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Picking the right way to practice blackjack is the most crucial aspect of using the right blackjack strategy. The reason being is there is only one game of blackjack (there are derivations) that will produce the lowest House Edge in the online casino. It is called the Universal Basic Blackjack Strategy, and should be steadfastly practiced to gain the full benefit of it. Some players like to use color coded cards for quick referencing, which is especially helpful for online play as opposed to a land-based casino. We recommend that players learn the essentials of the Universal Basic Strategy, which is commonly called the Simple Strategy. It is essentially the same as the Universal Blackjack Strategy, except that it simplifies a handful of splitting and doubling rules. Using this strategy, you will effectively lower the Casino Edge to what the Universal Strategy can lower it to - under 1%.
When the technology of the basic blackjack strategy came to light in the 60's and 70's, which consisted of thousands of hand analyses by computer generated programs, the following principles were formulated, thus proving the mathematical basis behind the strategy:
The Simple Blackjack Strategy:
1) Split a Pair of Aces - No matter what the dealer has, always split a pair of Aces. These two cards combined make either a 2 or Soft 12, which are both lousy hands. On the other hand, two Aces by themselves have a good chance of catching a ten and becoming twenty-one. Remember that having two Aces is a unique occurrence which only warrants you to receive one more Hit on each hand.
2) Split a Pair of 8's - Another situation where it does not matter what the dealer has. Two 8's together is a hand value of 16, which is the worst possible hand you can have at the blackjack table. By splitting the 8's, you are increasing your chances of beating the dealer with a better hand.
3) Split Pairs of 2, 3, 6 or 7 when the dealer shows a 2 thru 7 - Although splitting these Pairs makes the hand statistically worse, when the deal has a 2 thru 7 there is a good chance they will bust. Always take advantage of the dealer busting.
4) Split a Pair of 9's when the dealer shows a 2 thru 7 - Although the circumstances for the dealer are the same as above, this rule needs separate attention since most players would say that a hand of eighteen is a good hand. However, the dealer has a good chance of busting with a 2 thru 7, and so an exception to a hand of eighteen is made. But if the dealer is showing an 8 or above, their chances of getting a good hand are better, and so the pair of 9's should be stood on so as not to take too much risk in busting your own hand.
5) Never Split a Pair of 4, 5 or 10 - Two fours by themselves are not good hands. They have a good chance of becoming a 14 which is a very risky hand to act on. However, an 8 can become an eighteen, which has a good chance of beating the dealer.
6) Always Hit a Soft Ace/2 thru Soft Ace/6 - A soft hand is one that includes an Ace that can be counted as eleven without busting the hand. This particular range of soft hands is not going to bust with a Hit, and are still not good enough hands to stand on like a Soft Ace/7.
7) Always Stand on a Soft Ace/7 to Soft Ace/9 - Unlike the previous rule, these hands are good by themselves. Totals of eighteen, nineteen and twenty stand a good chance against the dealers hand.
8) Always Stand on a Soft Ace/10 - Having the same circumstances as the above rule, a Soft Ace/10 needs to be classified by itself because it is a natural and is paid 3 to 2. You will instantly be paid out for this hand, unless the dealer also has a natural, in which case it will be a push.
9) Always Hit a Hand of Nine or less - This hand cannot be busted no matter the value of a hit card. Keep hitting according to the following rules.
10) Always Hit a Hand of 10 or 11 - Having a great chance of becoming 21, these hands also cannot be busted with a third card. It should always be doubled down unless the dealer has a 10 or Ace showing. If the dealer's upturned card is a 9 or lower, always double down, which will warrant you receiving one more card.
11) With a Hand of 12 to 16, Stand if the Dealer shows a 6 or less; Hit if the Dealers shows 7 or more - This is a stiff hand, meaning that that the addition of a third card could result in the hand busting. However, if the dealer is showing a 6 or less, they have a good chance of busting, which you should let them do and not risk busting your own hand. But if the dealer is showing a 7 or more, they have a better chance of getting a good hand, and therefore should warrant you to take the risk of Hitting. This is when luck is exactly what you need.
12) Always Stand on a Hand Total of 17 to 21 - This is a pat hand, which means it is a hard hand (not containing an Ace) valued 17 thru 21. It is a good hand, and although does not guarantee you will beat the dealer, it has an even better chance of busting, and so should always be Stood on. The only exception is a Soft Ace/6 (See Rule #6), which although is a total of seventeen, can also be a seven. Since a seventeen is at the low end of the scale and is not a great card total, the best it can do is Push a Hard Hand for the dealer. In the prospects that it can become a better hand, always hit a Soft Ace/6.
13) Never take Insurance - This is a sucker bet, and although is fun to take once in a while for some gamblers, the Casino Edge favors the House too much.