A Card Counter’s Guide to Basic Strategy

– The single most important thing you will ever learn in playing Blackjack, or becoming a card counter, is a system called Basic Strategy. So what it Basic Strategy, and why do you need to know it? I’m gonna answer that in this video.

(funky music) The absolute foundation to beating Blackjack is Basic Strategy. If you don’t master this, you have no chance of beating the game. Okay, so what is Basic Strategy?

Basic Strategy tells you exactly how to play every possible hand in Blackjack; when to Hit, when to Stand, when to Split, when to Double Down, or even when to Surrender. So, where did Basic Strategy come from and how do we know it we can trust it? Well, Basic Strategy was figured out like, a long time ago, using very early computers, but it’s been revised over the years based on how Blackjack is normally dealt today, and it’s completely run off math and computer simulations. And we’ll tell you the mathematically correct decision for every hand you can possibly be dealt at the Blackjack tables. Because Basic Strategy is the statistically correct answer for every hand you can be dealt, it’s really important that you don’t just learn 80 or 90% of it. These aren’t suggestions that you can then build your own strategy around.

These are the correct decisions to make every time. When I say they’re the mathematically correct decision, that doesn’t mean you’re gonna win every hand when you play this way. But it means it’s gonna help you in one of two ways. The first way Basic Strategy helps you is it helps you, at times, to win more money.

So, as an example of that, it’ll tell you the correct times to Double Down. Doubling Down when you have the advantage is a way to have more money on the table when you actually have an advantageous hand. It doesn’t work out 100% of the time, but it does work out over the long run if you follow it properly. The second way Basic Strategy will help you is it’ll help you lose less money. So as an example, consider a 16 against an ace.

Most players don’t like hitting a 16 against an ace because the odds are they’re going to lose. And the reality is, the odds are you are going to lose if you hit a 16 against an ace. But you’re gonna lose less money by following Basic Strategy and hitting a 16 against an ace, than by ignoring Basic Strategy and Standing a 16 against an ace. So, if you have a hand that is a negative expectation, maybe you’re gonna only lose 50 cents on average by following Basic Strategy, rather than losing 75 cents by ignoring Basic Strategy. So by following the math, the expectation over enough time is that you’re going to lose less money.

Okay, as far as learning Basic Strategy, it’s put together in a simple chart. There’s a link below where you can download it and start memorizing it. And if you commit yourself to memorizing it, you can actually learn it fairly quickly. And, for our members in our video course section, we actually have a series of videos that will help you learn it even faster by teaching you how to memorize the patterns, and different ways of reciting it.

We also provide a Basic Strategy drill that you can use for free on BlackjackApprenticeship.com to start practicing playing Basic Strategy. So, some people point out that our chart might look a little bit different from other charts that you could find on the internet. And, you can trust our chart. The reason ours might look different is we have it based off of the most common rules that are found today at the Blackjack tables, and some of the other charts might be based off of rules that were more common 20 or 30 years ago.

But, don’t worry about it. Commit this chart to memory, and then if you wanna actually beat the game, you can move on to the next steps that’ll take you to the next level. Now, I wanna be honest with you. Even with perfect Basic Strategy, you won’t have a winning game. Basic Strategy cuts the casino’s advantage to roughly half of one percent, but the casino still has a very slim advantage with perfect Basic Strategy. To actually gain the advantage, you have to learn how to count cards.

That will tell you, with perfect Basic Strategy, when you have the edge, and when the casino has the edge, and how do you use that to your advantage. If you’re interested in learning how to legally beat Blackjack with card counting, we have a free card counting mini course that you can sign up for below, where I will teach you what card counting is and isn’t, how to do it, and the biggest mistakes Blackjack players make, and how to avoid them. So check out the card counting mini course, and learn how to play Blackjack like a pro.