Posts Tagged ‘up card strategy’

Blackjack Strategy: Dealer 10 Card

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Blackjack basic strategy is a must if you want to minimize your losses and reduce the house edge to an acceptable level. In teaching basic strategy, I am covering it from a variety of angles. In this series, of which this is the penultimate post, I am covering it based on what up card the dealer shows. In this post, we are dealing with a 10 as the dealer’s up card. As always, when I say 10, I mean any card with a value of 10, which includes a 10, Jack, Queen or King. This strategy works at an online casino as well as at the brick and mortar variety.

The first thing you need to know when you see a 10 as the dealer’s up card is that the dealer likely has a good hand. If the dealer has a 2-6 as a hole card, he has a stiff hand. However, any other card (7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A) gives the dealer a 17 or better. Therefore, the odds are against you when the dealer shows a 10. For that reason, strategy for splitting pairs and doubling is very conservative and you play your hand with the idea that the dealer is not likely to bust.

As always, if you have a hand of 8 or lower, you should take a hit. There is no risk of busting and your hand isn’t good enough to stand. Against a dealer 10, you should also hit if you have a hand of 9 or 10. Against most cards, you would double with a 10 because of your likelihood of drawing a 20. However, the dealer is just as likely of having a 20 with a 10 in the hole as you are of drawing a 20. If you both have 20, it’s a draw. Those aren’t good enough odds to double the bet.

You should, however, double down with a hand of 11 versus a dealer 10. In this case, your likelihood of drawing a 21 versus a dealer 20 gives you an edge, so doubling the bet is good strategy.

If you have a hard 12-14, you should hit versus a dealer 10 up card. Those hands are only good enough to win if the dealer busts, and a dealer with a 10 up card is not likely to bust, so you don’t want to stand in this situation. If you have a 15 or 16, you should surrender if allowed, because you are much more likely to bust than to outdraw the dealer. The dealer likely has a good hand and a hard 15 and 16 are the two hands most likely to bust.

As always, if you have a hard 17 or better, you should stand, because there is a much better chance of busting than improving your hand. Also, even against a dealer 10 up card, a hand of 17 or better is pretty good.

If you have a soft 13-18, you should take a hit against a dealer 10 up card. In this situation, you are taking advantage of the fact that you can’t bust by taking a hit. If you have a soft 19 or better, though, you should stand, because you already have a great hand and taking a hit will most likely reduce the value of your hand.

If you have a pair of twos through sevens, you should take a hit against a dealer 10 up card. You don’t want to split the pairs because the dealer probably has a good hand and you don’t want to double the bet. However, if you have a pair of eights, you always want to split because you’re taking a soft hand (16) and giving yourself a chance of drawing two much better hands (18).

If you have a pair of nines, you should stand against a dealer 10 up card. You already have a hand of 18, and splitting the cards could only improve your hand by one, while giving the possibility of reducing the hand’s value. Also, you should be conservative about doubling against a dealer 10.

You should always stand with a pair of tens, no matter what card the dealer shows, because you already have a hand of 20. Conversely, you should always split a pair of aces, no matter what card the dealer has, because an ace is the most powerful card in blackjack and you want to start a hand with one as often as possible.

With this strategy in mind, you are free to win some money playing online blackjack at your favorite casino.

Blackjack Strategy: Dealer 6 Card

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Blackjack basic strategy should be employed by anyone who wants to lower the house edge to a manageable 0.5%. It can be used at an online casino as well as in a brick and mortar casino, like those in Vegas. Today I will describe what strategies to follow when the dealer shows a 6 as an up card.

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 6 as an up card, you should double down if you have a 9-11. That is because – taking into account the fact that there are more cards with a value of 10 than any other value – the dealer has a good chance of having a stiff hand (12-16). That means that the dealer is likely to bust. If you have a 9, 10 or 11, the drawing one more card gives you a good chance of drawing a 19,20 or 21, which are good hands even if the dealer doesn’t bust. For that reason, doubling your bet is a good strategy.

If you have a hard 12-16, you should stand. That is because you have a stiff hand and are likely to bust if you draw another card. If you and the dealer both bust, you lose, so it is best to stand and hope that the dealer busts. If you have a hard 17 or better, you should always stand, because you have a good hand that you are not likely to improve (and will probably bust by trying).

If you have a soft 13-18, you should double down versus a dealer 6 up card. In this situation, you’re doubling because the dealer has a bad hand and since you have a soft hand, there is no risk of busting by taking another card. If you had a hard 13-18, you would stand and hope the dealer busts because drawing another card could bust you, but since you can’t bust with a soft hand, it is best to double down in this situation.

If you have a soft 19 or better, though, you should stand because even though you can’t bust, you already have a good hand that is likely to win even if the dealer doesn’t bust and you have little chance of improving that hand.

When it comes to splitting pairs, you should split twos and threes against a dealer 6. That is because the dealer has a bad hand and you are doubling your chance of winning. Also, if you have a 4 or 6, you are likely to draw a stiff hand by taking another card. By splitting the cards and starting your hands with twos or threes, you have better odds of drawing a good hand. If you have a pair of fours, you should split if you’re allowed to double afterwards. Otherwise, you should take a hit.

If you have a pair of fives, you should double down versus a dealer 6 card. That is because with your 10, you have a good chance of drawing a 20 with your next card. With those odds, combined with the dealer’s likelihood of busting, putting double the money on the bet is a good idea.

You should split a pair of sixes, sevens, eights and nines against a dealer 6. For the 6-8 pairs, splitting them means breaking up stiff hands, which is a good idea. As for the pair of nines, one hand of 18 is good, but the chance of two hands of 19 is better. Again, the dealer is likely to bust with his stiff hand, so you can be more aggressive.

No matter what card the dealer shows, you should never split a pair of tens, since you already have a hand of 20, which is the second-best hand in blackjack. Likewise, you should 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).

Always remember to stick to basic strategy when playing blackjack at your favorite online casino.