Conceptual Blackjack Mastery for Regular People

Published on: October 9, 2013 

It can take upward of 50 hours of study and practice to learn a card counting system, and it can take up to 100 hours to learn the correct strategies for hitting, standing, doubling, splitting and surrendering in a specific type of blackjack. As soon as you switch to a different blackjack variation, then most of that knowledge is useless, and you'll have to start over from scratch all over again. Regular people don't have this kind of free time to devote to blackjack. Instead, they want to learn how to play fairly decent without necessarily needing to know how to play perfectly. A conceptual approach is the key to maximizing efficiency when learning a game like blackjack, so we're going to outline such an approach here.

Here are the main things you need to know. First off, the weak dealer cards in blackjack are two through six, and if your dealer has one of those cards showing, then he or she is fairly likely to go bust. This means that you should minimize your own chances of going bust while maximizing your aggression when you have a chance to double or split. Some applications of this principle include standing on hard totals of 12 or higher and doubling with soft hands often when facing a weak dealer card.

The second idea that you need to know is that the strong dealer cards are seven through ace, though ace and ten are the strongest by far. Against these strong cards, you have to be very careful about doubling aggressively, and you should really only do it when you have a total of 10 or 11. Even then, you should double with a total of 10 when you're facing an ace since you should very easily run into a blackjack.

With this information as a foundation, here are some general principles that follow. Always stand with soft hands of 18 and up or hard hands of 17 and up. Always hit against strong dealer cards until you have at least 17 for hard hands and 18 for soft hands. Never surrender unless you have a hard 16 against an ace or a ten. Also, make sure that you always split aces and eights and that you never split tens or fives. A hard 16 is the worst total that you can have, and that makes it easy to remember when to surrender.

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