Posts Tagged ‘hard hand strategy’

Blackjack Strategy: Hard 13-16

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Well, it has been a long road so far, but I’m almost done detailing strategy for hard hands in blackjack. Earlier today I covered strategy for a hard 12, which is the first hand you will encounter where you might want to stand. Likewise, with a hard 13, 14, 15 or 16, it is sometimes the best strategy to stand pat and hope to beat the dealer with your current hand.

It should be noted that a hard 13-16 is a stiff hand, which are the worst hands in blackjack. The reason is that the odds are stacked against you no matter what. If you take a hit, you have a good chance of busting, which would cause you to lose. If you stand, you have a good chance of being outdrawn by the dealer, which would cause you to lose.

Stiff hands are the ultimate “damned if you don’t, damned if you do” situation. Anytime you have a stiff hand, you are likely to lose. Following the below strategy does not help you have frequent success in these situations. Instead, it reduces how often you lose, which, in the long run can mean a lot.

If you have a hard 13-16, you should stand if the dealer has an upcard of 2-6. If the dealer shows any other card, you should take a hit. You should never double down, because your odds are bad no matter what.

As I mentioned, in this scenario you have a bad hand that is likely to bust if you draw another card. However, if the dealer shows a 2-6, he also is likely to have a stiff hand (because of the likelihood of having a 10 in the hole). Therefore, in this situation the best strategy is to stand pat and hope the dealer goes bust. If he does, then you win no matter what your hand is (as long as you don’t also bust).

If the dealer has a 7 or better, though, the dealer has reduced odds of busting. In addition, assuming a 10 in the hole, the dealer would have cards that are higher than yours. For that reason, your best chance at winning is to try to improve your hand. Take a hit and hope you don’t draw a card that causes you to bust.

If you follow the above strategy, you will lose a lot. However, you will lose less often than if you use some other strategy. Unfortunately, when you have a stiff hand the odds are stacked against you. So when you have one, follow this strategy, cross your fingers, and hope you have a better hand next time.

Blackjack Strategy: Hard 12

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Learning the correct moves in blackjack, those moves that have the highest odds of success, is the key to being a good player and having the most success. Too many people try to go with their gut or just wing it, but blackjack basic strategy was created for a reason. It has been shown time and again to be the best way to reduce the house edge and the moves are those that give you the highest percentage chance of success.

Earlier I dissected the strategy for soft hands and right now we’re dealing with hard hands. In this case, it is a hard 12, which is any hand with a value of 12 that does not use an ace as an 11. The correct moves can be found on any blackjack basic strategy chart, but here they are in more detail.

If the dealer shows a 4, 5 or 6 as an upcard, you should stand. If the dealer shows anything else, you should take a hit.

This is the first hard hand we’ve covered where you would stand in any situation. That is because, unlike those hands, with a hard 12 there is a possibility of going bust. A 10 card is the most prevalent card in the deck, and receiving one would give you a total of 22, which would cause you to lose.

Basic strategy recognizes both the good possibility of being dealt a 10 card and the good possibility of the dealer having a 10 in the hole. For that reason, a dealer showing a 4, 5 or 6 has a good chance of having a stiff hand (12-16). Stiff hands have a high probability of busting, since the dealer is unable to stand on them. Because the dealer has a high probability of busting, there is no reason for you to risk busting as well by taking a hit. For that reason, you should stand in this situation, even though a 12 isn’t a very high value.

If the dealer has any other card as an upcard, his chances of busting are severely diminished. Since the odds are now against the dealer busting, you need to realize that a 12 is an easy hand for the dealer to outdraw. For that reason, you should take a hit in the hopes of improving your hand. You could bust, but only if you draw a 10 card. Anything else would still keep you under 21. Therefore, you have better odds of winning by trying to improve your hand than by standing pat.

Blackjack Strategy: Hard 11

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Blackjack is a rare casino game that requires a great deal of skill yet is still highly dependent on chance. Though you can’t control which cards you and the dealer receive and don’t know ahead of time what they will be, by playing correct strategy you can maximize your chances of winning. Blackjack basic strategy was developed over time and uses statistics to give you the best odds of winning. Previously I have covered what to do with soft hands. In addition, I have covered the strategy for hard hands through a hard 10. Here is what to do if you’re staring down at a hard 11.

Like the other hard hands I have covered so far, you should never stand on a hard 11. If the dealer shows a 2 through a 10 as an upcard, you should double down. If the dealer shows an ace, however, you should take a hit.

The reason you should never stand on a hard 11 is that there is no possibility of going bust. The highest value card that you can be dealt is a 10, and that would bring you to 21.

A hand of 21 is unbeatable; the best the dealer can do is tie it for a push. That is why you should double down if the dealer shows anything other than an ace. Your chances of winning with a hard ten are very good, regardless of what the dealer has. Since there are 16 ten-value cards in the deck, you have a better chance of drawing a 10 than any other number. That means you have a great chance of getting a hard of 21. When the odds are tilted that far in your favor, doubling down is a good idea because it puts more money into play.

If the dealer shows an ace, however, things are different. Because the odds say there is a good chance that the dealer’s hole card is a 10, there is a high probability that the dealer has a natural blackjack. That hand can’t be beaten. For that reason, though you still want to hit and take another card, you don’t want to put more money in play.

Following this strategy doesn’t guarantee success. After all, sometimes when you hit your hard 10 you will still be overdrawn by the dealer, especially if he has 21. However, following this strategy in the long run gives you the best odds of winning. In the game of blackjack, that’s what you need to do: Play for the long run.

Blackjack Strategy: Hard 10

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

First of all, I must apologize for all of the innuendo and double entendre in yesterday’s hard 9 article. I couldn’t help it; it was just too easy. And if you didn’t notice it, then forget that I said anything. There was nothing wrong with that totally wholesome article.

The proper moves with hard hands, just like with soft hands, requires a knowledge of statistics and a calculation of the odds of each card you could receive as well as the odds for what card the dealer has in the hole and what cards he will receive when hitting, if necessary. If you are unable to calculate those odds, you don’t have to worry, because each move that has the best odds has been incorporated into blackjack basic strategy. Here is what to do when you have a hard 10.

If the dealer shows an upcard between 2 and 9 (inclusive), then you should double down. If the dealer shows anything else, you should hit. You should never stand on a hard 10.

First of all, the reason you never stand is that there is no possibility of busting with this hand. The highest value card you can draw is a 10 and that would only put you at 20. Basic strategy also recognizes your good odds of drawing a 10-value card. If you get one, then the only hand that can beat you is if the dealer draws 21.

If the dealer shows an ace or a 10, then he has a good chance of having either a 20 or 21, in which case you would either lose or push. That is why you do not double in that instance. If the dealer shows anything else, however (2-9), you should double because there is a good chance that the dealer will either bust or draw a number smaller than your hand. Again, this is because of the high likelihood of the dealer’s hole card or any card they draw having a value of 10.

Follow this strategy and you will come out ahead more often than not. Stay tuned for more hard-hand strategy.

Blackjack Strategy: Hard 9

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Welcome back to the strategy portion of my blog, my fellow blackjack novices. Earlier I have covered the complete strategy for each possible soft hand and on Monday I began the series for hard hands. Today I am continuing in that series with what to do when you have a hard 9.

Okay, that can easily be made to sound dirty. What I mean is what to do when you have a hand in blackjack with a value of nine. Though I say a “hard 9” all hands through 12 are always hard, because a soft hand, by virtue of the fact that the ace is being used as 11, can only be as low as 13. As always, the decisions to make with this hand can be found on a basic strategy chart.

If you have a hard 9 in your hands, you should double down if the dealer shows a 3, 4, 5 or 6. If the dealer has anything else as an upcard, you should hit that hard 9.

If you’re holding a hard 9, you don’t have to worry about busting. Since there is no card that can put you over 21, there is no risk in hitting. For that reason, you should never stand with a hard 9. Remember that blackjack basic strategy usually assumes that you will be dealt a 10, since it is the most common value of card in the deck. Therefore, if you hit a 9, you have a good chance of getting a 19, which is a good hand that can only be beaten by a dealer’s 20 or 21.

Having said that, you should double your bet if the dealer shows a 3, 4, 5 or 6 because your odds of winning are even better, so putting more money on the hand is a good idea. While you don’t get to see what the dealer has in the hole, hitting your hard nine here should beat it because, assuming that the dealer has a 10, she has a good chance of having a stiff hand.

Making these moves doesn’t guarantee success, since there will always be an element of chance to the game of blackjack. However, you’ll do much better if you know what to do with a hard 9 (that’s what she said).

Blackjack Strategy: Hard 8 or Less

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Earlier I covered the strategy for soft hands step by step. The strategy for hard hands is a little more basic and easier to follow, since you don’t have the variable of an ace that can either count for one or 11 points. All of your decisions for hard hands can be determined by memorizing the blackjack basic strategy chart. For more in-depth information, though, here is what to do with a hard 8 or less.

You should always hit a hard 8 or less, regardless of what cards the dealer shows. You should never double and never stand. The reason you don’t double down is that when you do, you can only receive one more card. If you have a hard 8 or less, you are likely to need more than one extra card. In addition, when you have a hard 8 or less, your next card does not give you favorable enough odds to risk the extra money.

Another reason to hit a hard 8 or less is that you cannot bust on this hand. Even if you have an 8 and draw the highest possible card (a 10-value card), you still only have 18. Therefore, there is no risk in taking a hit here.

I know that one is really easy, but things will get tougher. Next I will let you know what to do if you have a hard 9.