Blackjack Guide card

Composition Dependent Strategy

Composition Dependent Basic StrategyHOW TO FURTHER REDUCE THE HOUSE EDGE

The strategy charts and tables presented in Chapter 3 will decrease the house against you when you play blackjack to around 0.5% (rule dependent). In this chapter, I’ll show you five additional techniques that could further reduce the house edge.

The basic strategy presented in Chapter 3 considered just the total of all the cards in your hand, without any consideration of the individual cards that comprise the total, known as Total-Dependent or T-D basic strategy. The latter is also more commonly referred to as the traditional basic playing strategy. There is nothing “wrong” with this basic strategy; however, you can gain extra precision (i.e., slightly lower house edge) if you consider the composition of the cards in your hand, known as Composition-Dependent or C-D basic strategy.

Actually, C-D basic strategy has been around for a long time, having first been proposed in 1979 in the classic book The Theory of Blackjack by the late blackjack mathematician Peter A. Griffin.16 Values Table More recently, additional information on C-D basic strategy can be found in the book Blackjack Attack: Playing the Pros’ Way by Don Schlesinger; The book Blackjack Bluebook II by Fred Renzey; and Don Schlesinger’s commercially available Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Cards.

Developing a strategy chart or table with all of the possible composition-dependent strategies would be pages long and virtually impossible for an average player to learn. However, what follows are a few composition-dependent plays that you can readily learn and use to make you a tougher player.

12 Values Table16 AGAINST DEALER 10

If I asked you how you would play the following hands against a dealer’s 10 upcard what would be your answer? Assume surrender is not offered; if surrender is offered, you should surrender all two-card hard 16s against a dealer’s 10 upcard except 8-8.


According to the (T-D) strategy charts and tables in Chapter 3, you would hit the first three hands and split the 8s. However, what the T-D basic strategy doesn’t consider is the makeup of the hand. It turns out there is a difference between a 16 made up of two cards, such as 10-6 and 9-7, and one made up of three cards, such as 4-5-7. All three hands total 16, but with a three-card 16, you are better off standing, whereas with the two-card 16, you should hit.

Reduce House EdgeThe reason you should stand on a 16 when your hand contains three or more cards is because your hand contains one (or more) small-value cards that are no longer available in the pack of unplayed cards. These small cards are exactly what you need to make a pat hand when you hit your 16. The fact that a few of them just landed in your hand is enough to shift the odds toward standing rather than hitting.

Fred Renzey, author of Blackjack Bluebook II, states the following in his book: “Against a 10 up, if your 16 contains any 4’s or 5’s, then stand.” Blackjack author Don Schlesinger takes this rule one step further with his Ultimate Blackjack Strategy card, where he states: “Stand if 16 is multi-card, or the result of a pair split.”

According to Schlesinger, “When all multi-card 16s are taken into account, and the edges are weighted, it is wiser to stand on all of them rather than hit on all of them. There are some exceptions, but their level of complexity was too great to be enunciated on the strategy card."

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FAQ

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How are the cards dealt in blackjack?

Deal each player 2 cards face down. Give yourself 1 card face-up and 1 card face down. Players' cards are dealt face up in "shoe" games, & the players can't touch their cards. Either way, you should have 1 card showing & 1 card face down. !

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