Lesson 1 : Blackjack Basic Strategy getting started
his is the chart which you will eventually know as well as your own name  but don't
worry, you're not going to memorize it in this form. What we are going to do is convert all this into what a
"normal" person can understand. I call what's above the "Basic Strategy Matrix" and you will use it in some of your
training. But what we need to do in order to memorize this is to translate the information above into allinclusive
rules. Let's do a few as examples.
Look at the strategy for a player's hand of 9 on the matrix above; it says to double
against a 3,4,5 or 6 and hit it against everything else. We can turn that information into a simple rule: "With a
hand of 9, double versus 3 through 6, otherwise hit." See how this works? We are going to take each player's
starting hand and convert the proper play of that hand into one easytounderstand rule. Now look at a hand of A2.
Proper basic strategy says to double against 5 and 6 and hit it against everything else, so our rule for A2 is
"Double vs. 5 & 6, otherwise hit." As a bonus, we can group A2 with A3 since the play for each is identical.
So we end up with a rule like this "A2 , A3; double vs. 5 & 6, otherwise hit." One more example; a pair of
3's. When double after split is permitted, proper basic strategy says to split 3's whenever the dealer is showing a
2,3,4,5,6, or 7. Against any other dealer up card, we do not split; we should just hit the hand. Thus, our rule for
a pair of 3's becomes "3,3; split vs. 27, otherwise hit". Clear on all that? Good. Below is the basic strategy
chart for the matrix shown above
Basic Strategy Chart
 Player's Hand
 Decisions
 5 thru 8
 Always Hit
 9
 Double 3 thru 6, o/w hit
 10
 Double 2 thru 9, o/w hit
 11
 Double 2 thru 10, o/w hit
 12
 Stand 4 thru 6, o/w Hit
 13 thru 16
 Stand 2 thru 6, o/w Hit
 17 or higher
 Always Stand
 A,2
 Double vs 5&6, o/w Hit
 A,3
 Double vs 5&6, o/w Hit
 A,4
 Double vs 4 thru 6, o/w Hit
 A,5
 Double vs 4 thru 6, o/w Hit
 A,6
 Double vs 3 thru 6, o/w Hit
 A,7
 Double 3 thru 6, Stand vs 2,7,8 Hit vs 9,10, A
 A,8A,9
 Always Stand
 2,2
 Split 2 thru 7, o/w Hit
 3,3
 Split 2 thru 7, o/w Hit
 4,4
 Split vs 5 & 6, o/w Hit
 5,5
 Never Split, treat as "10"
 6,6
 Split 2 thru 6, o/w Hit
 7,7
 Split 2 thru 7, o/w Hit
 8,8
 Always split
 9,9
 Split 2 thru 9 except 7; o/w Stand
 10,10
 Never Split
 A,A
 Always Split
Remember The Basic Strategy Chart shown here applies only to the game described earlier; you must produce your own
to fit the rules of your favorite casino. Once you've made your Basic Strategy Chart, we can begin to memorize
it.
To do that, we will produce a set of "flashcards". Remember those? You probably learned how
to add or subtract using those cards and they will also teach you how to win at Blackjack. You need to make one
flashcard for each starting hand by reproducing the information above on a 2" x 2' piece of paper. (Manila file
folder material does well for this.) Here's what one looks like;
When you're finished, you'll have a pack of flashcards which will help you to memorize the
proper basic strategy for the game you've chosen. Start carrying them with you and as you encounter those "lost"
moments we each seem to have in our day  waiting for a plane, sitting at the dentist's office or even while
watching TV, pull your cards out and start reciting the rule for the hand shown. Check your accuracy by flipping
over the card and then put it on the bottom of the pack. You'll be amazed at how quickly you begin to learn all
these rules.
homework
I said this was a school, didn't I? Well, you will also have some homework to do before we
get together again next week. Here are your assignments
Flashcards: Spend a minimum of one hour each day going through the cards.
Next we'll finish with how to learn basic strategy through a discussion and demonstration
of additional training aids and exercises which will give you the means to check your accuracy. It is not necessary
for you to have your chosen basic strategy memorized perfectly at that point; all you need to know now is HOW to
learn basic strategy. Exactly WHEN you learn it is up to you, since each part of this course is separate and does
not depend on you knowing perfectly what came before.
