After my post yesterday afternoon I started giving some thought to blackjack strategy in regards to a two card hand versus blackjack strategy for multi card hands. This came to me after discussing how a two card soft 18 is played that same as a three card soft 18. This lead to the aforementioned thinking.
Is there really a difference between a hand that is made up of two cards and a hand that is made up of more cards?
In some cases it does. Naturally a two card blackjack is worth more than a hand with three or more cards that totals to 21. And a pair can only be split in the first two cards; you cannot have a 4/8 and hit for another 8, and then split. Also, you generally can only double down on two cards. Some casinos will allow for doubling on three cards but it is not a common house rule; and online casinos only offer double downs on two cards.
But in most cases it does not matter if you have a hand total made up of two cards or a hand made up of more than two cards. Take a look.
In honor of today being Friday the 13th, I am going to talk about blackjack myths today.
First I am going to start with the most basic and most common blackjack myth: the objective of blackjack is to get a hand total of 21. It does not matter whether we are talking about online blackjack or blackjack in a brick and mortar casino, players (novices for sure) of both types seem to think that this is the objective.
However, they would be slightly mistaken. And when it comes to casino games it does not do to be mistaken in what their objectives are.
To set us on the right track, the true objective of blackjack is to beat the dealer without getting a hand total that goes over 21.
The reason you want to know the true objective of blackjack is that it can have an impact on your blackjack strategy. If you operate under the idea that all you have to do is get 21 and that the dealer
Yesterday I discussed splitting a pair of 9s and how your blackjack strategy should go. Despite the hand total on a pair of 9s being 18, this is still a pair that you will want to split. When faced with a dealer
This morning I began talking about blackjack strategy for when you are dealt a pair of 9s. As you might recall I left off by saying that when holding a pair of 9s when the dealer is showing a 2 through 6 or an 8, the best play to make is to split.
While an 18 is a strong there are three hands that the dealer can hit to with one of those up cards and still beat the player. Three out of the five possible hands I should say. And the last time I checked, that was more than 50%, which puts the player at the disadvantage. So that leaves splitting those 9s.
If you are playing in a game of blackjack that allows for doubling after splitting then you gain a little on your blackjack odds: a 0.15% to your odds in fact. And here is why:
Once you split you have two hands that are starting at 9, which is a nice strong card to start with. Let
Every now and then we are dealt what can seem like a strong hand, but in reality it is deceptively strong. I say deceptively strong because while in ordinary blackjack strategy, meaning ordinary hard hands, their hand totals would be fine. But what if they are not ordinary hard hands?
Okay, enough with the mystique. I am talking about those rascally hands that either have Aces or are made up of a pair. In particular I am talking about a certain pair: a pair of 9s.
I know when I have discussed pair splitting blackjack strategy that I have said to pay attention to what the hand total is and to not only focus on the joyous fact that you are holding a pair. In the case of a pair of 9s the hand total is 18. If you were playing this hand out like you would an ordinary hard hand you know that you would stand on an 18. But this is not an ordinary hard 18.
This is a pair of 9s, and because it is not ordinary you want to play it out in the most advantageous way. This means that if the dealer has a 2 through 6 or an 8 that you want to split that pair of 9s.
When new players think of blackjack, they think the objective of the game is to get their hand total up to 21. To play to 21 in other words. However this is a bit of a misconception. Sure, 21 is the magic number in blackjack but it is not the objective.
The true objective of blackjack
We began discussing this morning the pairs that the smart blackjack player will always split, starting with Aces. But there is one more pair that it is in a player
Yesterday I talked about blackjack strategy in regards to pair that you do not split when you are dealt them. And it does not matter whether you are playing online blackjack or blackjack in a brick and mortar casino, you still do not split those two pairs.
So today I thought we would talk about pairs that you always, always, always split. First up is a pair of Aces.
Logically you have to split a pair of Aces. Do the math and it just seems smart to do so. An Ace is worth 11 or 1, with 11 being the first value given; if that 11 does not work in the hand it is then reduced to 1. So a pair of Aces first adds up to 22, which is a bust. So naturally one of the Aces is reduced to 1, giving the player a hand total of 12. Nasty hard 12.
You can see why any smart blackjack player would split that pair of Aces.
Once split you have two hands that are starting at 11. Not only that you have half of what you need to make 21. If you are playing blackjack in a brick and mortar casino and also happen to be a card counter, and the deck is running with high cards, that would be a good time to split those Aces since your chances of being dealt the cards for a hard 19, 20 or 21 are increased.
Even if you are not a card counter or are even playing blackjack online, it is good blackjack strategy to split a pair of Aces. Doing so takes your hand from a weak position to a stronger one.
This morning I talked about a pair that, according to good blackjack strategy is never ever split: a pair of 5s. But there is one more pair that is never eve split either: a pair of 10s.
A pair of 10s could be literally two 10 cards. Or it could be two face cards, not necessarily the same two face cards, meaning a pair could be a Queen and a Jack. Or a pair of 10s could be a 10 card and a face card. The whole point to the pair is that the two cards have the same value.
There are two mistakes that happen when a blackjack player uses some misguided blackjack strategy and splits a pair of 10s. Either he is ill-informed or he is just all caught up in being dealt a pair and cannot resist splitting it.
Mistake number one is that the split is made with the idea that the player can then double down on each of those 10s. First off, not all blackjack games allow for doubling after splitting. This rule is typically found at blackjack tables in casinos and not found at all in online blackjack.
The problem with this strategy, aside from the instances in which doubling after splitting is not allowed, is that the player is giving up a strong hand for something weaker. True, starting a hand with 10 is not too bad of a building block. But it is weaker when compared to an unsplit pair of 10s.
The other mistake that the player forgets about doubling after splitting, and is intent on trying to build two strong hands. But, again, the player is giving up strong blackjack ground for weaker ground.
The reason why you do not split a pair of 10s is right in front of the player
Like any game of skill, blackjack requires strategy. Any good game of skill worth the trip to an online gambling site requires good strategy. The most commonly used strategy tool in both online blackjack and blackjack played in a brick and mortar casino is basic strategy.
Basic strategy comes in the form of a chart with player hands running down the left hand side and all of the dealer up cards running across the top. When using basic strategy you find your hand and run it across the line until it intersects with the line of the card the dealer is showing. The play at the intersection is the best statistical play for you to make.
But if you look at a basic strategy chart you notice that it is somewhat divided into three sections based on the player