Basic blackjack strategy

Ever wondered if you could win more money by using a blackjack strategy? Believe it or not, this classic table game isn’t always as random as it seems.

By looking at the odds and math of this game, you can sometimes play blackjack to your advantage. In fact, there are plenty of different blackjack strategies out there that many people swear by!

In this guide, we’ll look closely at the blackjack basic strategy, as well as a few other ways you could help to turn the game your way.

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All about the blackjack basic strategy

The blackjack basic strategy is simple math! While this well-loved system doesn’t ever guarantee a win, it can help players to understand which moves are likely to be the most lucrative.

Crucially, learning the basic strategy helps you understand how to reduce the house edge of the game. This means you’re always working to odds weighted more towards your favor. 

The basic strategy revolves around your five main choices in blackjack. That’s hit, split, double down, stand and surrender. The strategy takes these five choices and applies them to both your hand and the dealer’s visible card.

For example, you have a better chance of winning if you ‘hit’ on a hand of 12, and if your dealer has anything other than a 4, 5 or 6 facing up. 

One of the trickiest hands, the soft 17 (when your hand totals 17 and includes an ace that is counted as 11), dictates that you should always hit for the best odds. However, if you have a hard 17, which is a hand total of 17 that doesn’t include an ace, you should always stand.

These rules can seem tricky to understand at first. It’s why referring to a guide, or a calculator, is important when you’re first learning about the game. 

The basic strategy in blackjack simply revolves around you making the decision that provides the most likely chance of success. It removes the risks involved with relying on gut instinct or chasing wins.

Basic strategy also follows a series of simple rules that many people memorize. For example, many players choose to split on 8s, 10s and aces. 

Basic rules also dictate that you should stand on a soft 20, or an ace and one or more cards that total 9. The same applies to a soft 19, but double down if your dealer has a 6.

Basic strategy in blackjack: Does it work?

Unfortunately, there’s no clear way to guarantee that the basic strategy will get you a win. There will always be a house edge in this game, even if you manage to reduce it.

It’s important to remember that basic strategy will work best if you play a simple game of blackjack. Adding side bets and taking insurance can significantly increase the house edge and reduce your chances of achieving healthy payouts.

For basic strategy blackjack to work in your favor, stick to a simple, one-deck, 52-card setup. Luckily, that’s what many online blackjack tables offer as standard. 

There are a few variations out there on the basic strategy setup. While the blackjack basic strategy can work in practice, this is also a game of luck. This strategy simply arms you with what you really need to know when trying to choose the most probable way to win.

What is the best strategy for blackjack?

The best strategy for blackjack is simply to measure the odds and probabilities of winning at each stage of the game! That’s why so many players use basic strategy tables to help them work out whether hitting or standing is the best idea. It’s certainly helpful when learning how to play blackjack for the first time.

Otherwise, the best strategy for blackjack depends on a few factors. Firstly, it depends on your style of play and your attitude towards risk. If you prefer taking large risks for potentially big wins, then placing side bets and taking insurance may work in your favor.

However, simply opting for the more likely win condition is probably most people’s favored approach. Here are a few blackjack strategy ideas you may wish to try yourself, but again, remember to keep the game as simple as you can!

Split when you get a pair of aces or 8s

Aces are great cards to get if you want multiple shots at scoring 21. Split them if your table allows it, and you have a good chance at winning twice.

8s, meanwhile, are middle cards that give you a strong position towards getting blackjack. You will need to double your original bet, but you will have two chances of winning.

Double down carefully

Doubling down is where you can effectively double your bet. This shows you’re extra confident in your chance of winning. It can be a risky strategy, but there are a few hands where it may be more effective than most.

For example, consider doubling down when you score a 9, 10 or 11 on your first two cards. There’s a chance now that you’ll get a picture card or an ace which could score you a blackjack.

It’s also worth doubling down if your dealer has a 5 or 6 as their up-card, as this will push them closer to bust based on probability.

Avoid insurance bets

Insurance can seem like a good idea if your dealer scores an ace as an up-card. To counteract this strong position, it’s tempting to bet insurance so that you can break even. However, many players will tell you it’s a losing move.

That said, avoiding insurance can lead to a big loss depending on your bet and the odds left on the table. So, consider this side bet carefully. Remember, you’re risking the house edge increasing with any side bets you make.

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Blackjack strategy: Hit or stand?

Knowing when to hit or stand is a key part of playing blackjack. The most obvious scenario will be to stand if you get a hard 17 or 18, as you’re extremely close to reaching 21. However, there’s still a slim chance you’ll be dealt a 2, 3 or 4 to push you up to the edge.

You’ll probably want to hit if you score an ace, and for good reason. Aces can be soft or hard, meaning they count as 1 or 11 cards. 

If you want to play the probability game, hitting on anything lower than a total of 12 on your first two cards is a safe move. With a total of 12, you risk getting a 10, J, Q or K to take you bust. Any higher, and your odds shrink further.

As you can see, blackjack is somewhat more complex than it seems! It’s why so many players recommend following a strategy table or card while playing blackjack online.

However, it’s worth remembering that different variations of blackjack will change the odds dramatically. Try a few hands of ‘simple’ blackjack first and see how you fare with the basic strategy.

Blackjack strategy card

Many people use blackjack strategy cards to help them decide the best moves they can make in any given game. For example, the basic blackjack strategy card will tell you when to hit, when to stand, split, surrender and double down.

These cards are usually split into columns and rows and are color-coded for ease of use. In fact, it’s really easy to create your own if you’re willing to do the math!

Different strategy cards exist too. You’ll find different cards online to account for regional variations.

If you’d like to download your own blackjack strategy card, there are plenty to pick from online. A quick search for ‘blackjack strategy card’ should bring up different grids and tables for both online and offline games. Studying these cards is a great way to get used to how the game works, and to learn its more complex touches. 

Is there a winning strategy for blackjack?

Blackjack may be one of the most generous casino games out there, but it’s still very much a game of chance. Online, casinos determine games by random number generation, and even in real life, it’s the luck of the draw! You’ll need to consider blackjack hand types depending on the tables you choose.

Some players may advise that ‘following a win’ is a good way to play blackjack. However, there’s no proven evidence to suggest that gut reactions or ‘runs of luck’ produce any different results or affect chances of winning one way or another.

The best way to play blackjack to win is to practice. With online blackjack, you can try a table or two for free before you use any real cash. That means you can accustom yourself to the rules, bets and even a strategy or two. There’s no risk to your bankroll.

The best strategy we can recommend is to simply practice for free — especially if you are completely new to the game! Chasing your luck could leave you at the mercy of the math, so it pays well to prepare.

Author: Darcie

Title: Resorts Live Project Manager Length with RC: 4 months Favorite Casino Game: Jersey Devil Background in iGaming: Primary background is in live streaming. Introduced to iGaming through ResortsLIVE. Location: Based in New Jersey at the Resorts Casino HQ