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# Choosing Blackjack Strategy

Basic blackjack strategy deals with the mandatory moves “hit” and “stand”. Blackjack strategy outlines when a player should hit and when he should stand.

## Some Important Definitions

The objective of blackjack is to reach a hand with a value greater than the value of the dealer’s hand value without going over 21. To achieve these a player has to make two basic moves that are explained below .

• To “hit” is to ask the dealer for another card. This is done to bring the hand value closer to 21. The player must keep in mind that if he exceeds 21 he busts and loses the game.
• To “stand” is to refuse another card. A player stands when he feels that he is likely to bust if he hits.

Basic blackjack strategy depends on whether the player’s existing hand value is a soft total or a hard total. Therefore it is essential to understand the concept of soft and hard totals.

• A soft total is one in which the ace takes the value of 11. For example an ace and a six total to a soft 17. A soft total has an advantage that the value of the ace can become 1 if needed.
• All other totals are hard totals. Thus hard totals either do not have aces or if they do then the aces are valued at 1. For example if the hand holds a nine, an eight and an ace, the ace has to take a value of 1 to prevent the hand from busting.

## Basic Blackjack Strategy for Hard Totals

• When the player’s existing hand value is 11 or less the player can never bust by hitting. Even if the player draws an ace it will count as 1. Therefore the basic blackjack strategy in this situation is that the player must always hit.
• When the player’s existing hand value is 17 to 21 he is safe only if he draws twos, threes or fours. Moreover the dealer is forced to stand on 17 as per blackjack rules. Therefore the basic blackjack strategy in this situation is that the player must always stand.
• When the player’s existing hand value is between 12 and 16 and dealer’s face up cards is seven or more the player has very little chance of winning. He has nothing to gain by standing and nothing to lose by hitting. Therefore the basic blackjack strategy in this situation is that the player is better off by hitting, but it is clear that he is fighting a losing battle.
• When the player’s existing hand value is between 12 and 16 and dealer’s face up cards is between two and six, the dealer statistically has a very high chance of busting. Therefore the basic blackjack strategy in this situation is to stand and wait for the dealer to go bust.

## Basic Blackjack Strategy for Soft Totals

• When the player’s existing hand value is a soft 17 or less the basic blackjack strategy is to hit, because the value of the ace can always be converted to 1.
• When the player’s existing hand value is a soft 18 or more the basic blackjack strategy is to stand, because these totals have an excellent chance of winning.

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