Basic blackjack strategy has been formulated over the years by blackjack experts who want to try and improve the player’s chance of winning against the house – reducing the house edge enough to enable player profits. Basic blackjack strategy is the simplest yet most effective gambling system around and available to all blackjack players. In fact, most players would insist that any blackjack enthusiast should commit to memory in order to become a confident and successful blackjack player. Using a mathematical system of charts, the intention is that as a player, you become equipped with enough knowledge about strategic moves that you can automatically select the best possible outcome using the correct mathematical thinking in any possible blackjack scenario.
But this doesn’t mean that you can benefit from the ideals straight away. It has taken years of research using in-depth study and computer simulation to formulate these winning strategies. Learning blackjack strategy takes time, concentration and effort; you need to memorise the charts to arm yourself with the available knowledge. But just knowing the information is not enough; you need to be able to use the information in context in a split second, so you can make the correct choices instantly. But the results will prove worth it; by correctly using blackjack basic strategy, you can turn the casino's house advantage of around 8% into almost 1%.
To make things more complicated, there are a wide variety of charts available, each with their own minor variations which usually depend upon the type of blackjack that you prefer to play. The two most common basic strategy charts are the single deck and multiple deck charts. But don’t worry; these basic blackjack strategy charts aren’t overly complicated and you can even have a blackjack strategy card to hand when playing online. Even most casinos will allow you to consult a strategy card during a game; but of course, the game is more exciting and you look more professional if you have the moves memorized.
But as a beginner, there is no shame in using a card while you’re still learning. To read the strategy card, look at the left vertical column of the chart to find your own blackjack hand and then cross reference with the dealer's hand which is shown in the chart’s top horizontal column. Where these two pieces of information meet, the chart will tell you what your correct move should be. There are several commonly used abbreviations which you may find on the card – these are listed below:
H – Hit (take a card)
S – Stand (no more cards)
D - Double if allowed, or else opt to hit
P – Split (separate the two cards into two separate hands)
Ds - Double if allowed, or else opt to stand
H/P - Split if you can double after split, or else opt to hit
H/R - Surrender if allowed, or else opt to hit
P/R - Surrender if allowed, or else opt to split
S/R - Surrender if allowed, or else opt to stand