Ralph Stricker: Basic Strategy – Single Deck

Basic Strategy for Single Deck
by Ralph Stricker
Copyright © 1997 Ralph Stricker

Ralph Stricker was an internationally known blackjack expert. In 1978 he opened one of the first blackjack schools on the East coast. In 1981 he sold the school and has played blackjack professionally. He has appeared on many of the major talk shows throughout the United States. He had his own radio and tv shows for three years. He has also written a book on the playing of Blackjack entitled the Silver Fox Blackjack System “You Can Count On It“.  Ralph Stricker passed away in 2012

       I believe that anyone learning Blackjack should know the Basic Strategy for Single Deck before any of the other strategies. (Double Deck & Multiple Deck) Remember Basic Strategy started with Edward O. Thorpe’s Single Deck. It was not until later that Julian Braun did the computer work for more than one deck.

EDITOR NOTE: A graphic chart for single deck blackjack basic strategy can be found at https://www.blackjackreview.com/wp/encyclopedia/single-deck/ .


(*) Double After Splits Allowed
(**) Dealer Hits Soft 17

                  SURRENDER STRATEGY                                    HARD DOUBLING

Dealer Shows       Your Hand                                  Your Hand              Dealer shows

A                          10,6                                           8    4,4 – 5,3           5,6

10                         10,6                                           6,2                        Don’t

                             10,5                                           9                           2-6

                              9,7                                           10                          2-9

                              9,6                                           11                          ALWAYS


               PAIR SPLITTING STRATEGY                             SOFT STANDING

YOUR HAND        DEALER SHOWS                        DEALER SHOWS   YOU STAND ON

2,2                       *2-7         3-7                               2-8                          18

3,3                       *2-8         4-7                               9,10                         19

4,4                       *4-6         DON’T                           A                            18

5,5                        NEVER                                       A (**)                       19

6,6                       *2-7          2-6 

7,7                       *2-8          2-7                                        HARD STANDING STRATEGY

8,8                        ALWAYS                                    DEALER SHOWS    YOU STAND ON

9,9                         2-9 Except 7                               2,3                          13

10,10                     DON’T                                         4-6                          12

A,A                        ALWAYS                                    7,8,9,10                   17

                                                                               10                           (7,7)

                SOFT DOUBLING STRATEGY                  A                             17


A,2                       4-6

A,3                       4-6

A,4                       4-6

A,5                       4-6

A,6                       2-6

A,7                       3-6

A,8                       6

A,9                       DON’T

          Notice the 7,7 stand against the 10 in HARD STANDING, we Surrender if it is offered, if not, we STAND.

          You must be aware that we only go to SOFT STANDING after it is determined that we do not have a SOFT DOUBLING Hand.

          (**) This means that this is the strategy if the dealer HITS Soft 17. Most of the casinos that offer single deck, “Hit” Soft 17. This is a disadvantage to the player. Therefore when the dealer hits soft 17, the player must go to 19 if the hand is soft when the dealer shows an ACE.

          PAIR SPLITTING- If we can Double after Splits, we play the column with the asterisk (*), if no DOUBLE After SPLITS is allowed, we play the other strategy column.

           Nevada is one of the few places left that offers Single Deck blackjack. All things being equal, it is the most powerful game in relation to amount of decks.  The player can have an even game with the casino by playing basic strategy.  To gain an advantage, the player would have to “count” cards and vary the bet according to the advantage.              

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