The Basic Strategy

Basic strategies have been developed for single deck. 2 deck. 4 deck, 6 deck and 8 deck games with various rules for each. Although there's not much difference between any two strategies. having the correct one for the rules and number of decks you're playing with can be worth up to a few hundredths percent. The color-coded chart on the next page applies to 4 through 8 decks when the dealer stands on soft 17. You can double down on any first two cards, but not after splits and you can re-split pairs out to four hands, except for Aces which receive only one card each.

Although there are 340 hands you can be dealt, the chart contains only 270 squares. That's because certain things are assumed to be foregone conclusions. For example, if you'll never double down with a total of 8, then it's a forgone conclusion that you'll never double down with less than 8. Hence, totals of 7 or less are not on the chart. Also, since you'll always stand with any hard 17, then you'll always stand with more than a hard 17.

The next few charts are addendum to the color chart. They tell you what to do when you're playing with different rules or numbers of decks. Many casinos for example, allow you to double down on new hands that were created by splitting a pair. A classic example would be when you split two 7's and catch a 4 on your first 7, then double down with your new 11. If the house you're in allows "double after split" (DAS), then there are seven additional pairs that it becomes advantageous for you to split. The following chart defines those hands with an "spl" in the box.

 [ 1 ][ 2 ][ 3 ][ 4 ][ 5 ][ 6 ][ 7 ][ 8 ][ 9 ][ 10 ][ 11 ]

Slow-Playing

Slow-playing is easiest when you are in late position because it allows You to preside over the building of your pot. In late position, your slow-play will most often take the form of just calling a bet when your hand strength justifies a raise. And if no one bets, you can still build the pot by making a bet; this will often be perceived as a "position bet"-intended to steal the pot-instead of a sign of strength, which will attract callers.