Calculating Basic Strategy

Basic strategy can be either total-dependent or com-position-dependent. Total-dependent means the decision rules require only the dealer's card and the total points in your hand. Composition-dependent means the decision rules require knowledge of the dealer's card and the precise cards that make up your hand. For example, total-dependent strategy says stand on twelve against 4. Com-position-dependent strategy for twelve against 4 requires you to specify how you get to twelve: Do you have 7-5,8-4, 3-2-2-5, or what? If you got to twelve by 10-2 or 2-10 (where 10 means any 10-count card), and only one deck is being used, you should hit. If you got to twelve by any other route, or multiple decks are being used, you should stand.

There are few differences between composition-de-pendent and total-dependent strategies for single deck, and none that are important for multiple decks. (The more decks shuffled together, the less difference one card makes.) This site uses total-dependent strategy.

The details of basic strategy depend on the particulars of the rules. However, you must start someplace. This page presents a version of basic strategy that is approximately correct for the most common sets of rules - a generic basic strategy. For modifications of this generic basic strategy that are appropriate for different sets of rules, see Basic Online Blackjack Games.

Online Blackjack Games is most commonly played with the dealer's hand showing one card face up. If you are playing black-jack in a game where you get to see two cards face up in front of the dealer before you play your hand, go to page Double Exposure for playing-strategy advice.

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Keep the Game Moving

Just say "time" if you need a minute to think so that the other players know you know it is your turn. Notwithstanding this kind of delay, there are a few practices you can employ to keep up the pace at the game.

One of the best ways to speed up a game is to have everyone place their bets properly. The typical player at the typical home game will ante and place bets by throwing his chips straight into the pot.