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Contrary to many people's belief, BLACKJACK is not just a game of luck. There are certain elements that should be taken into consideration on every hand. Below is these such elements broken down into simple terms. Following these "tips" should give an advantage to you whilst playing the game.
These "tips" should always be followed no matter if you are playing online or in a "real" casino.
If you are dealt two cards of the same value, you are given the option to "split". Taking this option means you must place your original stake again and turns your one hand into two. For example, if you stake $10 and you are dealt an eight followed by an eight, you can place another $10 on the table and have two hands. The two cards are then placed apart and each receives another card from the pack. You are then asked whether you wish to "hit" or "stay" on each hand. The exception to this is if you are dealt two Aces, you are permitted to "split" them, but only one extra card per ace is given.
There is certain times when this is advisable, and also when it is not:
NEVER split fours, fives, nines or tens/picture cards.
ALWAYS split Aces and eights.
Split two's, three's, sixes & seven's when the dealer's up card is either a 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6.
Once you have placed your stake and had your two cards dealt, you are also given the option to "double down". Doing this means you must place chips equal to your stake on the table again. You are then dealt ONE more card only. Once you have opted to "double down" you are not permitted to "hit". For example, you place a stake of $10 on the table, your are then dealt a 9 and a 2 giving a total of 11. You decide to "double down", you place another $10 on the table and are dealt one more card. No matter what the card is, that is your hand over. If your third card was an ace, you would end your hand with a total of 12.
So, when should and when shouldn't you "double down"?:
ALWAYS when you have 11.
ALWAYS when you have a total of 10, IF the dealer is showing anything except a 10.
ALWAYS when you have a total of 9 and the dealer is showing either a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8.
ALWAYS when you have "soft" 13, 14, 15 or 16 (Ace and 2,3,4,5) and the dealer is showing a 6.