Sometimes called a blackjack strategy table, or a blackjack strategy chart, this is basically a cross-reference of all the possible hands that can be dealt in a game of blackjack.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? After all, you learned your multiplication tables (or maybe not) back in elementary school…and they weren’t even giving you better odds at the casino!
Well, keep a few things in mind: first of all, the rules change a little bit depending on how many decks are being used. Many places won’t even bother with single-deck blackjack any more, and the reason is obvious: because it gave you, the player, the best chance of winning! So in addition to the single-deck strategy card, you now have to familiarize yourself with the multiple deck strategy card.
Another thing to keep in mind: these aren’t the only things you need to know about blackjack. Far from it…blackjack can be a complex game, especially when played by masters. Because blackjack rewards skill more than nearly any other game, many techniques and strategies come into play that cannot be easily represented on a simple two-dimensional strategy card.
No matter how well you’ve got these strategy cards memorized, you can still be easily beaten by a master of card counting…or by a simple night of bad luck. Those are the days in which you just want to give up blackjack altogether and turn your gambling life over to the free slots Wheel of Fortune.
However, with those gloomy words said, becoming familiar with a blackjack strategy card is still one of the single best ways to prepare yourself to succeed. If you can learn the basic blackjack strategy cards backwards and forwards, you’ll be amazed at how much better your odds will get.
Once you start to see the patterns and the basic rules that underlie blackjack strategy, that first chart will seem like second nature. It’s only when more cards, via a second deck (or more!) are added that the relationships become a little more complex. Many an intermediate player has carefully considered the mysteries illustrated in multiple deck blackjack strategy cards.
And it should go without saying that there are a number of options which change the relationships on a fundamental level. For example, will the dealer stand or hit on a soft 17? What are the house rules about doubling after a split? As you can see, even the most basic blackjack strategy card has various “hidden” variables which can change your experience of the game. No expert has ever depended on memorization alone; for every set of rules, there will be a situation that the rules just don’t fully anticipate. Preparing yourself for just that eventuality would be a wise move.