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By Stanford Wong

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Extra resources for Basic Blackjack

Sample text

If you wish to play basic strategy that is more accurate when the dealer hits soft seventeen, there are only a few changes: Double down on eleven against ace; double down on soft nineteen against 6; double down on soft eighteen against 2; and surrender fifteen, seventeen, and 8-8 against ace. Surrendering 8-8 against ace is 3% better than the generic play (splitting). 6% better than the generic play (standing). Each of the other modifications to basic strategy for dealer hits seventeen are better than.

The reason is that your expected win rate is higher when excess lOs and aces remain to be used, and it is lower when excess small cards remain to be used. Rounds that contain, excessive small cards tend to use up more cards. Rounds that contain excess lOs and aces tend to use up fewer cards. A fixed shuflle point means that more hands are dealt when excess lOs and aces have already been used. 1% according to "Experimental Comparisons of Blackjack Betting Systems" by John Gwynn and Annand Seri. If the dealer is shuffling at a fixed point and you are getting a variable number of rounds between shuflles, then your expected win rate is lower on the rounds that are only sometimes dealt.

However, it is a very close approximation for single deck. I personally switch back and forth frequently between single and multiple decks in a day of playing blackjack, and I play the same version of basic strategy no matter how many decks I face. It is possible to make strategy adjustments based on the precise number of decks shuffled together, but doing so is an intellectual exercise only and does not result in significantly increased win rates. For precision in playing single-deck blackjack, see pages 173178 of Peter Griffin's The Theory of Blackjack.