Blackjack Betting Chart – Learn It, Then Leave It Home
March 20, 2019
Want to be a better or even a professional blackjack player? In that case, your first step is to learn how to play perfect playing strategy. When I say perfect, I mean perfect! You must be able to make the correct decision each and every time, with each and every hand the casino dealer gives you. NO exceptions, NO BS excuses!
If you can’t do what I just said, do yourself a favor. Stay the hell OUT of casinos and away from any blackjack table!! Either that, or walk up to a blackjack table, give the dealer your money and get your chips, and then GIVE THE DEALER EVERY CHIP YOU HAVE. Got that? You might as well, because you are lost and dead before he/she even deals you your first hand.
What was that you say? I am a total asshole or jerk? Fine, then don’t read another word of this post and go and lose all your money at casino blackjack. Oh, and when you do that – since you are the “expert” and know better/best after all, don’t forget to walk away broke almost every time as you curse your “bad” or rotten luck.
For those of you who want to learn what actually works in a casino to give you the best odds of having a winning session, let’s get on with it.
There IS A “Best” Way To Play Your Hand
As I have previously said on this site, your goal when palying blackjack in a casino is NOT to get blackjack or 21 with each hand, but to beat the dealer’s hand WITHOUT “busting” by getting a total of 22 or over!! Did you understand what I just said? I sure hope so, because if you don’t it won’t matter HOW you play your hand, because you will be losing your bet on nearly every hand. Almost guarenteed. Your decision and choice.
So, now that you understand the most important concept of the game and know what your goal is, do you mistakenly think it really doesn’t matter how you play the cards you get?
All hands are not equal. The cards in each deck have a specific value.
“Picture” cards, or Jacks, Queens, and Kings all have a value of ten or 10.
A ten in any suit has exactly the same value or 10 – just like the picture cards.
A two (deuce) through a nine, all have a card value of exactly what the card has onit – two through nine/2 – 9.
Finally, for beginners especially, we have the Ace. The value of this card is NOT like any of the others already covered. It can have either of two values – one or eleven.
Before we go on to the two basic types of hands you can be dealt, let’s give you a short but very important quiz. Take a second or two, literally, to tell me what the hand total is for the two cards you are first dealt. I will give you the correct answer right after the cards:
A ten and a six? 16
A Jack and a two? 12
A seven and an eight? 15
And finally, an Ace and a nine? Two answers are correct – ten or 20.
If you got any of the questions, wrong, STOP and go back to the beginning of this paragrah again and see if you can get the right answers a second time.
Did you get all four totals right? Great – you are off to an excellent start!
How do you know what to do with your hand?
The good news is there is a perfectly legitimate and excellent way to learn how to properly play EACH and every hand you could possibly be dealt!! That way is to completely memorize a card or chart that tells you exactly how to play your hand. At the end of this post, I will give you one of the best strategy charts I have seen online. It would do me or you NO good to show you the chart right now. You probably wouldn’t even know what it means or how to use it.
The person every blackjack player who are the toughest players any casino faces is a mathematician named Edward O. Thorpe.
Hard and Soft Hands
A “hard” hand is one that coonsists of a Ten and any card, from two through nine. The hand totals would be tweleve through nineteen, or 12 – 19.
A “soft” hand, by comparison, is one that has an Ace in it. You should immediately realize and know this means the hand has TWO different values. Let’s look at three possibilities:
1) You are dealt an Ace and a six. Your hand totals are either seven or seventeen. Understand? Great, let’s try a second hand.
2) Your hand is an Ace and a nine. Now, the hand total is either ten or twenty (20). Considering that the BEST possible total for a hand is blackjack or 21, what would you do with this hand? Count it as 10 or 20? If you get this wrong, one last time – go back to START and try once more!!
If the dealer doesn’t have a 21 or blackjack (if they do and you don’t, you immdeiately lose your bet and money), the highest possible total they can have in their hand is 20. So, it should be clear in only a second or two that you should count your hand total as 20 instead of 10. The worst thing that can happen is that you “push” with your hand and neither lose nor win your bet. Another words, there is NO decision on this hand and your bet stays in place and the same.
3) Last case, with an additonal factor in it. The dealer has given you an ten and a five, for a total of 15. What does the dealer have as an upcard or the card you see on top? Well, he/she has a ten. If they are hiding/have another tenunderneath the one you see, their hand total you have to try to beat is 20, right? In that case, why would you want to stand with a 15 that cannot beat the dealer’s hand of 20? Doing that would be the same as automatically forfeiting your hand and letting the dealer take your bet.
No, the corrrect betting (playing) strategy is to hit the hand and ask for another card. why? Simple. The worst that can happen is you bust and go over 21. However, what happens if you are dealt a third card that is an Ace through a six? You would then have a new card total of 16 through 21. Notice that last total. If the dealer did have another ten hidden, and you had received a six on top of your total of 15, you would have won twith your hand, becasue your total of 21 beats the dealer’s 20.
Splitting and Doubling Down
What do you do if you are dealt two cards of the same value? Hopefully, you would suspect that your betting or playing strategy would NOT be the same as a hand like the ones described above, where the two cards you have do not have the same value. You are correct. In this case, there are times your correct play would be to split the hand/cards, and turn the one hand into two. Since you are asking the dealer to now deal two hands to you instead of one, you will need to put up and risk another bet equal to the same amount as the original one. Keep in mind that some decisions you make will cause you to not split your original hand.
Doubling down means just that. You have a hand and you want to receive one more card on topo of your original two and put up another bet equal to the one you already made. Do not forget that when you double down, all you will get is one additional card.
Cutthroat Dealers and STUPID Players
There are some dealers you sit down and play with who are cutthroat. Even if you have memorized a blackjack betting chartt perfectly well and can play and bet flawlessy or like a machine, they will still slaughter you and take your money so fast and ruthlessly that you won’t even know what hit you!! Trust me on this. Under these circumstances, what can and should you do? Damn, what do you think?
Leave them alone and don’t play at their table – PERIOD!! Unless you like/love throwing away all the money you start out with. I can’t tell you how horrible it feels to go through a whole “shoe” of eight decks and maybe win one out of every four or five hands. Your stack of chips seems to magically disappear faster than you can count or are aware of.
There is only ONE thing or situation worse than being “chewed up” and spit out by a brutal dealer. That is having the great misfortune of facting a red-hot dealer with one or more stupid player(s) at the table. This is the worst possible nightmare straight from hell.
One of the longest-standing and most controversial issues in blackjack is whether or not a totally ignorant or plain idiotic player sitting in the third-base seat has any (direct) impact on how well players at a blackjack table do. The third-base seat is the last seat on the left-hand, side, facing the dealer. Whoever is sitting in this seat will be dealt and be making playing decisions on the last hand the dealer first deals. Why is this so very important? Let me give you a real-life example.
I once watched two blackjack players at a table. One was a better who was a well-dressed, older man, who obviously knew exactly what he was doing. The other player, unfortunately for him, was a very young male that proved he had NO idea what the hell he was doing. The older player was sitting on a seat in the middle. The younger one ws sitting in the third-base seat.
The dealeer first dealt a hard 15 to the first male. Next, the younger player was dealt two tens for a total of 20 withthe deale showing a SIX for his upcard. The middle player made the correct decision and stood on his hand. This was the correct move, since he was hoping the dealer had a total of sixteen and would have to take a card that would bust him.
The younger player at third-base had almost a sure winner with a total of 20. The only total that could beat him was 21. All he had to do was stand on his hand the way the other player did and hopefully watch the dealer bust. In that case, both of the players would have won their hands.
What the player did was truly unbelieveable!! I KNOW because I was standing there, being an eyewitness. He insisted on splitting his two tens. The dealer actually advised him THREE times not to do it, but the player paid no attention to him and split his tens. Result? He busted on both of his hands, getting two tens on them. After this happened, the dealer wound up pulling a FOUR for a total of 20, winning the hand against the other player.
The older and wiser player looked like he was more than ready to actually assault or kill the younger one. He promptly got up and went to another table, only to have the same incredibly STUPID player trot down after him.
At this point, I couldn’t bear to watch any more and left. Since that day, decades ago, I still can’t forget what I saw.
Time To Close and Here’s The Chart
Although you can use and trust this chart for training purposes, keep the following in mind. The chart says “Dealer’s First Card” and this is not technically correct. It should say “Dealer’s Upcard.” You make your decision according to the chart based on what your hand totals and the dealer’s upcard which is the one on top that you see. The rest of the information is clear and self-explanatory. STAND means to do exactly that. Don’t HIT your hand and leave the cards as they are. Finally, I have already covered what the two terms SPLIT and DOUBLE (DOWN) mean. In my next post, I will start to cover the topic of how to count cards. Actually, you know the first step which is what the card values are and is covered above in this post. Best of luck and play smart.