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Blackjack Strategy: Become a Blackjack Pro Today

Welcome to the best blackjack strategy hub you’ll ever come across. We’re going to show you why employing basic blackjack strategy is so important for any budding blackjack player.

After all, your decisions affect the outcome of every hand. So why not invest a few minutes of your time to win more the next time you hit the blackjack table?

Whether you’re a beginner looking for basic blackjack strategy tips or an experienced player seeking something more advanced, we’ve got you covered. We explain the best moves to make in specific scenarios, provide strategy charts, and much more!

Blackjack Strategy: Become a Blackjack Pro Today
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Why Learn Blackjack Strategy?

Strategy helps blackjack players of all levels. Basic blackjack strategy tells you the mathematically correct way to play every single hand you are dealt. Each move has been decided by running billions of hands through a computer simulator. Sure, you will lose many hands even when you make the right moves, but blackjack strategy is all about making the correct decisions to limit your losses in the long run.

As with all casino games, blackjack has been designed to give the house an advantage. However, blackjack strategy allows you to reduce this house edge by making perfect plays. As we go into in more detail with our expert guide on blackjack odds, the house edge is around 2% when players don’t follow basic strategy. By referencing a strategy chart, you can reduce the house edge to as little as 0.5%.

Basically, if you aren’t using blackjack strategy, you’re leaving lots of money on the table.

Our Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Chart

Every online blackjack game uses different rules and settings, meaning there’s no single chart that is perfect for every situation. That’s why we’ve created our ultimate blackjack strategy chart.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to reference a blackjack chart to help you make the mathematically correct moves. Here’s why you should bookmark this page and follow our blackjack strategy chart the next time you play:

  • Useful for any typical blackjack game

  • Plan the optimal move for any situation

  • Easily avoid big mistakes as you play

  • Become more familiar with basic strategy

Player hand total Dealer Up Card
Hard hands 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
4

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

5

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

6

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

7

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

8

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

9

H

D

D

D

D

H

H

H

H

H

10

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

H

H

11

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

H

12

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

13

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

14

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

15

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

16

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

17

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

18

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

19

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

20

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

21

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

Soft hands 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
13

H

H

H

D

D

H

H

H

H

H

14

H

H

H

D

D

H

H

H

H

H

15

H

H

D

D

D

H

H

H

H

H

16

H

H

D

D

D

H

H

H

H

H

17

H

D

D

D

D

H

H

H

H

H

18

D

D

D

D

D

S

S

H

H

H

19

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

20

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

21

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

Splitting Pairs 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
22

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

N

N

N

33

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

N

N

N

44

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

55

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

66

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

N

N

N

N

77

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

N

N

N

88

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

99

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

N

N

N

N

10/10

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

N

AA

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

  • H Hit

  • D Double Down

  • S Stand

  • Y Split

  • N Don't Split

Our Top Basic Blackjack Strategy Tips

If you want the dummy’s guide to blackjack strategy, you’ll do well with our top blackjack strategy tips.

  • Reference a strategy chart: After your cards have been dealt, compare your hand with the dealer’s up card by reading our strategy chart above. This chart will indicate the mathematically correct play to make.

  • Don’t play insurance: This bet is considered a dumb move by blackjack pros. The house edge increases to 5.9% when insurance is played. In the long run, you’ll lose less money by not taking insurance.

  • Decline even money: If you’ve hit blackjack and the dealer’s up card is an Ace, you’ll be offered even money. The hand will be a push 30.74% of the time, which makes it a very bad bet in the long run.

  • Read the playing rules: Make sure you know the rules of the table before making your blackjack bets. Whether the dealer must stand on 17 or hit on soft 17 will always be clearly printed on the table.

  • Always split Aces and 8s: By splitting Aces, you give yourself a chance to hit blackjack with two hands. A pair of 8s equals 16 and outs you in a difficult spot. It’s always better to split and play two hands.

  • Stand on hard 17 or more: Without an Ace in your hand, it’s highly like that hitting will result in you busting. With a total of 17 or more, you should simply stand and hope the dealer goes bust instead.

  • Don’t split 5s or 10s: A pair of 5s gives you a great chance to hit blackjack. While many players think splitting 10s is the correct call, drawing low cards would put you in a tricky position. Stick with 20.

  • Stand on soft 19 and 20: This is one of the easiest blackjack strategy rules to remember. Every strategy chart shows an “S” for stand when you hold A-8 or A-9, regardless of what the dealer’s up card is.

When Should You Make These Moves in Blackjack?

If you don’t already know about the common moves in blackjack, make sure you read our guide on how to play blackjack to get the basics under your belt. Of course, knowing what each move means is one thing, but knowing the best time to use it is vital for any successful blackjack strategy. Allow us to help.

When to Hit

When to Hit

You should always hit on hard 11 or less. Hitting can only improve your hand and it’s impossible to go bust. If your hand totals 10 or 11 points, you have a great chance of hitting blackjack. Any Ace will do when you hold a 10; while any 10, Jack, Queen, or King helps you reach 21 when your hand totals 11.

Every basic blackjack card will instruct you to hit on soft 17 or less. This highlights the power of holding an Ace, as it can be valued at either 1 or 11. Blackjack pros class soft 17 as a bad hand that is more likely to improve with a hit. It’s certainly an aggressive play, but the stats prove that it’s the correct play.

When to Stand

When to Stand

According to basic strategy, blackjack players should always stand on hard 12 when the dealer’s up card is 4-6. Standing is also encouraged on hard 13-16 when the dealer’s up card is 2 through 6. These may seem like defensive plays, but any 10 or face card would force the dealer to hit, and quite likely bust.

Hard 17 is quite common when you play blackjack. A basic strategy card will advise you to stand on hard 17 or more. Hitting with such a hand would result in you busting more times than not. You should always stand on soft 18 unless the dealer’s up card is a 9, 10, or an Ace. Standing is the optimal play for soft 19. In this scenario, the dealer can only beat you by hitting blackjack or having a total of 20.

When to Double Down

When to Double Down

Certain scenarios make doubling down with a second bet equal to your first the correct play. It’s important to remember that you will only receive one more card, and you cannot hit and then double down in blackjack. Every basic strategy card will advise you to double an 11 unless the dealer is holding an Ace. If the dealer holds an Ace, there is a greater chance of them winning or a push being declared.

Always double hard 9 when the dealer’s up card is between 2 and 6. Soft 16, 17, or 18 should also be doubled when the dealer’s up card is 2-6. It’s highly likely that the dealer will have to hit twice, which will often result in them busting. Hard 10 or 11 should also be doubled when the dealer’s card is low.

When to Split

When to Split

You should always split Aces and 8s when you play blackjack. A basic strategy chart will always recommend splitting these hands because your chances of hitting blackjack (21) significantly increase. A pair of Aces equals 12, while a pair of 8s equals 16. These are bad totals for you, so make sure you split.

There are a few other scenarios where splitting is the correct move. You should only ever split pairs of 2s and 3s if the dealer’s up card is between 4 and 7. Basic blackjack strategy also states that splitting 6s and 7s is only the correct call when the dealer’s up card is worth 6 or less. There has been lots of debate over splitting pairs of 5s and 10s, but you should avoid doing so. These hands place you in a strong position.

When to Surrender

When to Surrender

As surrendering results in you folding your hand to recoup half of your original bet, it’s crucial that you reference a blackjack strategy table. This is a move you should only consider when you find yourself in an unfavorable position. For example, when you are highly likely to lose by either standing or hitting.

Blackjack strategy encourages you to surrender in two specific scenarios. The first scenario is when you hold a hard 16 (unless you are holding a pair of 8s – then splitting is the correct call) against the dealer’s 9, 10, or Ace. The other scenario is when you hold hard 15 against the dealer’s 10. These hands place the dealer in prime position to beat you. It’s better to cut your losses to lose less money in the long term.

When to Take Insurance

When to Take Insurance

Regardless of which variation of blackjack you play, you should never take insurance. Blackjack professionals have proven that it’s more profitable for you to lose your stake in the long term than protect it against the blackjack dealer hitting 21. It may sound tempting, but never take insurance.

Insurance is a side bet that becomes available when the dealer’s up card is an Ace. To take insurance, you will be making another bet worth half your wager. You will then be hoping that the dealer hits blackjack to break even – as insurance pays 2:1. You will be offered even money when you have hit blackjack and the dealer’s up card is an Ace. You will push 30.74% of the time, but you cannot lose.

Single vs. Multi-deck Blackjack – What Changes?

Strategies change when you play with different decks. Rules that may apply for single-deck blackjack games likely differ when another deck is added into the mix, and almost certainly when four to eight decks are shuffled. Some of the key differences between deck amounts include:

Single Deck Blackjack Double Deck Blackjack 4-8 Deck Blackjack
52 cards used 104 cards used 208 to 416 cards used
House edge of 0.16% House edge of 0.46% House edge of 0.60% to 0.66%
Cards are shuffled manually Cards are shuffled manually Shuffling machine is used
Fewer double down moves due to less 10s in the deck More 10s in the deck increase your likelihood of busting More 10s in the deck increase your likelihood of busting
Easier to count cards with a single deck More difficult to count cards with two decks Tougher to count cards with four to eight decks used
Your cards are dealt face down Your cards are dealt face down Your cards are dealt face up

Common Blackjack Mistakes

Some of the main rookie moves that cost inexperienced blackjack players the game include:

  • Not reading the rules – You should always know things like the minimum and maximum betting limits, whether the payout is 6:5 or 3:2, and if the soft 17 rule is in play before taking a seat.

  • Not doubling on hard 11 – Blackjack strategy confirms that you should always double on 11. Yes, you are doubling your bet and will lose on occasions, but it’s a winning bet in the long run.

  • Not splitting Aces and 8s – Every blackjack strategy screams to split pairs of Aces and 8s. Splitting Aces gives you a chance to hit two blackjacks. Splitting 8s is better than a hit or stand.

  • Not hitting soft 18 enough – The combination of an Ace and a 7 may look like a strong hand, but not against a dealer’s 9 or 10. The stats prove that you’ll win more in the long run by hitting.

baccarat-chart

Scouting Blackjack Tables

Planning to put what you’ve learnt from our blackjack strategy guide into practice at a land-based casino? Then we must stress the importance of scouting blackjack tables. Let’s face it, not every blackjack table offers the same rules, betting limits, or the same number of decks.

Before you take a seat, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the advertised minimum and maximum betting limits?

  • Are the cards being dealt from one, two, four, six, or eight decks?

  • What are the playing rules? (6:5 or 3:2 payout? Can you surrender?)

  • Does the dealer shuffle the cards manually or use a shuffling machine?

  • Is the table full or will you be playing heads up against the dealer?

Our Top Takeaways to Win More on Blackjack

Some of the most important things you should keep in mind when playing blackjack include:

Never take insurance

The house edge increases to 5.9% when you accept insurance. Why give yourself even less chance to win? Every blackjack strategy will tell you to avoid taking insurance.

Reference a blackjack strategy chart

Trust us, you’re leaving money on the blackjack table if you aren’t referencing a strategy chart. Simply compare your hand with the dealer’s every hand.

Split Aces every time

A pair of Aces equals a hand total of 12. It would be unwise to hit. You will always be told to split Aces, as making two hands gives you a chance to hit two blackjacks.

Don’t split 10s

You may think splitting 10s will give you a good chance to nail two blackjacks, but you’ll often come unstuck. With a hand total of 20, blackjack strategy recommends a stand.

Are You Ready for Advanced Blackjack Strategy?

If you’ve read up till this point, then you should now know the basics when it comes to blackjack strategy. If you take our tips to heart, then you will fare well when you next hit the blackjack table.

But what if you really want to take your game to the next level? In that case, it’s time to get into advanced strategy. The next step of blackjack strategy is counting cards. This age-old technique has helped countless professional blackjack players crush the blackjack tables at land-based casinos in Vegas and beyond.

If you’re interested in mastering the craft, check out our guide on how to count cards in blackjack.

Are You Ready for Advanced Blackjack Strategy?

Test Your Blackjack Strategy for Free

Now that you know all about blackjack strategy, it’s time to put everything you’ve learnt into practice.

The best way to practice basic blackjack strategy is to play for free. Making the wrong move or having the dealer luck out on you will have zero effect on your bank account. And if you run out of demo credits, you can simply refresh the game and start over with a fresh balance.

To play the best online blackjack games for free, visit our main blackjack page.

Blackjack Strategy FAQ

Basic blackjack strategy is simply a set of rules designed to help you make correct decisions. These rules tell you the optimal way to play every hand you are dealt at the blackjack table. Your hand is compared to the dealer’s up card to tell you the best move to make. Every blackjack strategy is accompanied by a strategy chart. If you don’t reference one for every hand, you probably aren’t making the correct calls.

As long as you understand the basic rules of blackjack, you will certainly benefit from following basic strategy. Every professional blackjack player uses strategy to improve their odds of winning when they play blackjack. Basic strategy can help you reduce the house edge to as little as 0.5%. In contrast, making your own decisions or simply not sticking to basic strategy can increase the house edge to around 2%.

You can play free blackjack games online right here on our website. We have many single-deck blackjack and multi-deck blackjack games to help you practice your strategy. Not only will you find traditional blackjack, we also offer exciting variants like Blackjack Switch, Pontoon, and Spanish 21. You should also consider using a blackjack strategy trainer to confirm that you are making mathematically correct calls.

To win real money using blackjack strategy, you will have to join one of our recommended online casinos. We only recommend casino sites that are 100% safe. We play at these casinos ourselves. They all offer amazing welcome bonuses, a fantastic range of banking methods, and tons of games. Most importantly, every blackjack casino we recommend offers a great mix of RNG blackjack titles and live dealer tables.

Absolutely not! Rigged suggests some form of cheating, but that certainly isn’t the case when you play blackjack. The casino will always have a mathematical advantage in the long run, which is expressed in game rules as the house edge. Assuming you use basic blackjack strategy, you can reduce the house edge to 0.16% when playing single-deck blackjack, and 0.5% when playing multi-deck blackjack.

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