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Build a Solid Foundation for Blackjack With the Basics

By: Mark Freedman, Friday May 29th 2015
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Blackjack is a game where you can drastically increase your payout rate and your chances of winning by choosing the right strategies. However, because there are so many forms of blackjack out there, it's not very clear what the best strategies are a lot of the time. Instead of trying to learn to play one particular variation of blackjack perfectly when you first start out, you should build a foundation first with the basics that apply to all of the game. Then you can adjust from that general strategy to the specific rules of the game you're playing to maximize your payout rate.

The first thing you need to know is the point of the game. A lot of people think the object is to get as close to 21 as you can without going over, but that's a bit misguided. Instead, your goal is to win, and depending on the situation, you can get the best chances to win in different ways. When you hit with hard totals of 12 or higher, you're putting yourself at risk of going bust. Remember that if you bust and the dealer busts, you still lose the hand. Depending on the card the dealer is showing, you might want to stand and give him a chance to bust instead.

The key to understanding when you should hit and when you should stand is based on the strength of the dealer's up card. When the dealer has a two through six, he's a bit more likely to bust than if he has a seven or higher. Along these lines, you should make sure that you pay attention to which card the dealer has instead of only looking at the total in your hand.

You should also be much more aggressive with soft hands, especially if you're facing a weak dealer card. If you have a soft hand of 12 through 17, and you're facing a dealer with a two through six, then you should often be doubling. The weakest cards, in order starting from the weakest, are 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2, so make sure that you're more aggressive against the six and five especially. This is tricky for new players to understand, but just remember that a six makes 16 very often, and a hard 16 is the worst hand you can have in the game of blackjack.

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