Rules and Strategy

Blackjack - Basic Strategy Guide

Blackjack - Basic Strategy Guide

Welcome to our blackjack basic strategy guide. The information in this section provides you with the basic strategy to use when holding certain card combinations in order to gain an advantage over the bank in blackjack.

Here is a glossary of common terms used in Blackjack:

Hit: Take another card.

Stand: Stop drawing cards.

Double: Double the initial bet. A single card will then be dealt to you.

Split: This option is applicable when you hold a pair. The split allows for each card to be played individually. For example, you bet $5 and get a pair of 3s. If you take the split, each 3 will receive an additional card and will require its own bet of $5. You then have to play this hand as if it were a normal hand.

Soft: A soft is a hand containing an Ace that can have two possible values.

"T": Signifies ten and represents all the cards with a value of 10 in Blackjack (10, jack, queen, king).

How do I read the tables?

  • The left column represents your hand.
  • The first row above the table represents the banks hand.

You should therefore opt for the decision located at the intersection of the row and the corresponding column. For example, if you hold 15 and the bank only has a 4 you should stand.

Some situations where Aces are in play can be more complex as the Ace can assume the value of 1 or 11. Here’s one example.

A7
DDDDDSSHHH

Here, if you hold A7 (for a total of 8 or 18), the action to take is clear. You would double if the bank has 3 to 6, stand on 7 and 8 and request a card for 9, 10 or an A.

Let’s look at another example. If you hold A2 (which makes 3 or 13) you would need to take another card. If you get a 5 you then have 8 or 18. You should treat all situations of "I have x or x+10" by checking the corresponding row of Aces in the table.

Here is the table summarizing the basic strategy in Blackjack:




Bank's hand
23456789TA
Y

o

u

r


H

a

n

d
8 or less
HHHHHHHHHH
9
HDDDDHHHHH
10
DDDDDDDDHH
11
DDDDDDDDDH
12
HHSSSHHHHH
13
SSSSSHHHHH
14
SSSSSHHHHH
15
SSSSSHHHHH
16
SSSSSHHHHH
17 or more
SSSSSSSSSS
A2
HHHDDHHHHH
A3
HHHDDHHHHH
A4
HHDDDHHHHH
A5
HHDDDHHHHH
A6
HDDDDHHHHH
A7
SDDDDSSHHH
A8 or A9
SSSSSSSSSS
2-2
SPSPSPSPSPSPHHHH
3-3
SPSPSPSPSPSPHHHH
4-4
HHHSPSPHHHHH
5-5
DDDDDDDDHH
6-6
SPSPSPSPSPHHHHH
7-7
SPSPSPSPSPSPHHHH
8-8
SPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSP
9-9
SPSPSPSPSPSSPSPSS
T-T
SSSSSSSSSS
A-A
SPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSP
23456789TA
Bank's hand

 H  = Hit



 S  = Stand


 D  = doubler


 SP  = Split




Here is the table summarizing the basic strategy of Blackjack Surrender:




Bank's hand
23456789TA
Y

o

u

r


H

a

n

d
8 or less
HHHHHHHHHH
9
HDDDDHHHHH
10
DDDDDDDDHH
11
DDDDDDDDDH
12
HHSSSHHHHH
13
SSSSSHHHHH
14
SSSSSHHHHH
15
SSSSSHHHS/HH
16
SSSSSHHS/HS/HS/H
17
SSSSSSSSSS
18 or more
SSSSSSSSSS
A2
HHHDDHHHHH
A3
HHHDDHHHHH
A4
HHDDDHHHHH
A5
HHDDDHHHHH
A6
HDDDDHHHHH
A7
SDDDDSSHHH
A8 or A9
SSSSSSSSSS
2-2
SPSPSPSPSPSPHHHH
3-3
SPSPSPSPSPSPHHHH
4-4
HHHSPSPHHHHH
5-5
DDDDDDDDHH
6-6
SPSPSPSPSPHHHHH
7-7
SPSPSPSPSPSPHHHH
8-8
SPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSP
9-9
SPSPSPSPSPSSPSPSS
T-T
SSSSSSSSSS
A-A
SPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSP
23456789TA
Bank's hand

 H  = Hit



 S  = Stand


 D  = doubler


 SP  = Split



 S/H  = Surrender if possible,
otherwise Hit
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So now you’re armed with the knowledge of what hands to play when, why not read another article from the list below to increase your chances of beating the dealer: