Before delving into basic strategy, you should have an understanding of the game itself: you should be thoroughly familiar with the rules, and at least acquainted with the basic odds and the way they are calculated in order to understand the advantages that basic strategy offers. This information can be found in the“Fundamentals” section of this site.
The strategy itself is fairly straightforward: it consists of three charts (often shown in combined fashion) that indicate how to play “hard” hands, “soft” hands, and pairs, based on the likely outcome of the dealer’s hand, taking into account the card that is showing. Simply by following these diagrams faithfully, a player can reduce the house advantage from 8.9% to a mere fraction of a percentage. The results have proven mathematically as well as in practice over the course of many years, many players, and countless millions of hands.
- Introduction to Basic Strategy
- A look at basic strategy master charts (those that apply to the most common situations) and an explanation of how they should be used.
- How Basic Strategy Works
- This explains the reasons behind the charts in terms of their effects on odds. Though the statistics can be pretty dry, it’s important to understand the reasoning behind the instructions to avoid the urge to ignore them in difficult situations.
- Situational Strategy
- The master charts apply to most games—six or more decks, dealer stands on soft 17. There are slight variations against fewer decks or when the dealer hits soft 17. Charts and explanations are provided.
- Basic Strategy Trainers
- These interactive applications will help you to apply basic strategy to real-game situations by providing a exercises that indicate when your decisions deviate from the master chart.
Once you have learned basic strategy, it would be worthwhile to practice it a while before moving forward—not just using the drilling application, but by placing real wagers in a casino. Once you’re completely comfortable with playing basic strategy, and can score 95% or better over the course of at least 200 hands on the simulator, continue to the Intermediate Strategy section.