One of the things we can never stress enough if you are going to play online blackjack the right way is to know all of your decisions "cold." With that means is that you will know what to do in every possible player versus dealer situation, almost without even having to think about it. It's not that you are so pressed for time; indeed, you will control the pace at which you play if you are in an online blackjack game. But what you really want to avoid doing is giving yourself extra time to play hunches. That is what amounts to death when you are playing this game.
So this is why the Basic Strategy was formulated. It provides the best mathematical play for every situation you are going to find yourself in. There may be some subtle adjustments here and there, depending on what options and rules are available in any given blackjack variation, but you can be sure that whatever game you are playing, you are going to be covered by a correct strategy decision.
And the way you are going to learn all of this is really no secret. You have to put in a little work. Some people work harder at it than others, and generally those people will have the most success. We don't want to create the impression that this becomes a full-time job for you, but you simply have to memorize the proper decisions and make sure that when you recognize the cards you see in front of you, you know exactly what to do. Part of this involves practicing a little.
We have stressed in previous columns that you may want to sit down and deal cards out to your self, whether it is on your bed or at the kitchen table, or you may want to go into a casinos software package an exercise in the "play for fun" option. If you take the manual approach, you can train yourself a little for specific situations, such as what to do when you have soft hands; that is, hands that contain an Ace. These can be confusing, because of the fact that the ace can count as one (1) or 11. There is an entire set of proper mathematical plays to be used regardless of which soft hand you have, and the way you get to learn the right plays quicker is by keeping one particular soft hand in front of you, say, Ace-Four, and then changing up the dealer up cards with each sequence you play. You keep doing this for the various soft hands, going through them one by one. That way you will come to learn the correct Basic Strategy decision for each of the soft hands against each of the dealer up cards over time, and by way of recognition. It may be standing, hitting, doubling, but when the dust settles, you WILL know it cold. This is really the best way to practice for specific situations!