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Blackjack Rules

So you wanna play blackjack? Alright then. Here are some basic blackjack strategy to get you started. First of all, always remember that you can alter the house edge by playing with a good system. Hey, and guess what: we've got one for you! So let's help you win! figure out where to play by checking out our online casino reviews

Things to remember:

You're always trying to get a better hand than the dealer. Don't play just to get as close to 21 as possible, because you'll end up busting more often than you should.  Because the dealer has to follow a set of rules regardless of his position, he'll often be forced to take another card when he shouldn't, and may bust. You can use this to your advantage...

Basic Game Strategy
One way to improve the chance of winning is to use statistics to predict the outcome of various hands. Sound complicated? Not really. We'll help you with the basics, that's what we're here for!

Because the dealer must play using the house rules they have to always hit with a hand of 16 or less and stand with a hand of 17 or more (a few casinos let the dealer hit on a soft 17). The dealer's chance of busting on any given hand looks like this:

Dealers face-up card is: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Ace
Percentage chance of busting: 35 37 40 42 42 26 24 23 23 17

The dealer has the best chance of busting when his face-up card is a six or less. Great, so what do we do with that information? We develop the following system to help you win!

Hard Hand Rules

Remember, a hard hand is when an Ace card *must* be counted as 1.

If you're dealt a hand totaling anywhere from 12 to 16, and the dealer is showing a low card (anywhere from 2 to 6), then you should always stand. Why? There's a really high probability that the dealer will bust and you'll win! Why is this true? Well, the statistics bear it out, but basically when the dealer has low cards, he's more likely to have to draw several to get to 16. The chances of him drawing a face card (worth ten) by the time he's gotten above 12 or pretty good. What then? He busts, and you take home the cash!


However, if you're dealt a hand totaling 12 to 16 when the dealer is showing a higher card (anywhere from 7 to Ace), you should take a card. It's pretty unlikely the dealer will bust, so the only way for you to have a chance at winning is to take the plunge and try to win with the highest total. This can be pretty hard to do. If you have a 16 and the dealer has a 7, it's pretty hard to force yourself to take a card. It seems to go against common sense, you're positive you'll draw a face card and bust...but you've gotta do it. Yes, you *will* bust some of the time. But statistics are on your side. Power through the "common sense" and take the risk. In the long run, we guarantee you'll be glad you did!

Finally, if you get a hand totaling 17 to 21, you should stand! The probability of busting if you hit is high, and you have a good chance of winning the hand anyway.

Soft Hand Rules

Remember, a "soft hand" is when an ace can be played as 1 or as 11

Most casinos do allow aces as either 1 or 11. You can pick the value most helpful to you at the time. If you have an ace you use as an 11, it's called a "soft hand". These hands are played differently. Why? Because it's impossible to immediately bust on a soft hand: you just change the value of the Ace from 11 to 1 and you're still in it!

The general blackjack system for playing a soft hand laid out in the chart below. Remember, you can keep this page open as you play at our recommended casinos. Keep referring to the charts, and eventually it will become second nature. You'll no longer need us. *sniff*. You're all grown up!

Basically, in soft hands, you'll want to double down whenever the dealer has a high statistical probability of busting. When is that? When he or she has low value face-up cards.

Your Hand
What you should do
Soft 19 or 20
Soft 18
*Stand if the dealer is showing 2,7 or 8.*
*Hit if the dealer is showing 9,10 or Ace.*
*Double Down if the dealer is showing 3,4,5 or 6.*
Soft 17
*Hit if the dealer is showing 2, 7, 8, 9, 10 or Ace.*
*Double Down if the dealer is showing 3,4,5 or 6.*
Soft 16 or 15
*Hit if the dealer is showing 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10 or Ace.*
*Double Down if the dealer is showing 4,5 or 6.*
Soft 14 or 13
*Hit if the dealer is showing 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10 or Ace.*
*Double Down if the dealer is showing 5 or 6.*

If you're dealt a card that changes your hand from soft (when Ace equals 11) to hard (now Ace equals 1), then change your strategy to the hard hand system we discussed earlier.

Doubling Down Strategy
Doubling down lets you put extra money on the table when your chances of winning are good. Great deal, right? It is, and you should always bet the maximum amount allowed. Take the money and run, my friend. It's not often the casino will give you the advantage, but doubling down is one of those precious few moments they do.

You should only ever double down when you've got a better chance of winning than the dealer. That means, *not* 50/50, not "as good a chance as the dealer". The other time to double down is when you can to earn more profit by doing so than by hitting.

Different casinos have varied rules for doubling down; typically you can only double down after you receive your first two cards and before you draw your third card.

Unfortunately, some casinos only allow the option on certain hand values (typically 9, 10 or 11). Read on for more specifics.

Hard Hand Rules for Doubling Down
You should double down when:

You've got hard 11 and the dealer is showing 2 through 10.

    You've got hard 10 and the dealer is showing 2 through 9.

    You've got hard 9 and the dealer is showing 3 through 6.

Soft Hand Rules for Doubling Down
You should double down when:

    You've got (A, 6) or (A, 7) and the dealer is showing 3 through 6.

    You've got (A, 4) or (A, 5) and the dealer is showing 4 through 6.

    You've got (A, 2) or (A, 3) and the dealer is showing 5 or 6.

Splitting Pairs Strategy
Some blackjack players will split all pairs regardless of the pair value - this is a bad idea. Unless you're trying to lose money. And somehow we don't think you are.

It's smart to split *some* pairs. But, for example, you should never split tens or a pair of fives. Two tens gives you a total of 20. Good hand, right? Right. Don't mess with that. A pair of fives gives you 10, and you have an excellent chance of drawing a 10 for a win. Again, don't mess with that.

On the other hand, you should always split eights and aces. Why? Because you have a better chance of drawing a card worth ten (face cards and actualy 10s) than any other and then you have either 21 (for Aces) (woohoo! Blackjack!) or 18 (if you split eights) - both are extremely difficult for the little old dealer to beat.  And that's the way we like it.

All your other splitting decisions should depend on the dealer's face-up card. As a general rule, you should split when the dealer is showing a low value card. For example, split when:

You're got a pair of 2's, 3's or 7,s and the dealer is showing 2 through 7.

    You're got a pair of 4's and the dealer is showing 5 or 6.

    You're got a pair of 6's and the dealer is showing 2 through 6.

    You're got a pair of 9's and the dealer is showing 2 through 6, 8 or 9.

    If, however, the dealer shows a 7 and you assume ( as you should) that he has a hole card worth 10...don't split. Your 18 will beat it, so stay put.

Don't ever take insurance unless you're counting cards. And if you're counting cards, I doubt you're reading any case, it's a bad bet. Don't be a sucker!

And you won't be, now you know how to play blackjack and you've got a winning strategy! check out our Online Casino Reviews to decide where to play (and win!) for real!

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