a blackjack strategy chart

How Can Statistics Help Me Win at Blackjack?

This is part two of the blackjack tutorial here at Jackpot Capital online casino.  Although some players see us as "just" a jackpot casino, we would like everyone to know that Jackpot Capital casino is far more than a place to seek out big jackpots! We began the blackjack tutorial because we know that some players simply need a small boost to help them discover the broad world of great gaming at Jackpot Capital.

In this article, we’re going to look at a blackjack betting chart and we’ll see that blackjack strategy is a lot more complex than most players think it is.  Having said that, we will also contend that once you become fully aware of the subtleties of the best blackjack strategy, you’ll see that it is logical and accessible.  In other words, you’ll be able to internalize the best strategy for success in blackjack.  

That is the only way to get long term and continued success in blackjack.

Player Goes First

In part 1 one this blackjack tutorial, we said that the player has a severe disadvantage by going first.  There are some rules that help players overcome the disadvantage of going first.  But nothing helps players more than sound betting strategy.

Because players go first and because they lose automatically if they go over 21, many players always stand with 12 or more points.  Here we will see why that is not the best strategy in blackjack.

The Five Plays a Blackjack Player Can Make

What are these five plays?  They are stand, hit, double down, split, and surrender. Every blackjack variation has its own set of rules regarding splitting, doubling down, and surrender so be sure that you know the rules of the variation you want to play.

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The Blackjack Strategy Chart

Now let’s look at the chart.  The left hand column shows your hands and the top row shows the dealer’s up card.  The first row shows that if you have 8 points or less, you always hit.  Even if you have two fours and you could theoretically split them or double down, you just hit. 

With two fours, no serious blackjack player would split since that would make it quite possible to end up with 14 points and a poor hand.  But many players would double down hoping for 18 points.

Lesson number one in sound blackjack strategy based on the strategy chart is that 18 points is not a great hand for the player.  The dealer wins with 19, 20, and 21 points and if the dealer gets 18 points it’s a tie.  Only if the dealer gets 17 points or busts will 18 points win the hand.

What Do You Do if You Have 9 Points?

Here the strategy changes!  If the dealer is showing a 3 through 6, you double down.  Many players think that it is also good strategy to double down if the dealer shows a 2 and you have 9 points.  However, statistically, the dealer will win more hands when she starts with 2 points than when she starts with three points.

So, we can deduce a general strategy from this line:  double down when it is statistically sound to do so

Ten and 11 Points are Great Hands

The next row is the one where you have 10 points.  With this hand, you should double down on every card the dealer is showing except a 10-point card or an ace.

Keep in mind, this is based on statistics after a computer analyzed millions of hands.  So, you will lose some hands where you had 10 points and the dealer had 9 points or even 2 points!  But overall you’ll win more of these hands and by doubling down you’ll enhance your chances of ending the session in the win column.

If you have 11 points, you should double down unless the dealer is showing an ace.  In some blackjack variations, the dealer “peeks” when she has an ace to see if she has blackjack.  This saves some players money who might have split cards or doubled down even though it wasn’t the best strategy!

The logic behind doubling down and the reality of blackjack is that doubling down is a tremendous benefit to players as it is a statistically sound way to increase your bet after the fact and recoup some losses you incurred on hands where you busted or were simply beaten by the dealer.  Doubling down is a potential gold mine for players but you must never double down on a hunch; you must always be aware of the statistical chances that the double down bet will win more than it loses.

The Conundrum of Having 12 Points

Now the blackjack chart gets more complicated in its internal logic and in the sometimes counter-intuitive moves it suggests.  With 12 points, the player stands a high chance of busting if he or she hits.  The deck holds 52 cards and there are 16 cards that are worth 10 points.  So, approximately one out every three cards is a 10-point card.

This scares a way a lot of blackjack players who always stand with 12 or more points.  As we said earlier, this is poor strategy.  Here’s why.

Two out of Three Times You Won’t Get a 10-Point Card

This salient point is the first argument against always standing with 12 or more points.  There are four nines, four eights, and four sevens.  That means that about 25% of the time, you’ll get a high hand that might win if you hit with 12 points.

What Card Does the Dealer Have?

Now, it is also important to see what the dealer has.   If the dealer has a seven through an ace, the best strategy is to hit.  You need to improve your chances of battling the dealer in the 17-21 point range.  It is statistically true that hitting with 12 points if the dealer shows a seven through an ace will win more hands than you would win by always standing with 12 points.

Conversely, if the dealer is showing a four, five, or six, you should stand.  The dealer has to hit that hand and has a good chance to go over 21 points.  Statistically, standing in this situation wins a lot more than it loses.

Statistics Rule

If you have 12 points and the dealer is showing a two or a three, you might think that she has as much chance to bust as you do.  This leads many blackjack players to stand in this situation.  Statistics, however, tell us a very different story.  Statistically, if you stand in this situation, you will lose more often than you’ll win.  The difference is small but every small change in your chances of winning makes it more likely that you’ll finish the blackjack session in the winning column.

Study the Blackjack Strategy Chart

It behooves all blackjack players to study the strategy chart.  Next time we will continue where we left off this time.

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