If you want to reduce the house edge in blackjack to a manageable level, you need to learn and stick to blackjack basic strategy. This strategy works in online casinos as well as the brick and mortar variety. Here is the basic strategy for when the dealer shows a 7 as the up card.
If the dealer shows a 7 as an up card, he has a good chance of having a hand of 17, given the high number of 10-value cards in the deck. That makes this situation drastically different from when the dealer shows a 2-6, because that leaves the dealer with a high likelihood of a stiff hand. If the dealer has a 17, he will stand and there is no chance of the dealer busting.
First of all, as always, you should hit if you have an 8 or less, because there is no risk of busting and your cards aren’t good. If the dealer shows a 7, you should also hit if you have a 9. Again, there is no risk of busting, but your hand isn’t really good enough to double down.
If you have a 10 or 11, you should double down against a dealer 7. That is because you have a good hand. Upon drawing the next card, you have a good chance of drawing a 20 or 21, which are tough to beat. Given the strength of those potential hands, you should double the money on your bet.
If you have a hard 12-16, you should hit against a dealer 7 up card. I’m sorry to say that you have a stiff hand. Those hands are likely to bust but they are too low to outdraw the dealer. In fact, you can only win if the dealer busts. When the dealer has a 7 as an up card, he is not likely to bust, since the dealer will stand on a 17 or better. For that reason, your odds are slightly better (though still not good) taking a hit than standing.
If you have a hard 17 or better, you should always stand, no matter what card the dealer shows. There are too many cards that will bust you and not enough that will improve your hand.
For soft hands, you should hit if you have a soft 13-17 against a dealer 7 up card. That is because, again, the dealer is unlikely to bust, so a hand below 17 is unlikely to win. For that reason, and because there is no risk of busting with a soft hand, you should take a hit and hope to improve your hand.
If you have a soft 18 or better, you should stand against a dealer 7 up card. If the dealer has a 17, you would win with an 18 or better, so there is no reason to risking drawing a card that reduces the value of your hand.
When it comes to pair splitting, the strategy against a dealer 7 up card is more conservative than for the previously discussed hands. That is because of the lower odds of the dealer busting. With a pair of twos, threes or fours, you should take a hit. You don’t want to split the pairs and risk having two stiff hands against a 17. If you have a pair of fives, you should double down because you have a good chance of drawing a 20 with your next card.
You should hit a pair of sixes against a dealer 7 up card, because splitting could potentially give you two stiff hands instead of one. You should split a pair of sevens or eights because as is they are stiff hands (14, 16), but if you split them you have a good chance of having two much better hands (17, 18).
You should not split a pair of nines against a dealer 7 up card because an 18 is already a good hand and would beat a 17. You should never split a pair of tens, no matter what card the dealer has, because you already have a hand of 20. Finally, of course, you always split a pair of aces, since it’s the best card with which to start a hand. That is because it gives you a soft hand and a chance of drawing a natural blackjack (ace, 10).
Remember this strategy the next time you play a game of online blackjack.