An important tip for single-deck games: although it’s possible sometimes to get paid 5-to-1 on a natural 21 (if there’s an ace as one of the up cards), the real advantage is that both players hit with blackjack, whoever has the higher total wins.
So instead of hitting 16 vs. 3, how about 17 vs. 2 when playing five cards? It’s definitely worth trying because even though you stand no better than 10%, you’ve got almost twice the chance of winning. Visit mamasboyct.com to better your skills.
Playing without chips
When playing blackjack without betting chips, it’s even more important to be aware of situations where there are two close options: such as 21 vs. ace + 2 (or just 21 vs. 2). This means hitting 17 vs. 2, but standing on 21 vs. A, or hitting 16 against 3 but standing on 18 vs. J – there’s no right answer here, so just be aware of it and pick whatever you think is more likely to win (or whatever your gut tells you).
For example, if you’re dealt a 15 with two cards valued 2 and 3 remaining in the deck, go ahead and hit even though the dealer has a seven showing since there’s a significant chance, you’ll end up with at least one natural 21.
There aren’t any charts for this since every hand is different, but the basic idea is to separate pairs as soon as possible and hope to double down while also hitting more hands when splits are already in effect – and try not to hit with 15 vs. 4 or 16 vs. 5.
It’s always better if your first card (when you only have one) scores 8 or higher as opposed to 10-to-2, which means splitting unless it’s 2-3/A-K/8 against 7 in the single deck; otherwise standing on 13+ against anything less than 7, hitting on 19+, standing on 18 vs. 3 or 18+ against everything.