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Blackjack Strategies

The best way to learn about blackjack strategies is to play the game often and learn from experience. However, for starters, there are basic strategies that one can learn even before actually sitting down on a blackjack table for the first time. Basic strategy is pretty simple. It is largely about getting the right timing on when to hit, stand, double down and split pairs. There is a readily available chart guide for this to help beginners better understand. This chart illustration is easy to read. Memorizing it will help players lower the house edge in their favor.

In general, basic blackjack strategies can be summarized in 8 quick points. 

A hand value of 8 is relatively low given that one aims to get a total of 21. In this case, there is no other option but to hit or draw another card. Given that the maximum card value that can be drawn is an ace or 11, there is no risk of getting over 21 by drawing another card.

The same goes for a hand value of 9. A player typically hits because there are very slim chances of going over 21 and a lot of room in improving the current hand. Furthermore, one could opt to double down when a dealerís hand is 3 and 6.

It is advisable to double down when a hand value is 10 or 11, except when a dealer exposes a card and it shows 10 or ace. In this case, it is better to hit or get another card.

Getting a hand value of anywhere between 12 and 16 can be quite tricky. Half of the time it is better to stand. In other words, it means it is better to settle for the hand and refuse another draw. With this hand value, the odds are high of busting or going over 21 when a third card is drawn. However, when a dealerís exposed card is 7 and above, a player will do better to hit.

If a hand value is 17 and up, standing will be a safer strategy. 17 is pretty close to 21 already and therefore considered a good hand. It does not matter anymore what card value a dealer exposes in his hand.

Another strategy is to split pairs when the exposed card of a dealer is less than 6. This scenario is favorable to a player, giving him a big probability of winning both hands. In general, 10s cards should never be split no matter what card a dealer show. 9s should also not be split if the exposed card of a dealer is 10 or ace.

Some casinos offer insurances in blackjack games. If this is allowed, keep in mind that an insurance increases the house edge so a player should not be caught getting sucked into buying insurance.

In some tables, there is an option to surrender or fold. It means a player forfeits his chance to win a bet. This option is only recommended if the hand value is 15 or 16 because it gives slim chances of winning. A good strategy also is to surrender when a hand value is 12 to 14 and the dealerís exposed card is 7 or up.

These are the 8 basic strategies. To gain experience and master these strategies, one should play often. It is better to play with real money involved because with real money at stakes, a player will be forced to take the games more seriously and try to double his wager instead of losing it. He has to learn how to strategize if he wants to get his money back.

There are five basic blackjack strategy choices namely hit, stand, split, double down and surrender.

In hit, a player decides to get a third card to which a dealer immediately deals it. If cards dealt are facing up, a player usually signals a hit with a finger tap on the table near his bet. If a game involves cards dealt face down, a hit is signaled by scratching cards gently.

A stand strategy is opting to settle for the two cards on the hand and therefore foregoing the opportunity to be dealt a third card. If the game involves face-up cards, the signal to stand is a hand motion waving from side to side palms down over the bet. If the game involves face-down cards, the signal for standing is to tuck the cards under his wager chips and leave the hand there.

The split strategy is applied to any hand with two cards of equal value. If split or separated, one could play the cards individually. In this case, the bets for each card played should also be of equal value. He could draw a second and third on the first card, and draw another round of second and third on the second card. This gives him two hands that can be played separately but with bets of equal amounts.

In the rare case that a split hand results to another pair of equal value cards, some casinos allow another split. A player could therefore have a maximum of four hands coming from his original hand.

Another strategy is to double down. This is an option for a player with two cards only on his hand. He has a chance to double his bet by signaling the dealer appropriately. He is then dealt an additional card. In some casinos, a double down is allowed even after a splitting strategy but it is allowed only when a split hand is composed of two cards only.

A double down strategy is usually used by players getting a 10 or 11. It gives one a big probability of drawing another 10 or probably an ace to get a winning hand. It is also a good strategy to double down if the hand value is 9.

Surrender is another common strategy which actually means folding if one thinks his hand has a slim chance of winning a blackjack. Surrendering is also called conceding and a player automatically loses half his bet. This is a better strategy than losing 100% of the bet if he loses in a round. So most players just surrender if they think their hand is not winnable.

In instances that a dealerís exposed card is an ace, he can ask for insurance bets. It gives players an opportunity to bet that the dealerís hand is a blackjack (meaning the facedown card is 10). This is typically offered because there is a big probability that the facedown card is 10 given that there are four each of jacks, queens, and kings, plus four cards of 10. At first it may seem very inviting to bet on the insurance. But in the long run, this can be a bad strategy for players. Your hands will be more profitable in the long run if you play without betting on insurance.

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