjack basic Strategy – Dealer stands on Soft 17

The table below shows in the most left-hand column, the total value of the first two cards dealt to you.

The first row indicates the value of the dealers up card.

To use the table you find the value of your hand and look along that row until you meet what the dealer is showing.

Where the two meets is the next playing action you should take.

Dealer Stands on Soft 17 means a dealer’s hand where the total value of the cards adds up to 17 using an Ace as eleven. So a soft 17 could be Ace-six, Ace-two-four, Ace-three-three, Ace-two-Ace-three – you get the idea. If the dealer has a hand like this, as soon as he hits 17 he has to Stand.

Your Cards Dealers Cards
Hard Cards 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
4-8 H H H H H H H H H H
9 H D/H D/H D/H D/H H H H H H
10 D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H H H
11 D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H 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 Su/H H
16 S S S S S H H Su/H Su/H Su/H
17+ S S S S S S S S S S
Soft Cards 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
13 H H H D/H D/H H H H H H
14 H H H D/H D/H H H H H H
15 H H D/H D/H D/H H H H H H
16 H H D/H D/H D/H H H H H H
17 H D/H D/H D/H D/H H H H H H
18 S D/S D/S D/S D/S S S H H H
19+ S S S S S S S S S S
Splits 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
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
5-5 D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/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
A-A SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP

Key

  • H – Hit
  • S – Stand
  • D/H – Double if you’re allowed, otherwise hit.
  • Su/H – Surrender if you’re allowed, otherwise hit.
  • SP – Split.

Blackjack Basic Strategy – Dealer hits on Soft 17

If the dealer is dealt a soft 17 he is able to take additional cards to make the hand hard. he doesn’t have to stand if he has a soft 17., he has to take additional cards until the hand value is 17 or more when he must stand.

Your Cards Dealers Cards
Hard Cards 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
4-8 H H H H H H H H H H
9 H D/H D/H D/H D/H H H H H H
10 D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H H H
11 D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H 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 Su/H Su/H
16 S S S S S H H Su/H Su/H Su/H
17 S S S S S S S S S Su/H
18+ S S S S S S S S S S
Soft Cards 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
13 H H H D/H D/H H H H H H
14 H H H D/H D/H H H H H H
15 H H D/H D/H D/H H H H H H
16 H H D/H D/H D/H H H H H H
17 H D/H D/H D/H D/H H H H H H
18 D/S D/S D/S D/S D/S S S H H H
19 S S S S D/S S S S S S
20+ S S S S S S S S S S
Splits 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
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
5-5 D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/H D/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 Su/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
A-A SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP

Key

  • H – Hit
  • S – Stand
  • D/H – Double if you’re allowed, otherwise hit.
  • Su/H – Surrender if you’re allowed, otherwise hit.
  • SP – Split.

Summary

At online live casinos the dealers do not have the opportunity to help with basic strategy. They will sometimes prompt you if there is an option for a double or a split, but that’s about it.

To be honest, I wouldn’t take their advice, stick to basic strategy!

Some live casino software does have the ability to enforce basic strategy and some of the disconnection solutions involve using basic strategy to play out the hand.

So you can see that it’s something widely accepted and respected.

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