The color-coded strategy chart contains the same information as the black-and-white table except it presents the strategy in the form of a color-coded matrix. The reason is that some players find it easier to learn the basic strategy with a color-coded chart. The dealer’s upcard (2 though Ace) appears along the top of the chart and the player’s hand can be found down the first column, grouped in order by Hard Hands, Soft Hands, followed by Pairs. For example, if you are dealt, say, a 12 and the dealer’s upcard is a 2, go down the first column to 12, go across the top (Dealers’ Upcard ) to the 2, and at the intersection of the 12 and the 2 is the letter H, meaning the correct strategy is to hit.
Let’s try another hand. Supposed you are playing a single-deck, H17, NDAS game and you are dealt an A-7 against the dealer’s upcard of 6. To find the correct strategy, go down the first column to A-7 and then go across the row until it intersects with the column labeled 6 (i.e., dealer’s upcard). You’ll notice the letters Ds at that intersection. The abbreviation Ds means double down if the rules allow it, otherwise, you should stand.
Note: There is a listing of abbreviations at the bottom of each chart.
notice that the charts are color coded. The background colors for each decision are:
INSIDER TIPS FOR PLAYING SINGLE-DECK GAMES
In most single-deck games, the dealers pitch the cards face down to players and a discard tray is not used, although a few casinos have used them. It’s rare when a casino will deal the cards face up to players in a single-deck game. Be sure you know the correct etiquette for holding your cards and signaling your playing decision to the dealer when playing in a single-deck game.
The basic strategy for pair splitting changes slightly when the rules specify NDAS vs. DAS. If you look at the pair splitting strategy in the color-coded charts for NDAS vs. DAS you’ll see that you will split more times when the rules specify DAS vs. NDAS. That’s because you want to be more aggressive in splitting when you have the opportunity to double down after you split. For example, with NDAS, you split 3s against a dealer’s 4, 5, and 6 upcard but with DAS, you extend the pair splitting to include the dealer’s 2 and 3 upcards.
Many single-deck games in land-based casinos pay only 6 to 5, instead of 3 to 2, for a winning blackjack. When the casino pays only 6-5 for a blackjack, the house edge increases by 1.4% (ouch!). I’ll have more to say about these dastardly 6-5 games in Chapter 5 but for now remember to never play any blackjack game that pays 6-5 on a blackjack.
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