Strategy table priority

kbmc

Member
I'm often confused by blackjack strategy charts that have tables with overlapping domains. For example, this chart includes four tables: pair splitting, soft totals, hard totals and late surrender. If I have a pair of 8s against a 10, the pair splitting table tells me to split, while the late surrender table tells me to surrender. From what I've seen in other sources, you're supposed to split in that case. Can I generalize this and say that the pair splitting table always has priority over the late surrender table?

Similarly, if I have a soft 16 versus the dealer's 10, the soft totals table tells me to hit, while the late surrender table tells me to surrender. Again, according to other sources, you shouldn't surrender soft totals, so apparently the soft totals table takes precedence over the late surrender table.

An even more complicated set of tables is seen in CVCX, which has six tables: hard hit/stand, soft hit/stand, hard double, soft double, split and surrender. Given what I've seen in the examples above, I would assume the priority list goes split 1st, soft double 2nd, soft hit/stand 3rd, surrender 4th, hard double 5th, hard hit/stand 6th. Am I correct?

Traveller

Active Member
If you look on wizardofodds.com there are tables similar to the ones you mention but underneath he has the rules in text in the order they should be applied.

gronbog

Well-Known Member
kbmc said:
If I have a pair of 8s against a 10, the pair splitting table tells me to split, while the late surrender table tells me to surrender.
kbmc said:
Similarly, if I have a soft 16 versus the dealer's 10, the soft totals table tells me to hit, while the late surrender table tells me to surrender.
You're reading the tables incorrectly. The chart you reference advises surrendering hard 16. Nowhere does it recommend to surrender a pair or a soft hand.

As for the priority, there's no mystery. If you're in a situation where surrender is available (i.e. initial hand), then consult the surrender table first. Otherwise you either have a pair, a soft hand or a hard hand so consult the appropriate table.

kbmc

Member
gronbog said:
You're reading the tables incorrectly. The chart you reference advises surrendering hard 16. Nowhere does it recommend to surrender a pair or a soft hand.

As for the priority, there's no mystery. If you're in a situation where surrender is available (i.e. initial hand), then consult the surrender table first. Otherwise you either have a pair, a soft hand or a hard hand so consult the appropriate table.
Ahh, I guess one could infer that "16" means "hard 16" from the fact that a soft 16, for example, is listed in the soft totals table as "A,5," rather than "16." Good point! I don't agree, on the other hand, with your suggestion that a hard 16 cannot be a pair. A pair of 8s is by definition a hard 16, because the value of the hand cannot be changed by reassigning an A to a different value. So, to resolve the ambiguity I pointed out in my OP, one would have to clarify the chart with something like "pairs shouldn't be surrendered" or "the pairs table takes precedence over the late surrender table."

DSchles

Well-Known Member
No, you're not understanding. More important that you make an effort to grasp the concept rather than try to reinvent the wheel. BS charts have different sections. Pairs have their own "area," apart from H/S, hard double, and soft double. 8,8 is a pair of eights. Period. If the box doesn't tell you to surrender that holding specifically, and rather to split, then that's what you do. If the hard 16 box, which excludes 8,8 by convention, tells you to surrender, then you surrender.

As for what you're calling "soft 16," STOP doing that! Just forget that such a description ever exists. It's A,5. It has NOTHING whatsoever to do with 16. NOTHING. And calling it that will do nothing but confuse you and get you in trouble.

Don

kbmc

Member
I see what you guys are saying. By having the convention that "16" means "hard 16" and that "hard 16" means "hard 16 that is not a pair," we make communication easier. I can just tell someone "surrender hard 16 vs 10," and they'll know what I mean without me having to tell them. Similarly, it simplifies charts, as "16" is much shorter than "hard 16 that is not a pair."

I will say that this is a pretty confusing convention for newcomers. If you have a pair of 10s, you'll be told by the pairs table that you're not supposed to split. But what next? Well, you'll look for hard 20 in the hard totals table. Why? Presumably because a pair of 10s is a hard 20. See the confusion?

Having said that, it does seem like this system of conventions is optimal for communication efficiency, at the cost of clarity for beginners.