Always Split Aces and Eights
There are some basics in blackjack. Splitting aces and eights only makes senses since a hand equaling 2 or 12 compared to having two hands of 11 is a no brainer. Even though you only receive one card to your ace, the chances of getting 21 or a relatively decent hand are good.
Splitting eights all the time is a bit riskier. Some blackjack studs say not to split eights if the dealer is showing a nine or a ten. For me, it depends on how the cards are flowing that day whether I will split the eights all the time or just when it feels right against that dealer nine or ten.
Probably the most important strategy for wining blackjack is to always play the dealer for a ten in the hole. This will be the basis of your winning strategy. If the dealer is showing a ten, you play him as if he has twenty and hit or stay accordingly. The same rule applies if the dealer is showing a six or any other bust combination (12, 13, 14, or 15). You always have to play as if you had x-ray vision and could see the dealer’s hole card.
Playing hunches will kill you. You have to have a plan and stick to it. And your plan should follow the basic rules. Granted there will plenty of times that the dealer doesn’t have that ten in the hole, but you have to stick to your guns and play it that way.
One mistake that I see a lot of novices make is splitting tens or face cards. They will do this mostly when the dealer is showing a bust card. They think they will be able to double their money hitting each one of their tens. This is ridiculous. Who splits the second best hand in blackjack? Definitely not me.
Besides doubling down on tens and elevens, if the house allows it, I love to double on soft 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 if the dealer is showing a 3, 4, 5 or 6. There is a good chance the dealer will bust, and also a good chance you will improve your hand, or get a ten and it remains the same.
I have always held if I had twelve and the dealer showed a bust card. But, recently I read that you should hit a 12 against the dealer when he shows a 2. I was a bit hesitant to do this since there was a chance that I would bust. But, playing this way, I have found out that I have won more than I have lost. This strategy you will have to decide for yourself if it right for you.
These are some of the basic blackjack strategies that you can apply. The key is to remain consistent even when the cards are against you. If you hit a bad run, get up from the table and take a break. Don’t keep throwing your money away when a dealer is hot.