If you are a little rusty on the rules of blackjack, spend a few minutes on the things that usually trip people up: counting hands with an ace, splitting pairs and double downs. Sure, you probably know you to stop taking cards once you get to at least a hard 12 against a dealers up card of 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6. And you know to keep hitting until you get at least a 17 against a dealers up card of 7, 8, 9, 10 or ace. Thats great! Still, you might want to get a deck of cards and deal out some cards to practice.
At blackjack, an ace can be an 11 or a 1, your choice! Basically, a hard hand is one where any 10-card or less will bust you (make your total over 21). A soft hand is any number of cards with an ace that can be either a one or an eleven, such as Ace-2-4 which is a total of 7 or 17). Soft hands confuse people, so they sometimes make mistakes when doubling down, so remember and practice these rules from basic strategy:
A2 and A3 – Double down against the dealer’s up card of 5 or 6
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A4 and A5 – Double down against the dealer’s up card of 4, 5 or 6
A6 – Double against the dealer’s up card of 3, 4, 5 or 6
A7 – Double against the dealer’s up card of 3, 4, 5 or 6. Stand against 2, 7 or 8 and hit against a 9, 10 or ace.
Stand on any Ace-8 or Ace-9 hand.
Deal yourself and a dealer hand from a deck of cards over and over, counting out the totals and repeating to yourself what to do with any soft hand. Get it right before you move on and your bankroll will thank you!
Your simple rules are to always split aces and 8’s, but practice your basic strategy to gain even more:
Pair of 2’s – Split against the dealer’s up card of 2 through 7
Pair of 3’s – Split against the dealer’s up card of 2 through 7
Pair of 4’s – Don’t split, just hit
Pair of 5’s – Don’t split, hit against the dealer’s up card of ace or 10, otherwise double down
Pair of 6’s – Split against the dealer’s up card of 2 through 6
Pair of 7’s – Split against the dealer’s up card of 2 through 7
Pair of 8’s – Always split, because 16 is a terrible hand
Pair of 9’s – Always split except against the dealer’s up card of 7, 10 or ace
Don’t split your 10’s
Keep dealing hands to a dealer-spot and yourself and practice the split hands, over and over until you have each play memorized.
If you cant double on soft hands, then only double down on 9s, 10s and 11s:
With a 9 – Double against the dealer’s up card of 3 through 6
With a 10 – Double against the dealer’s up card of 2 through 9
With an 11 – Double against the dealer’s up card of 2 through 10
You should continue to practice these plays by dealing more and more hands to yourself to memorize the double downs. You dont want to make mistakes and miss an opportunity to double down at the right time when you are sitting at a blackjack table! And, for the time being, skip those enticing bonus bets and your money will go farther!