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How to Expand Your Strategic Repertoire in Blackjack

There are now two basic strategies for blackjack for players who aren’t counting cards.  They have names that don’t make them easier to understand or to distinguish one from the other so Intertops Casino has decided to give them more accessible names.

The first strategy is called the Total Dependent Strategy.  What it means is that you decide what to do based on the cards in your hand and the dealer’s up card.  Let’s call this way of playing blackjack the Hands Strategy because it takes into account both your hand and what you know about the dealer’s hand.

The second strategy, which is becoming more popular, is generally called the Composition Dependent Strategy.  It takes into account the cards we know that are already out of the deck in fashioning a strategy for continuing in the hand.  Since it involves all of the cards in a unique way, we can call this strategy the Cards Strategy.

Who Benefits the Most from these Strategies?

These strategies are for players who are not counting cards.  Counting cards has its advantages and its disadvantages.

  1. Card counting is easiest and most effective when you are playing a single deck game.  These are available only at a land-based casino and there are now very few land-based casinos that offer a single deck blackjack table.
  2. Online casinos have an endless “shoe” in which the cards are shuffled after every hand.  So, card counting at an online casino is effective only if you are playing multi-hand blackjack.
  3. Still, the biggest drawback to card counting is that you have to be prepared to make a much larger bet than your basic bet when the card count reaches a fairly high level. 
  4. This involves adding risk to the overall game and many gamers are quite satisfied playing according to basic strategy, where the return to player rate is still about 99%.

At Intertops Casino, the house edge in blackjack is so close to 100% that blackjack is the primary game for gamers who want to play casino games and want to end every session very close to the break even point or slightly ahead of the house.

There are many casino players who travel to a land-based casino for a few days and spend way too much time on the casino floor.  Online gaming at Intertops Casino makes it easy to budget short blackjack sessions since the casino is available whenever a gamer might want to play.

How are the Hands Strategy and the Cards Strategy Different?

First, let’s understand that the basic strategy in blackjack is the Hands Strategy.  Charts for this strategy are widely available online.  Some land-based casinos will let you use one at the table although the other players will not be happy as it will take you longer to make your decisions until you master the chart.

The Cards Strategy was added to the Hands Strategy since the Cards Strategy takes into account all of the cards that have been played.

If you play at a land-based casino, you might see many cards before it is your turn to proceed.  The Cards Strategy takes inti account all of the cards you have seen and the cards in your hand.  As such, the Cards Strategy is very similar to card counting but it doesn’t require you to keep track on a plus and minus point scale.

What is the Basic Situation when I Might Use the Cards Strategy?

The most basic difference between the two strategies is when your hand of a borderline card count such as 12 or 13 has a card that can cause you to bust f you hit and it comes up.

If you have 12 points, the only card that can cause you to bust is a ten point card, of which there are many.  But if your 12 points is a 10 and a 2, then there is one fewer 10 point card in the deck and you can hit 12 points when the dealer has a 2, a 3, or the higher number cards.

This is because removing one ten makes it less likely that you will get a 10 point card and bust.   Let’s see if we can do the math here.  If there are no 10 point cards showing, that means that there are 16 in the deck.  Both you and the dealer have received two cards so there are 48 cards left in the deck.  That means that the chance of busting with 12 points is one in every three hands.

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If one ten is in your hand already it lowers the chance of busting with 12 points to 15/48 which is one sixteenth less, or more than six percent!  This is a substantial advantage for players!

Combining Hands Strategy, Cards Strategy, and Surrender.

These three playing strategies are extremely valuable in specific situations.  For instance, you might have 14 points with a 10 and a 4.  If the dealer is showing seven or better, it is likely that surrender is the best option even though your hand has a 10 point card.  There are still nines and eights that can cause you to bust and the dealer is showing a potentially powerful hand.

The key here as in all strategies in blackjack and the other games of skill is to minimize your risk.  Hitting with a 10 and 2 hand is a very good play in situations where the dealer is showing strength.

If the dealer has a burstable hand with a 4, 5, or 6 showing, many statisticians say that doubling down with 12 points is the best play if your hand is 10-2!  This sounds crazy, we know!  But you have reduced the chance of busting by 6% and the object is always to win as much as possible when the opportunity presents itself.

Doubling down and splitting are the key strategies for optimizing wins during the course of a hand.  By adding the Cards Strategy to your strategic repertoire, you can often achieve a winning blackjack session!  At any rate, you will also reduce losses to negligible numbers and that will make your blackjack sessions all the more fun!

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