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Rules & Strategy
Any hand that contains an ace that counts as 11 is known as a soft hand. For example A-5 is a soft 16; A-2-5 is a soft 18; and 3-2-A-3 is a soft 19. When you receive your first two cards and one of them is an ace, count the ace as 11. Often when you are dealt a soft hand and draw more cards your hand will convert to a hard hand. For example, suppose a player is dealt a 5-A which is a soft 16, and he draws another card. The player now has a hard 12 (i.e., you can never bust when you draw to a soft hand).
When you are ready to leave the table, you do not cash in your chips the same way you bought them. The dealer cannot give you cash for the chips at the table. To do that, you must take the chips to the casino cashier.
The dealer is also dealt two cards, normally one up and one down . The players are allowed to draw additional cards (“hit” their hand) to improve their hands. When all of the players have finished, the dealer’s hand is completed.
The small advantage gained is probably not worth the added difficulty, and best left to more seasoned players. If the dealer has an ace, things become complicated by whether the house hits soft 17 or stands. If the dealer hits soft 17, you will also want to surrender hard 4. If the dealer has an ace, you will want to surrender hard 5, 6, 7 and 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17.
You “Hit” when you feel your hand is not close enough to 21 and you need to draw additional cards. When you Stand in Blackjack, your intention is to “stay” with the original two cards you have been dealt, and do nothing else for the current hand in progress. You “stand” when you feel you are close enough to 21 and no longer wish any additional cards.
The unique feature of this counting method is that it is perfectly accurate for dealing with insurance. When the count is positive, the player has the advantage when taking the insurance bet. When the count is negative, the house has the advantage, so insurance should not be taken. In Atlantic City, where games of skill are not permitted, the casinos are not allowed to ban skillful players. In Nevada, casinos are allowed to refuse service to anyone at any time for any reason. Players are routinely “barred”, usually by being asked to leave or by being told that they are welcome to play any game other than blackjack.