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Your Blackjack Hand: A-2 or A-3

Posted by blackjackguru on June 21, 2009

6 decks, S17, DAS, No Surrender, Peek
Estimated casino edge for these rules: 0.44 %
Dealer Upcard
Your
Hand
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
A,2 or A,3 H H H D D H H H H H

Generally, you should hit most soft doubles, because you cannot bust from one draw card, and you might improve your hand. You should never stand on A,2 or A,3 since these totals cannot push and the only way to win is if the dealer busts.

If the dealer has an upcard of 5 or 6, then you should double down your A,2 or your A,3. Although you will often end up with a hard 13 or 14, you could draw a 3 through 8 which would bring you to a pat total.

Common Loser Mistakes:

  • Doubling down A,2 or A,3 against a dealer 2. The dealer’s 2 results in a pat hand almost 65% of the time. If the loser doubles down, he faces a long run disadvantage loss of over 6% of total wagers placed. However, the Advantage Player who knows BS will just hit this hand, she improves to a long-run win of 2 to 4%.
  • Doubling down A,2 or A,3 against a dealer 3. The dealer’s 3 is also dangerous, although slightly less dangerous than a 2 upcard. Still, the expectation for a loser’s double down is a loss, but the expectation for an AP’s decision to just hit this hand, will result in a small long-term win.
  • Doubling down A,2 or A,3 against a dealer 4. As the dealer’s upcard becomes 4 through 6, the long run expectation is positive for the player whether she hits or doubles these hands. Doubling down A,2 or A,3 against a 4 will earn, but earns less money than just hitting.

Did You Know..?

  • Sometimes you will see an A-3 against a dealer 4 resulting in a double down. This is an Advanced Strategy that is suitable in certain situations. An Advantage Player who knows these deviations from basic strategy will be very well rewarded in blackjack. Until you learn these Advanced Strategies, you should still with Basic Strategy and just hit these hands.
  • Doubling down A,2 against a dealer upcard of 5 is only slightly advantageous compared to just hitting. Some Advantage Players will not double this hand even though BS says to do so. They are not being foolish, they may be counting cards. You can learn this Advanced Strategy too, but for now, go ahead and double down according to BS.

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