Rules and Strategy

Blackjack Basic Strategy - The Best Strategies & Tips to Win at Blackjack 21 + Blackjack Chart

blackjack strategy

Blackjack is a brilliant game of skill that attracts players from all around the globe. There is a lot of information related to the rules and the strategy of Blackjack. Since Blackjack is a game of skills, it requires both novice and seasoned players to make a series of decisions that will be beneficial to them in the long run. To help you master the basics of this brilliant casino game, we have prepared a comprehensive Blackjack guide for you. The tips you are about to learn are easy to grasp and apply in real game scenarios.

Best Blackjack Strategies updated the 03-26-2020

Our guide will teach you everything you need to know to win easily

Once you have acquired the basics and tried to use various strategies in real games, it is time for you to take your skills up a notch and master the Blackjack strategy for winners to learn how to play like a Pro! This Blackjack guide is your ultimate go-to site, where you can find everything you need to know about the best strategy for Blackjack.


Have a look at the essentials of our recommended Blackjack basic strategy you are going to find in our guide:

  • Hitting: When it’s best to hit
  • Standing: When it’s best to stand
  • Double down: When it’s best to double down
  • Slitting: When it’s best to split a pair of cards
  • Surrendering: When it’s best to surrender
  • Insurance: Should I take insurance?
  • Card counting: How it’s done

Let’s get straight into the essentials of the game of 21 that will show you how to win at Blackjack and have fun.

Tune in, and we will walk you through the key points that you have to keep in mind if you are serious about playing and, most importantly, winning at Blackjack.

Know the basic moves is the start of the basic strategy in Blackjack?

Once you have mastered basic strategy Blackjack, you will get a better understanding of how you can use the rules of the game to your advantage. The game is full of unexpected twists and turns and you need to know how to make certain combinations of cards you have in your hand and what actions to take to have the best results in the long run. The game is based on player decisions and it is important to learn Blackjack basics to succeed and enjoy the game. Just to remind you of the meaning of Blackjack main terminology, we have listed below the main player actions for you to go through.

strategy table download

Hit

If you choose to hit after the original set of two cards has been dealt to you, you are making a signal that you will take one more card.

Stand

Standing is the exact opposite of hitting, which means that you are satisfied with the cards you have in your hand and you will not be drawing any additional cards.

Double

Not all casinos allow the Double move because this action will most likely help you conclude the game with a winning hand, but if you do proceed with doubling your initial bet, the dealer will give you one additional card.

Split

When you get a pair of cards, for example, two Queens, you may choose to split them. This means that you will receive an additional card and play each hand as a normal hand. The new hand will also require an additional bet that matches the original bet placed on the initial hand with a pair.

Say, for example, you have made a bet of $10, you have decided to split the pair of Queens, hence, the new hand will need its own bet of $10.

Chose your Blackjack Strategy according to the Dealer’s hand

Blackjack players often start playing this mind-gobbling game of skill after they grasp the essentials of Blackjack basic strategy. This means that you have to be very familiar with the rules of the game, all basic player actions such as knowing the basics of when to stand or when to hit This is a really important moment which impacts your gameplay immensely. There are numerous scenarios you will encounter; however, your most important rule of thumb is to make your decision based on the value of your hand. Therefore, it's important to know the value of the cards.


Get to know the 2 main scenarios

Scenario 1: If the total value of the cards in your hand is 11 or less, it is definitely best to hit. This will help you improve your hand without risking going bust.


Scenario 2: If you hold a hand which is valued at 12 or higher, you will have to evaluate the odds first before deciding whether to hit or to stand. In this case, the risk of going bust and losing your hand is very high. If one of the cards in your hand is an Ace, your decision will also be determined by the type of hand – whether it’s a soft hand or a hard hand.

Choose your strategy according to the scenario

Here is a basic summary of whether it’s best to hit or to stand carefully compiled by our dedicated team of casino experts.

  • Step 1: First check the dealer’s face-up card to analyze your odds. Your goal is to make the dealer go bust (without going bust yourself). Proceed to step 2.
  • Step 2: Choose your strategy wisely and keep your cool. Follow the guide below.

When should you hit, stand, double down or split in Blackjack?

Having tried these strategic moves, you naturally start looking for more advanced techniques that can help you to refine your gameplay and you win big.

Our team of passionate casino players has compiled the following list of 9 awesome Blackjack strategies that have been tried and tested in various casinos and have proven to be the most effective when it comes to reaping your juicy benefits and rewards at the end of the night.

Hard 11 = double down the dealer’s hand

There is, however, one exception for you to keep in mind. It is related to multi-deck games in which the rules specify that on soft 17, the dealer must stand. In this case, it is wiser to hit against an Ace instead of doubling down.

Dealer’s upcard is 9 (or less) = double down on 10

This rule is easy to grasp and to apply. The way to do it is to double down when you have a two-card hand valued at 10 and the dealer’s face-up card is 9 or less.

Got a pair of 5s or 10s = NEVER split

When you have a pair of fives, it is a risky move if you decide to split them. Slitting two 5s will give you two separate hands which will both start with a 5. Instead, you are better off drawing additional cards. As or the 10s, when you hold a pair of them you have a total value of 20, which helps to win in all scenarios.

Dealer’s face-up card is a 7 = Stand with a pair of 9s

When the dealer’s face-up card is a 9 (or less), the majority of players tend to split a pair of 9s. This strategy works however, it has one single flaw which can spoil the fun – this happens when the dealer shows a 7. Instead of hitting, your best bet is to simply stand with your pair of 9s – this way you will earn slightly more money.

Dealer’s face-up card is a 2 or a 3 = hit a hard 12

This is a tricky situation for the player as the risk of going bust if hitting is extremely great. Keep in mind though that regardless of whether you decide to hit or to stand you will lose money against the dealer anyway. Your goal is to minimize your losses as much as possible, which is normally done by hitting even if it means that you risk going bust. By doing so you will lose less money. Remember that whenever you are in this situation, getting out of your comfort zone really pays off in the long run!

Got a pair of 8s or Aces = always split

This is a golden rule for many players as you should split a pair of 8s and Aces in all circumstances. Don’t worry about analyzing the dealer’s upcard as your hand will give you better chances overall. Keep in mind that when you split a pair of Aces, you get ahead in the game; in case of splitting a pair of 8s, depending on the dealer’s upcard, you will either minimize your losses or increase your winnings if the value of your hands beats the dealer’s hand.

Dealer's Card Face-up is Face-up a 10, 9 or Ace

  • Dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, 10 or 9 = always surrender hard 16 +
  • Dealer’s face-up card is a 10 = always surrender hard 1

If you happen to hold hard 15 or 16 hands, be aware of the fact that these two hands are the most unfavorable for the player. Your best strategy in this situation is to simply surrender, which will surely help you reduce your losses in the long run.

Dealer’s face-up card is 5 or 6 = double down on 8 (single-deck games)

This strategy is only applicable to single-deck games as doubling down will help you get a pair of 4s, which is a lot more advantageous than hitting. This is one of the best strategies in single-deck games. Keep in mind that in multi-deck games it is not recommended to double down if you have a hand consisting of 2 cards valued at 8.

Does Blackjack strategy involve taking an insurance bet?

Many players question whether it is wise to take insurance. No, never take insurance as the odds of losing your bet are very high. Insurance bets look good on the surface when in reality you must stay away from them. Here is a detailed explanation of this move.

What is the Insurance Bet?

An insurance bet can be placed when the dealer’s face-up card is an ace. The players will then have a chance to place a separate bet, which is totally optional. This bet means that the player is betting on the fact that the dealer’s hole card will be a ten or a face card. You are allowed to wager one half of the initial bet on this type of bet.

If luck is in your favor and the dealer gets a ten or a face card, your insurance bet will win at the odds of 2 to 1. In other words, you win the same amount as you initially wagered. You lose your insurance bet if the hole card is not a ten or a face card. The game then resumes.

Why isn’t it a smart move?

The insurance bet is not a very good strategic move for the player. You might feel confident, especially when you hold a great hand valued at 19 or 20 but making an insurance bet will not do you a favor. The reason is when a dealer’s card is an Ace, the odds that the dealer will end up receiving a Blackjack are very high. If you compare the odds of winning this bet with the payout rates (which are 2 to 1), your best move is to just not make an insurance bet. Period.

Keep in mind that insurance bets are simply side bets which may increase your bankroll slightly, however, in the long run, they do not increase your chances of winning.

Bottom line: Focus your energy on other bets and use different card combinations that take you one step closer to getting a Blackjack.


Blackjack strategy chart

To continue perfecting your basic strategy and learn which decisions to make to improve your chances of winning and not go bust, use basic Blackjack strategy charts that we have outlined below.

Your (player’s) hand is demonstrated in the first column of the basic Blackjack strategy chart. The first row above the basic strategy blackjack table represents the bank’s 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.


basic blackjack strategy

► Click on the strategy table to download it!◄

Is Card Counting an effective strategy?

You must have heard of card counting as a common way used by some players to make the house edge work in their favor. Card counting is not illegal as it is simply a mental exercise of tracking which cards have been in play and planning ahead some future combinations which increase the odds of winning. However, if players are spotted counting cards, they will be asked to leave the casino.

Is Card Counting Efficient?

Nowadays, single-deck games are not very common anymore due to the fact that a single deck of 52 cards (excluding Jokers) is much easier to keep in mind. Casinos normally deal multiple decks of cards, ranging between 4 and 8 decks, which are dealt from a machine, which is called a shoe.

card counting requires mental strength and photographic memory. Players mentally put each played card away and work out which cards are left in the deck. Knowing which cards are left in the game helps to decide whether it’s best to hit, stand, double or split as well as whether it’s ideal to bet high or low.

Practical example of card counting

When only small cards have been played, there is a great chance that higher value cards will be dealt soon. This means that it is the right moment to increase your bets. On the contrary, if only high-value cards have been dealt, it is best to play it safe and bet low. It’s also a suitable moment to hit without risking going bust.

Does Blackjack basic strategy work?

According to the American statistical association, casino experts don’t recommend card counting as it only causes mental exhaustion and triggers further mistakes.

Equip yourself with a solid understanding of the rules of the game and the most common strategic player actions. This will help you enjoy combining your Blackjack skills with an element of surprise brought by various combinations of cards every time a new hand is dealt to you.

TIP: When you are faced with numerous combinations of multiple decks of cards, card counting becomes really cumbersome and, therefore, ineffective.

Best odds of winning with only 1% House Edge

Not many players realize this, but Blackjack is one of the best casino games to play! It is common for many players to shy away from approaching a Blackjack table because it looks like a complicated game at first glance.

Why should you prefer Blackjack to other games?

In comparison to Online Slots or Roulette, for example, which seem to have a very basic set of rules, Blackjack requires a bit more time at first.

Keep in mind though that your efforts will definitely be rewarded just because Blackjack is the best game to play in terms of your return on investment, so to speak.

By exercising your strategic moves and opting for Blackjack rather than other casino games, you will increase your chances of getting the best value for your buck in the long run.


Here are the Top 3 reasons why Blackjack has the best odds of winning:

The House Edge is only 1%

First of all, Blackjack has the best odds of winning due to its extremely low (in comparison to other casino games) house edge – it is only 1% in most casinos.

Blackjack rules and basic strategy that are easy to comprehend and apply

Secondly, the rules of the game are straightforward as your main goal is to get as close as possible to reaching a hand’s value that beats the dealer’s hand, without going bust and exceeding a total of 21 points. Play Blackjack at home to learn basic strategy before you head to Las Vegas and you will surely be ready to place your winning bets and enjoy the game. Online Blackjack is also a great way to improve your chances of winning and learn more advanced Blackjack strategies.

You play against the dealer only, not other players

Finally, the greatest thing about regular Blackjack games is that, unless you are taking part in a Blackjack tournament, you are playing against the house and not other players. This definitely helps to focus your efforts on keeping track of the dealer’s actions only, rather than having to follow what other players are doing. As you can see, this gives you an advantage and you can concentrate on your interaction with the dealer and the combinations of cards you are working with.

Alternative Blackjack Strategies to play risk-free

After you have mastered the rules of the game, it is best to work on a Blackjack basic strategy online and absolutely risk-free. When you look for a new casino, keep an eye on various Blackjack bonus packages you can benefit from if you decide to open an account with the selected casino. By claiming your Blackjack bonuses, you can avoid risking real money and try out different Blackjack gambling combinations and player actions.

Use the Bonuses

The best US Online Casinos provide players with a range of free bonuses that can be used in conjunction with your favorite casino games.

This means that you can practice playing against the house online from the comfort of your home using your personal computer, smartphone or tablet.

If you are a Mac user, opt for Mac-friendly casinos and use no download casino software to start playing hassle-free.

Organize a casino night

To make your Blackjack practice even more fun, consider organizing a casino night at home. All you would need is a table and a deck of cards. This will give you an opportunity to polish up your Blackjack basic strategy and start thinking on your feet.

Blackjack strategy helps to beat the house edge

We have covered the most essential tips you should grasp to help you come up with the most important strategic decisions and equip you with some dos and taboos of the Ultimate Game of 21 that will make you stand out and help you win big.

This basic strategy has been designed to help you make your first bets at a Blackjack table with confidence. By following the suggestions, we have outlined in the Blackjack strategy charts, you will surely make your gameplay more successful.

Start with the Basic Strategy

Keep in mind that Blackjack never stands still, and it always evolves as innovative strategies become widely available. It is important to start with some basic moves and then gradually move on to a range of advanced game tactics that will help you excel at your bets and, as a result, earn extra juicy rewards in the process.

Once you have mastered the basics of this fascinating game, learn other versions of Blackjack and improve your gaming tactics by using a more advanced strategy. Remember that there is no use in engaging in card counting and it is much more efficient to simply follow the rules of the game and do your best to reach an exciting Blackjack.

Play in land-based casinos

If you have been dreaming of going to Las Vegas, opt for live casino games such as Blackjack, Poker and Roulette to experience the thrill of real-life casino entertainment. Keep in mind that you will be asked to place real money bets from the moment you walk through the casino’s door. This is why learning how to play Blackjack beforehand will help you save money in the long run.

Good luck from our Team

Despite the common belief that Blackjack is a complicated casino game that can only be played by tournament winners and Hollywood celebrities, everyone can start playing Blackjack at any stage. Both beginners and novice players will find many things in common while pursuing their interests.

Shall we deal some cards? You are now 100% equipped with theory, let’s proceed to a great mix of Blackjack practice and action!

Are you ready to start? Game on!


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