Most online blackjack variants deliver an average return of over 99% when played with the optimum strategy. However, if you play by your gut feeling the average returns will be much lower. Blackjack strategy is usually set in a tabular form called strategy card. It marks out different player hand values against different dealer face up cards and indicates the correct move in each case. The problem is that there are about 250 cells to memorise. New players wanting to try out online blackjack for the first time are unlikely to make the effort.
Fortunately for newbie online blackjack players there are simplified blackjack strategy cards available. These have only about 20 cells and so the optimum blackjack moves are easy to remember. The flip side is that you lose about 0.15% on the average return, but there are no free lunches in the real world. This article presents the simplified strategy card for Vegas Strip Blackjack, which is the most common online blackjack variant. The card has 22 cells. There are two columns for the dealer’s face up cards and 11 rows for the player’s hand values. The first column includes the dealer’s face up cards from 2 to 6. The second column includes the dealer’s face up cards from 7 to K and A. The player’s hand values are divided into three groups which are soft totals, hard totals and pairs.
The correct blackjack moves for each cell are indicated below. For hard player totals of 4 to 8, you always hit, irrespective of the dealer’s face up card. For a hard total of 9, you double if allowed for the first column and hit if you cannot double. In this case for the second column you always hit. For hard totals of 10 or 11, double if you have more points than the dealer, otherwise hit. For this case, treat a dealer ace as 11 points. For hard totals of 12 to 16 stand for the first column and hit for the second one. For hard totals of 17 to 21 always stand.
For soft totals of 13 to 15 always hit. For soft total of 16 to 18, you double if allowed for the first column and hit for the second one. If you cannot double for the first column then hit. For soft totals of 19 to 21 you always stand. You always split pairs of eights and aces. Never split pairs of fours, fives or tens. Other pairs should be split for the first column and not the second one.