If you want to play blackjack right, and have any chance of taking the casino’s money, you must learn basic strategy! But if you’ve started poking around the internet, you may have noticed that different basic strategy charts have slight differences.
What the heck? Do the BJA guys not know what they’re talking about?
Rest assured, we would never lead you astray.
Basic Strategy represents the default optimal strategy for every hand of blackjack. The problem with basic strategy for blackjack is that it depends on the rules of the game you’re playing. 99% of the time, the difference in strategy centers around one simple, but very important rule: Does the dealer HIT or STAND when they have a Soft 17? If the dealer stays when they have a soft 17 (S17), you are going to treat a few hands differently than if the dealer will hit until they have a hard 17 or better (H17). There are really only a few hands that are played differently depending on the game: A,8 versus 6; 11 versus A; A,7 versus 2.
We recommend learning ONE basic strategy chart, and ours is based off of an “H17” game. This is by far the most common rule variation offered. And if you are serious about beating blackjack, then you will want to learn card counting. And a card counter will learn a handful of “deviations” from basic strategy. Those deviation charts (which we teach to our Members), will be based off of the specific game you will be playing, whether it’s H17 or S17.
Now, if you want to know whether you’re playing an H17 or S17 game, here’s how:
Look at the blackjack felt, and it will either say, “Dealer must draw to 16 and stand on all 17s” for S17, or “Dealer must Hit Soft 17” for H17.