# Chapter 2: Basic Strategy

## Blackjack Therapy by Clarke Cant

### Chapter 2, basic strategy fast and easy, couponomy is your first step in advantage.

Basic strategy will give the plays that you will be making most of the time. This chapter will show you how to learn basic in less than 30 minutes after reading this chapter. It will do so by starting with conventional charts and then presenting study aides, based on the outlines in the charts, that you will be able to easily recall in casino play. Then there will be betting guidelines for playing the various coupons that casinos circulate. This will give you an initial edge that will also show you how your bankroll will typically go up and down as you play. Even when you are using more advanced methods your bankroll will still rise and fall in much the same way. First we start with a conventional chart of an approximate basic for all games; refinements for different numbers of decks and specific hands are omitted. Most of the gains that are given up are already part of the adjustments that will come with using a count system.

“h” is hit; “s” is stand; “\$” is split; “g” is surrender “s” before a number is a hand that has an ace that counts as 11; “d” is double down.

*   2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 X A

s18 s s s s s s s h h h

16  s s s s s h h h h h

15  s s s s s h h h h h

14  s s s s s h h h h h

13  s s s s s h h h h h

12  h h s s s h h h h h

Double downs

11  d d d d d d d d d h

10  d d d d d d d d h h

9   h h d d d

Soft Double Downs

A7  h d d d d

A6  h d d d d

A5  h h d d d

A4  h h d d d

A3  h h h d d

A2  h h h d d

Omitting 88, AA which are always split (in basic) and XX which is always stand (in basic), here are the pairs

99  \$ \$ \$ \$ \$ s \$ \$ s s

77  \$ \$ \$ \$ \$ \$ …..see above for 14….

66  h \$ \$ \$ \$ …….see above for 12 …..

33  h h \$ \$ \$ \$ h h h h

22  h h \$ \$ \$ \$ h h h h

 MICHAEL DALTON COMMENTS See the Basic Strategy chapter in the Encyclopedia of Blackjack for full color charts.If you are confused about some of the terms used here or in other blackjack texts check out the Abbreviations and Acronym section.

Surrender comes in two flavors when the dealer has a ten card or an ace as the upcard. Early surrender lets you give up half your bet, rather than risking it all, before there is any checking for whether the dealer has a blackjack, or if the hole card is drawn after the players play their hands. Late surrender is still giving up half your bet, rather than playing out the hand, but is playable only when it is determined the dealer will not/does not have a blackjack. Doubling down after splitting a pair is often allowed on the first two cards after you split a pair (this text is not an elementary text but like the title indicates therapy for the playing problems you may have after reading other texts. If this information is a little new to you perhaps you should come back after reading, Blackbelt in Blackjack by Arnold SnyderBasic Blackjack by Stanford Wong, or Beat the Dealer by Edward Oakley Thorp.). They all give good explanations of simply playing and other tips about basic strategy. This material is mainly to speed up using basic.

Early Surrender: Late Surrender:

* X A * 9 X A

17 s g 16 g g g but not 8,8

16 g g 15 g

15 g g

14 g g Doubling allowed after splitting add

13 g g these splits:

12 g g your hand dealer upcards

8 g * 2 3 4 5 6 7

7 g 66 \$

6 g 44 \$ \$

5 g 33 \$ \$

22 \$ \$

Now please forgive me if the charts are slightly shifted in this version. The charts are done by hand to leave as little formatting in the textfile as possible so that this can be viewed and printed out etc., as per the opening statement. The key to this system for learning basic should still be clear however, though you may wish to work in your own computer to lineup the charts better. What is next is to look at the outlines for each section of the above charts, by only marking the changes, from what we do normally with a hand, rather than having h, s, d, etc.

“your” hand dealer upcards

* 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 X A

s18 # # #

16 # # # # #

15 # # # # # notice the skull with cap outline?

14 # # # # #

13 # # # # #

12 # # #

11 # # # # # # # # # notice the gun shape of the hard

10 # # # # # # # # double downs?

9 # # # # #

A7 # # # #

A6 # # # # notice the chart goes over one step for

A5 # # # every two down for the soft double

A4 # # # downs? This is our soft double

A3 # # “stairway.”

A2 # #

99 # # # # # . # # Pairing 9s you pair 2 through 9 except

77 # # # # # # you leave a gap for the 7 upcard.

66 # # # #

33 # # # # .

22 # # # # Pairing 6s through 2s is shaped like a box with the lid slid back.

For late surrender: 9 X A For early surrender: X A

16 # # # 17 #

a “T” shape 15 # 16 # #

15 # #

14 # #

13 # #

12 # #

8 #

7 #

6 #

5 #

and a shape they would call a King Author’s Tournament at the Excalibur: a pikeax.

The added pair splits would be:

2 3 4 5 6

66 #

44 # #

33 # #

22 # #

like a figure waving us to keep running in baseball or to follow him, over the hill in some battle.

There you have it. A simple shape system like this can help you visualize the basic strategy tables in the casinos. Once you recall the overall shapes you have memory clues to recall the full charts. I have taught several friends how to play basic strategy in less than ½ hour with this system. This system is now enough to go on to the first way you can get an edge in playing: couponomy.

T-hop posting on bjrnet.com , showed me some points that I have incorporated into these recommendations. Details on how this chart was prepared will be given later in the chapter on optimal bankrolls. T-hop reminded me that the bankroll units were below the number of units where normal distributions are used:

The games are coded: C, for craps; R, for roulette; and BJ, for blackjack. The parenthesis gives the number of units you should have. As an example, betting bet 5, win 7 coupons, in craps, requires 8 units, or \$40. Coupons that are multiples of others are omitted. Expectation is given as fractions of a dollar, just before the parenthesis:

Type of coupon:

• Bet \$1, Win \$2 C .479 (3) R .421 (4) BJ .469 (4)
• Bet \$2, Win \$3 C .465 (7) R .368 (8) BJ .463 (8)
• Bet \$3, Win \$4 C .451 (10) R .316 (14) BJ .457 (12)
• Bet \$4, Win \$5 C .437 (14) R .263 (22) BJ .451 (16)
• Bet \$5, Win \$6 C .423 (17) R .210 (35) BJ .445 (20)
• Bet \$3, Win \$5 C .944 (5) R .790 (6) BJ .932 (6)
• Bet \$5, Win \$7 C .916 (8) R .684 (12) BJ .92 (10)