memorizing strategy???
  • Hi! I've been around blackjack practically my whole life, but just decided to get into it seriously. I have counting (high-low) down pretty good, but I am struggling with memorizing the basic strategy chart. Any suggestions? Thanks!
  • Joe

    You are doing things backwards. You need to learn basic strategy, in fact you need basic strategy to be completely automatic, completely natural and instantanious in your mind before you ever attempt to count.
    Part of the advantage you get through counting is the deviations you make to basic strategy and you can not properly deviate from something that you do not know.

    You need to memorize it and at somepoint much of it makes sense to you. You can use flash cards or a website like this to test yourself once you have learned it. Most people have difficulty with only certain segments and often it is the soft doubles. Work on that section. Practive on the web till you have it perfect and then think about counting.

  • The palms is on of those casino that will let you bring in a basic stragedy chart.
  • It takes everyone a little time to master the entire chart. One thing that I did that really helped me nail down which sections I knew great and which ones I needed work on was filling in an empty chart by hand. The website has an empty chart you can print out to practice with.
  • You might find it helpful to use a few heuristics than to memorize the chart cold. Just a few off the top of my head:

    When the dealer shows 7-A:

    Hit until you have 17 if your hand is hard
    Hit until you have 18 if your hand is soft (note exceptions)


    Always split A's and 8's
    Split 9's versus any upcard equal or smaller in value with the exception of 7.
    Split 7's and 6's versus any upcard equal or smaller in value
    Never split 5's


    Double with 10 and 11 versus any upcard smaller in value
    Double 9's versus 3-6 (think 3+6=9 if it helps)

    Soft Doubles:

    Always double versus 5 and 6

    There are more rules of thumb you can create to help yourself memorize the rest of the chart. Altogether, it shouldn't take you more than 5 days to get BS down cold. Remeber to drill yourself playing the BS trainer on this site until you can get 100% consistently on the difficult setting. Make sure also that your BS chart correctly applies to the ruleset of your game.
  • Thanks for the advice! Sorry I didn't introduce myself first. My name is Joe and I'm from upstate NY, near the ever popular Turning Stone. I'm a pretty decent poker player, in which i got my BR of 1k. I started playing poker about a year ago, mostly with friends and small cash games. I started off with $10 and just watched it grow. I recently got a job traveling and found it very hard to get into a poker game, and online poker doesn't count. So I decided to really learn BJ, yes after watching a documentary on MIT, but not to make millions or to live off of. I just want to have a little fun learning something new, going to casino's for hours and walk out with most, if not a little more, of my money. I realize that I know nothing about BJ, so I won't post and add spam to the board if someone asks for advice. I want to let everybody know that so its not like I'm just here to mooch off of people. If anybody wants an apprentice, I'm available!

  • Online poker doesn't count? I'm not sure what you meant or how you figure that but as far as the IRS is concerned it does? Btw, my forums are for me and a few other of my friends who have trickled over to them but feel free to join/read them if you're in for some poker fun.

    As far as blackjack is concerned, as mentioned, learn basic strategy, in and out and over again. It should become as second nature as breathing before you worry about counting ... I'd recommend reading everything. When I did it I started with Thorpe's book and worked right up to the present, I didn't want to just know the "what to do" but the "why am I doing it". It makes it easier to learn something when you understand the why behind it.

  • I had similar problems. What I did was use the Yankee players.
    When do you split 2s-I'd think Jeter-Ruth-Mantle.Split 2s 3 thru 7 It helped that I pictured the player in my mind.Sounds silly,but try it.
  • JOeb6363,
    You will get there. The more you practice or play, the easier it gets. I like the idea of printing a blank chart, then filling in the plays. After a while, you will have it down pat. Just like memorizing multiplication tables in school. I memorized the plays for 6-deck first, then learned the variations for double deck. After you memorize them, be sure to USE them. I laugh at people who sit down with a strategy card at the table, then refuse to follow it! Why even have the card if you don't abide by it?
  • Tribute said:
    . After you memorize them, be sure to USE them. I laugh at people who sit down with a strategy card at the table, then refuse to follow it! Why even have the card if you don't abide by it?

    If you plan on using cards,why memorize them?Other than the fact that everyone else does it,why spend hours memorizing a chart you can print off any website?
  • A serious player will not need the strategy card very long. Memory soon takes over. It's not a great idea to bring cards and charts to the table because, to others, it slows down the game too much, waiting on the player to make a decision.
  • Yet
    1) who gives a flying leap about the others at the table
    2) I'd think it would provide a decent camoflauge.What skilled player have you ever seen using one?

    I agree that over time a normal person will remember 99% of situations.I'd just rather see them consulting a card than guessing.I never play without a card. Even though I rarely if ever use it,its there for the dealer,pitboss and other players to see.Even though I offer the use of it to other players,it is hardly ever accepted,except by those who never knew such a magic card exists.
  • I've since gotten a couple of books and I'm starting to get the hang of basic strategy. I've given up counting for now. The hard totals are the easiest, its now just the soft and splits that I need to work on. Do you have any other heuristics, Deviance? I like NYB's Yank's approach, its clever.

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