Basic strategy is used as a foundation for card counting, but is also used by many non-counters. After the cards are shuffled by the dealer and cut by one of the players, one or more cards are "burned" before any cards are dealt to the players. The option to double is often allowed on the players first two cards only, although some casinos allow doubling after splitting a pair. Many Northern Nevada casinos allowing doubling only with a two-card total of 10 or It is very rare to find games that allow doubling of hands that have more than two cards.
Generally, when doubling is allowed, the player does not have to actually double his bet, but may increase it by any amount up to but not more than the original bet. Very valuable to the player, but rarely offered by the casinos. Some casinos will allow the player to be paid without actually placing the insurance bet.
This is called "taking even money". See "insurance". This bet pays if the dealer has a natural Also see "even money". If the dealer has a natural 21 blackjack , the player's bet still loses in its entirety. If the dealer does not have a blackjack, the player loses half the bet and doesn't play the rest of the hand.
It is always possible to draw one card to a soft hand without busting. This option is exercised by adding a new bet to the second hand, and these hands are played independently. Some hands, such as 16 vs. The correct playing decision often involves some consideration of the dealer's upcard.
Q:B3 What special terminology is used by card counters? A:B3 Steve Jacobs. This gives an estimate of the accuracy of the card counting system. Usually done standing in back of the players. Most counting systems use a balanced count. This weight is added to the "count" as each new card is exposed. This gives an estimate of the accuracy of the card counting system for predicting when to take insurance. Good penetration is extremely important to card counters. Red 7 is an example of an unbalanced count.
Q:B4 Why is there so much talk about blackjack in rec. A:B4 Steve Jacobs. Blackjack is the most popular table game in American casinos, and the abundance of blackjack articles in rec. Unlike many other casino games, skillful play in blackjack allows the player to gain a slight advantage over the casino. However, there is no single form of the game that is found in all casinos, and it is often possible to find several slightly different forms of blackjack within the same casino.
When playing blackjack, the "correct" strategy to use will depend on the number of card decks used and on the particular "house rules" that are in effect during play. All of these factors combine to make blackjack a very complicated topic. This question will eventually be deleted from the rec. Answer: Simulations performed by rec. There is disagreement on the net about how much advantage this translates into in "real-world" casinos, but it's generally believed that players can play with a small, long-run advantage in BJ.
The variance is very high in this game, however, which makes the slight advantage in BJ far from a sure thing. Q:B6 How much of an advantage can card counting give? A:B6 Steve Jacobs. A typical card counter will have an edge of 1. The casinos would like you to believe that card counting is illegal, immoral, and fattening, but the fact is that card counters are simply using a greater level of skill than the typical blackjack player.
The Nevada courts have ruled that blackjack players are free to use any information that is made available to them, provided that there is no collusion between a player and casino personnel. For example, if a dealer accidentally handles the cards in such a way that a player can see the dealer's hole card, the player can make use of this information without breaking the law. This depends on where you play. In Atlantic City, where games of skill are not permitted, the casinos are not allowed to ban skillful players.
In Nevada, casinos are allowed to refuse service to anyone at any time for any reason. Players are routinely "barred", usually by being asked to leave or by being told that they are welcome to play any game other than blackjack. If you are barred but persist in trying to play, the casino can have you arrested for trespassing. Q:B9 What is the correct basic strategy for single deck Blackjack?
A:B9 Steve Jacobs. The following basic strategy is for single deck games without DAS double-after-splits. Q:B10 What is the correct basic strategy for Atlantic City blackjack? A:B10 Steve Jacobs. Dealer must stand on any Double-down allowed on soft hands. Pairs may be split only once.
Player may double-down after splitting pairs. Surrender is not allowed. Strategy Table might bust might stand Q:B11 What is the house edge when playing basic strategy? A:B11 Steve Jacobs. Q:B12 Why are single deck games better than multi-deck games? A:B12 Adbul Jalib M'hall. There are some surface differences, such as single and double deck usually being hand-held, while four or more decks are dealt from a shoe, but there are fundamental mathematical differences too.
Single deck blackjack is usually better than multiple deck blackjack for card counters, basic strategists, and the clueless. Busting less often helps the dealer's hand more than yours, since the dealer is forced by the rigid rules to hit more often than you.
Blackjacks are also less frequent, which is bad since you get paid 3 to 2 for those. All in all, multiple decks will cost a basic strategist nearly 0. This was an intuitive explanation; a complete mathematically sound albeit huge proof can be generated by a combinatorial analysis program. Card counters face the additional problem that the count is less volatile with multiple decks and hence offers less frequent opportunities for large favorable bets.
Consider the difference between an urn with 1 black and 1 white marble versus an urn with black and white marbles. Draw half the marbles: what is the probability that all the remaining marbles are white? In the 1 and 1 case, there is a 1 in 2 chance. In the and case, there is only a 1 in ,,,,,,,,, chance!
As a general purpose card counting system, it is relatively weak and not particularly recommended, but it illustrates many of the principles behind card counting. This is intended only to give a feel for how card counting is done, and is not recommended for actual practice, although I've used it because of its simplicity. For single deck games: 1 Start the count at -4 when the deck is shuffled.
The unique feature of this counting method is that it is perfectly accurate for dealing with insurance. When the count is positive, the player has the advantage when taking the insurance bet. When the count is negative, the house has the advantage, so insurance should not be taken. Counting is best done by counting several cards at once.
It is easy to practice this counting method in the following way:. The first approach is to evaluate different systems by simulation. The second approach estimates several performance parameters of each system that collectively approximate the system's inherent potential. This allows the strengths of different BJ systems to be studied in detail, which should allow better, more precise comparison of different systems and aid efforts to improve a particular system.
It's not yet clear how these two studies relate, and no rec. Background: Lots of systems are available. There is an important tradeoff between complexity and theoretical power, as more complex systems are harder to use and more error-prone. Answer: You pick 'em.
A rec. Complexity is a subjective measure with guidelines described in the results paper. Q:B19 What BJ counting system is most effective? The playing efficiency, betting correlation, and insurance correlation is listed below for several counting systems. These numbers give an indication of the effectiveness of the counting system. When two numbers are listed, the second number results from adding an ace side count in addition to the "main" count. See answer B3 for definitions of "betting correlation", "playing efficiency", and "insurance correlation".
Q:B20 Does penetration have any effect on basic strategy expectation? A:B20 Steve Jacobs. Probably not. Unless the dealer is cheating, the cards will be in a random order after the shuffle. AQ Raise to destroy the implied odds of the fish and narrow the field. KJ and QJ suffice in very passive games with no rake. In middle position, you will be raising with more weak hands to steal the blinds, so you can raise with most of your strong hands too, especially since limping is unlikely to induce a raise.
Example: You're in late middle position, 3 off the button. QQ Raise. No one is likely to raise for you. Provide cover to steals. Likely dominated downstream. Cannot count on enough callers. AQ Raise, for the same reason as early position. You'd need a minimum offsuit of close to AT or KJ to open here.
On the button, you should be open-raising with a lot of hands if your opponents defend the blinds properly, and if they are too tight you can raise with any two cards at least until they start adapting. It is too conspicuous to limp here. Your pair is quite strong here, if you get heads up. ATs Raise. Laying odds. Fold versus loose small blind.
AQ Raise. This is a monster. A3 would suffice. JT Raise. Finally, on the button or one off, it is likely best, barely. A rake seriously reduces the number of hands with which you can steal, as you will be paying a lot for a crapshoot against the big blind. With a Draconian rake, like where the big blind gets dropped once the flop comes, you would need about JJ or better to open on the button!
Even with a modest rake, JT and 76s should be folded. You should raise an opened pot when you will win the pot more than your fair share of the time or your hand would play better without additional players in the pot. Consider whether calling would lure dominated hands to call after you or additional hands period to give you odds for your draw , or whether raising would drive out dominating hands after you or allow you to get heads up or almost so versus a hand you dominate.
Most people think that you should play looser after limpers compared to opening. If a tight player limps, you have to be careful. Even if the limper raises with his best hands, versus his weak limp you have to play about as tight as if you were opening in his position, as you have no chance to steal the blinds, though you should still raise if you suspect you might dominate his hand.
On the other hand, if the limper would limp with his best hands, then you must play much tighter. After several tight players limp, you can play hands that do well multiway any pair, any suited ace, big suited kings and queens, and medium to big suited zero and one gappers , but the only offsuit hands you can play are AQ and AK, partially for fear of domination, partially for fear of the big cards being "dead. Example: You are facing one tight limper and you are on the button. No need to worry about stealing blinds.
Calling is a mistake. Unlikely to get heads-up and cannot get 4 callers. ATs Call. Proceed with caution if you flop an ace for fear of limping AJ. Similar to 55 case. Same with AJ and KQ. Your hand is likely best. Get heads up. Calling here is a huge mistake. With loose players coming in with hopeless hands like T7 and J6, then it's true that you can play looser after limpers, with "trashy" suited hands like T8s and K4s, and any pocket pair. You should raise liberally to punish them, since weak offsuit hands really get hurt by preflop raises, as they have only a tiny chance of winning the pot.
After many limpers, even Q6s and 65s can play best with a raise on the button; suited aces, kings, and queens and suited zero gappers win more than their fair share of pots versus many loose limpers. Offsuit hands likely to be best will also win more than their fair share of pots and should raise.
Example: You are facing five loose limpers and you are on the button. About 8-way to flop, but it will win less than 1 in 8 times. Big suited's win more than their fair share in multiway pots. Even suited zero gappers win more than their fair share here. Your hand is likely best, by far. If you want to play offsuit cards, you must have the best. It is a myth that hands like AQ are in trouble here.
You are in trouble if you don't raise, but if you raise you wreck the implied odds of the suited garbage your opponents hold. Also, your cards have a better chance of being live if no one raised, so you will win the pot considerably more than your fair share of the time.
Similarly, if you were likely to have the highest hand with something like KJ or even KT, you should raise here, again partially for win share, partially to wreck the implied odds of your opponents. This advice contradicts Sklansky and Malmuth, as well as others. Their argument is that the fish will call correctly with gutshots and pairs on the flop if you raise preflop, but the problem is that the fish will be calling with pairs and gutshots no matter what, and their loose calls usually will be correct whether you raised or not.
Would you prefer they pay 3 small bets to see the turn or would you like to let them get off cheaply for just 2 small bets to see the turn? However, if you make a mistake by usually laying down AQ on flop that misses even though you believed you had the best hand preflop then perhaps you would be better off playing incorrectly preflop by not raising. Another exception could be made if your opponents will "check to the raiser" if and only if the flop contains an ace, king, or queen.
It is a myth that you should raise with baby pairs like 33 after six or fewer limpers, even if you know the blinds will call, because though you will flop a set more then 1 in 9 times, you will win the pot less than 1 in 9 times. This too contradicts Sklansky and Malmuth. A possible exception is when the raise has a decent chance of buying you a free card on the flop, as this now improves your chance of winning to better than 1 in 9, but it is normally rare that all 8 opponents would check to the raiser.
The key concept when facing a tight raiser is: "run away and live to fight another hand. You need a hand a couple levels higher than the raiser's minimums to consider playing. Offsuit aces are especially vulnerable to being dominated by a tight raiser. The implied odds of suited zero or one gappers are trashed by raises.
Medium pairs can easily be dominated by bigger pairs, and otherwise it's usually a crapshoot against two overcards. Therefore, to avoid giving away information, flat call with these hands preflop and go for a raise on the flop. What do you do? You need about 99 to call, two levels higher than his ATs Fold. You could call with AQs, barely. Implied odds are shot to hell.
AQ Fold. Against looser raises you could call. See AQs note under ATs. JT Fold, unless you are a fish. Versus a loose raise, such as a steal raise from one off the button when you are on the button or small blind, you should reraise liberally to isolate, unless you fear your hand could be beat by the raiser but could be called by some weaker hands behind if you flat call.
Example: You are on the button facing a raise from one off the button from a good player with competent opponents in the blinds. QQ Reraise. You do not fear AA or KK here. Your hand plays much better heads up than 3-way. For fear of AJ, AJs is the first safe reraise. Your hand plays better heads up than 3-way.
AQ Reraise. Keep it heads-up to preserve chance of winning unimproved. JT Borderline fold. Could call versus an even looser raise. Versus a raiser plus cold callers, you have to play a bit differently than versus just a raiser. Tight cold callers are bad news; each one increases your calling requirements.
Loose callers relax the calling requirements for suited cards, and for pairs if you will have many opponents for the flop. Given how tight you have to play versus a single raise, you can imagine how tight you have to play if there is a raise and reraise from tight players in early position.
You can still play with TT and JJ, unless the reraiser is extremely tight. This contradicts Sklansky and Malmuth. This is a reraise or fold situation. Raising in the big blind after limpers gives away information, but a raise often can buy you the pot by the turn if the game is not too loose, as your opponents will often put you on AA or KK.
Versus tight limpers, you have to be sure your hand is best. The rankings of hands when defending the big blind versus a raise is quite a bit different than the rankings for opening. You are getting over odds to flop something good, or at least a pair. Proper big blind defense strategy varies dramatically depending on the raiser's minimums. Against typical raises, call liberally with hands that have straight or flush potential, as well as pairs.
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Jalib meaning. Name :. Gender :. Meaning of Jalib :. Rhyming Names of Jalib:. Names Similar to Jalib :. Jalib Numerology :. Remember, since you have just one or two opponents, it's much less likely that they are helped by a scare card than at a full table, and they are probably just as scared of the card as you are.
Look out for bluff raises when a low card on the board pairs on the turn. If the flop got checked through, then you should often bet on the turn even if you don't have much. When out of position, it may appear to your opponent as if you attempted to check-raise the flop but failed and so now you are betting the turn with a real hand. When in position, and your opponent checks again on the turn despite your checking after him on the flop, well, it sure looks like he is just begging you to take the pot.
However, if you have a really bad hand with no hope of winning in a showdown, you might want to save your cold bluff for the river, since you don't want to run a cold bluff on both the turn and the river, and you don't want to bluff on the turn and then concede on the river when you have no chance of winning the showdown yet aren't sure your opponent has a hand. When out of position and rope-a-doping a powerful hand by checking on the turn, you should almost always check raise if your opponent bets, because you are probably going to want to bet the river anyway, and so you might as well spring the trap now for that extra bet.
Also, if you opponent is on a draw, he will pay that extra bet on the turn but not on the river unless he makes his draw. When out of position with a drawing hand and the turn gets checked through, then you should often bet into your opponent on the river regardless of whether or not you made your draw. And with position on the river, you should often bet if your opponent checks. However, your opponent with position on the turn may make a powerful play by raising you when he intends on calling on the river anyway, especially if he has an okay hand with some draws, even if he strongly suspects it is second best now.
One can even do this raise on the turn with just a good draw or even as a pure bluff, though this would be risky if the other player showed strength by check-raised on the flop. Because when your opponent raises on the turn with position it may just be a semi-bluff, don't always dump your no-where-near-the-nuts hand This reraise can be done for value with a hand as weak as top pair or it can even be done as a pure bluff against the right opponent at the right time.
If you reraised your opponent on the turn, you have a good but beatable hand, and the river card is a flush or straight or pair scare card, then it's perfectly reasonable to check into your opponent with the intention of calling; you may induce a bluff from the poorer players here your opponent would have to be dumb to bluff on the river when you reraised his ass on the turn, but you might as well give him the chance to make this mistake , and you may save yourself a bet if your opponent hit his draw.
On the other hand, heads up often that flush or straight scare card will be just as scary to your opponent as to you, so sometimes you can bluff or value bet without worrying about getting hit with a raise unless you are beat. If you have a no-where-near-the-nuts hand that you want to showdown, then you can check, but if you opponent is likely to fold some hands better than yours and that's very plausible given given your reraise on the turn then you should often bet.
More generally, if on the river you have a hand that you would agonize over calling if you check and your opponent bets, then usually you should bet, especially since you can easily fold it if you are raised. And that points to the fact that you can occasionally succeed in bluff-raising on the river with position. Don't try this too often though, but also remember that it has to work only a fraction of the time to be worthwhile. A bluff check-raise on the river can work too, but it's so tricky to pull off that it's almost not worth mentioning.
Well that's off the top of my head. Short-handed hold'em is a glorious game, where the skill factor really goes through the roof and your play should become much more probabilisticly mixed up and aggressive, including much more bluffing and semi-bluffing than at a full table.
If you are a good full table player, you can help adjust your play to a short table by usually betting instead of checking and usually folding or raising instead of calling. That's good advice for full tables too, but it goes double for short-handed tables. When I post stuff like this sometimes readers think I'm being condescending or arrogant. Nothing could be further from the truth. If I post more than a terse response, then it's because I'm not sure of everything I'm saying, and I'm interested in learning more about the subject.
I'm actually seeking feedback from you rec. Preflop Yes, you should see more flops when short-handed. On The Turn If on the flop you bet and your opponent called, don't make the mistake of showing weakness by checking the turn, especially if you are going to fold if your opponent bets.