Step one is we need to play perfect basic strategy against the dealer.
Even if you’re not counting cards, this will lessen the house edge against you in the long run. That means we need to know what to do against the dealer with any two cards. Our possible options are hit, stand, split, double, surrender and insurance.
For example, if we get 16 against the dealers ten, do we hit, or do we stand? We need to know this.
Open the blackjack basic strategy chart in the lecture resources now. There’s three tables which tell us what to do with any possible hand. Don’t worry if this doesn’t make sense right now. We’ll put it into practice soon.
The first table is “When to Split Pairs” and like the title implies it tells us which pairs to split against the dealer. For example, we can see that we always split a pair of 2,2s if the dealers show card is a two but we never split a pair of 2,2s against an Ace.
The second table is "How to play Ax". For example, if we have an Ace and a 2 we would hit if the dealer’s show card is a 2 but double if they have a 5.
The last table shows us “How to Play Regular Totals” and is what we do against the dealer with all our regular hands. If our two card total equals 7, then we would hit against all the possible show cards the dealer might have. If our two card total is 17, then we would stand against all the possible show cards the dealer might have.
A final note is that we never get insurance when playing basic strategy. Also, if surrender is allowed we do it with a 16 verse the dealers 9, 10, picture cards and Ace or if we have 15 against a 10 or picture card.
Now that you know what basic strategy is we need to practice it!
I think a good place to do that is with a live online blackjack dealer . We are not going to actually play for real money. We are just going to sit back and watch other blackjack players. We will call this method of practicing back watching.
Back watching with an online dealer is ideal for learning to count cards. They deal slower than at a brick and mortar casino and you don't have the normal distractions. Distractions could be other players trying to talk to you or waiters offering you a drink. Also, sometimes spending too much time standing around can look suspicious.
A word of warning though, we are only practicing. Online live Blackjack is not good for card counting. They often cut the show in half, deal slowly, ban you quickly and will potentially keep your money. You see examples of this unprofitability throughout the course. It might be unprofitable to count cards online but is good for just practicing by back watching.
If you are going to play blackjack online, just play for fun. Blackjack Pal has all kinds of interesting online blackjack site directories to help you find a blackjack table. One directory you might want to check out is the directory for bitcoin blackjack sites . Always gamble responsibly.
Let us now return to the video. Your first step is going to be finding a live online dealer to back watch. Click on the live dealer tab in the left hand menu of Blackjack Pal. You'll see a list of sites that have live dealers in your country. It doesn't matter what site you play at and you won't be depositing money. Just find one that lets you watch the tables without playing. Sorry if your country does not have any suggestions right now, we are adding more high quality blackjack sites soon.
You might have to signup to view the blackjack tables but there should be no need to deposit funds. Head over to your sites live dealer page. You should be able to see how many people are sitting at each table. For practicing basic strategy we want to find a table with only one or two players. The dealer will be faster here.
Once you find a table, set up the basic strategy chart from the lesson resources.
In the video we are back watching the only player seated three seats from the right. We are going to be pretending to be this player to practice our basic strategy.
We can see on the bottom left of the screen there is a countdown clock. This is when the next hand is going to start.
The first hand we get on in the video has a queen and a 3 which is a regular total of 13. When we look at our basic strategy table "How To Play Regular Totals" at 13 against a dealers 9, we see we should hit our hand. The player we are back watching hits his hand. The player gets 21 and the dealer also gets 21 which is unlucky.
The second hand from the video gives us a 10 and a 2 which is a hard 12. The dealer shows a 10. To find our move, we go to 12 on our our basic strategy table How To Play Regular Totals" and then across to 10 which again is a hit. We see the player gets a 10 card which brings our hand to a 22 and bust. This is unlucky again because the dealer has 17.
The third hand from the basic strategy practice video shows the player with a 2 and a 6. The dealer shows an 8. When we look at our How To Play Regular Totals" chart we can see it is another hit. We get an ace which means we have 9 or 19 which is also know as a soft 19. This means we need to now look at our "How To Play Ace X" table to get the right move. The players hand against the dealers 8 is a stand. The dealer busts at 24 and the player wins.
The final hand shows the player with a 6 and a 4 versus the dealers 2. When we head back to the "How to Play Regular Totals" table, we can see the right play is to double the hand. The players one card is a 10 and the dealer stops at 19. The player wins.
The goal is to eventually be able to make all the right plays without looking at the basic strategy charts. You are not going to be able to check them when you are playing live at the casino.
You should try and get good at basic strategy before moving on to the next part of the course on running count .