Blackjack Basic Strategy Chart

A lot of people do not know how basic strategy charts came about. First let’s begin by covering what the does the chart do? The basic strategy chart tells the player when he/she should hit or stand. The basic strategy chart also tells the player when to double or split. Those action are very important in reducing the casino’s edge.

The chart does not guarantee that if you follow it , you will always win. Rather, the chart will decrease the casino’s edge from 40% to 1.17%.  The way the chart was put together is by calculating all possible outcomes. For example, if the player has a hard 12 total. If the player decides to hit J,K,Q,10 can bust him.

The basic strategy chart also figures out if the dealer has a high chance to bust, then the player should not take any risk by taking additional cards.  Any player that expects to make it in the long run , must learn the basic strategy chart.

There are different basic strategy charts depending on the number of decks and depending on the casino rules. You can see separate posts for different strategy charts.

However, in order to simplify is for new players. I summarized the guts of the chart.

Dealer ‘s up card  6-7-8-9-10/Q/J/K

Player’s hand less than 17  then HIT.

Dealer’s up card  2-6

Player’s hand 13-21 STAND.

The only hand that is very debatable is 12 . many players like to hit on that hand since the only bad cards are 10 value cards. I would say that feel free to

hit on it unless you are counting and know that high value cards are due to come. That brings up to the next point basic strategy charts are vital to non-counters. However, counters tend to vary deviate their player from basic strategy based on the running count. This can cause problems around the table as card counters are not always right. However, this will be covered in the card counting posts.

The above chart shows that the dealer has almost 42% chance to bust when having a 5 as the up card. On the other hand, the dealer only has 21% chance to bust while having a face card. That is only half the chances. Knowing that can influence the decision you make while playing.  Further, many players will surrender their hand(give up the hand and take half of their bet back) if the the dealer showing a face card.  Another interesting piece of information that the dealer has only 7% chance of hitting a blackjack when having a face card. Also, the dealer has only 30% chance to get a blackjack when having a A as upcard.

This statistic shows that many players make a mistake to buy insurance since the odds are against you when doing so.

Finally, some casino play the European way. That means that the dealer takes only card at the beginning and after all hands are played , the dealer takes his other cards.  Under this situation, basic strategy does not work as well. The player is better off to try and trick the dealer into busting. For example if many high cards came out of the deck , the player would be better of hitting on 14 vs dealer 5. If the player stands on the 14 like basic strategy suggest. The dealer would pull 3/4/5/6 with the 5 he already have and from there it will be really hard for him to bust.  On the contrary when the dealer already took a card it possible he already have a 5 and 10 so his chance to bust is higher.