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Understanding Basic Blackjack Strategy

Blackjack is both a game of chance and a game of skill. This is the reason a strategy comes into play, luckily for you a full Blackjack strategy is worked out. This will tell you when to stand, fold or even double down. Sticking to basic Blackjack strategy gives you the best winning chances, however as a luck element is involved, you never have a 100% winning chance.

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Does Blackjack Strategy make you win?

Well, given that the game consists of players having to make a decision, a betting strategy can play a pretty big role, and the use of strategy backed by valid game knowledge may make the difference between a loss and a win.

That being said in a game of chance you can never have a 100% chance of winning. There is also no casino game where the house doesn’t have a slight edge. In Blackjack the edge is one of the smallest of all games out there. If you play Blackjack according to the strategy in this article your winning chances are at 99.58%.

Thinking long term

Making the decision to stand or hit can make the difference between winning or losing your hand of Blackjack. However when you win the game it doesn’t mean you necessairly made the right decision. You have to remember that it is a game of chance, lady luck could have just been on your side.

The idea behind the basic Blackjack strategy is that it gives you the best mathematical chance on every decision you make. If you have 16 and the dealer has an open 10 you are in a bad spot, not a single decision will make you win more games then that you’ll lose in this situation. Choosing to take another card here and risking to bust your hand will however improve your winrate over standing in this situation.

Blackjack Betting Chart Strategy

As for you to have a clear understanding of how to work with the Blackjack strategy, we are here to help. Below you are able to find three charts with suggestions on what you should do in a particular moment, this is based on playing with 4-8 decks. Playing in the live studios in online casinos you will almost always play with 8 decks, 4-8 decks are also most commonly used in landbased casinos.

On the left hand side, you’ll find a column with the all the possible values that accumulate from the cards that make up your hand, while the numbers at the top dictate the value of the card which the dealer has facing up.

The main difference between each of the three tables is the sort of hand that you are dealt at that particular round, either Hard, Soft, or in Pairs.

You can learn these charts by heart, but when you are playing online you can of course also just have the tables open in a different tab or on your second screen. You can use them as your own Blackjack cheat sheet.

Hard Hands Basic Strategy

A hard hand is when the accumulative of the cards that you are dealt does not contain any doubles or Aces. For every hand combination possible within the table, is the most logically ideal option to use as your next move, whether it’s to Hit (marked as H), to Double Down (marked as D), to Stand (marked as S), and to Resign (marked as R). Resigning is only done where applicable as it is not featured in all versions of Blackjack.

A general rule for the hard hands in Blackjack are that you stand on 17 or above. Standing on 12 could already be the best option, but only if the dealer has a bust card in his hand (in this case the 4, 5 or 6).  Find the best strategical play in every situation (with a hard hand) in the chart below.

blackjack basic strategy (hard)

Soft Hands Basic Strategy

The main difference between a hard and a soft hand, is just the presence of an ace. They call these hands soft because being dealt an ace gives you the option to choose whether to use it with a value of 1 or a value 11.

With a soft hand you can never bust, this means you can take a bit more risk. A soft hand becomes a hard hand, if the ace(s) in your hand can only be used as one. So for example an A + 5 would be called a soft 16, but an A + 5 + 10 would be a hard 16.

Hitting on 18 sounds ridiculous but it can really be your best move. If the dealer holds a picture card (10 points), and you have 18 you’ll often end up short and lose. With the soft 18 you can take the risk of finding that A, 2 or 3 to improve your hand, if you find a picture or a 10 and your hand becomes a hard 18, you still have the same shot as standing on the soft 18.

basic blackjack strategy (soft)

Pairs Basic Blackjack Strategy

As the name suggests, the third and final table is focused on what to do when you are dealt a pair, or two cards of the same value. Instead of the usual H, S and D, the table dictates on whether or not you should split your hand into two separate hands, and the options are marked with a Y for when you should split and an N for when you shouldn’t.

For Blackjack pairs there are a few general rules as well. These being to lways split eights (as 16 is such a bad number to have in Blackjack) and aces. Another rule would be to never split your fives (as a 10 is nice you can often Double down with this as seen in the first chart) or tens/pictures as 20 is a perfect way to win the hand right away.

basic blackjack strategy (pairs)

Advanced play, didging the strategy charts

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This play however is for advanced players who will get a certain feel for the game. It also required more skill then just checking what to do in one of the three top tables.

Advanced Blackjack strategy is all about knowledge of what cards are out of the game already. Blackjack is often played with 8 decks of card, there is a cutting card placed around the middle, and while this special cards is reached you will play with 8 newly shuffled decks.

Knowing which cards are out of the game

Having knowledge about which cards are out of the game already can further benefit you. If a lot of high cards are out of the game, will improve the chances of finding a low card in your next turn. With this information you could make slight adjustment to the Blackjack basic strategy.

An example would be that a hard 13 against a two of the dealer is a stand (as can be seen in the top chart). But if a lot of high cards are out, you’ll have improved chances of drawing a card of 8 or lower. Which makes hitting more interesting in this situation. If you want to think one step further this situation would also give the dealer less chance to bust, so that would justify the hit even more.

Counting Cards

While keeping an eye on the cards to help you with advanced Blackjack strategy you might think this is known as “Counting Cards”. However in Blackjack this is not what is seen as counting cards.

Counting cards helps you to find out if a table is “hot” or “cold”, this will give you a better indication to either bet big, or search for another table.

Why Should You Look at These Strategies?

To tell you the truth, it’s not that complicated. If you are new to the game of blackjack and do not have a firm understanding on how the game is played, then the table above will surely assist you in gaining an understanding of what moves you need to make when faced during certain situations.

Many experienced blackjack gamblers got their start in the game by using techniques similar to these, and as a result, they went on to enjoy great levels of gambling success.

The main thing to do while playing online Blackjack is to enjoy the game. However throwing money away is not something any gambler should aspire. Making the right choices at each moment will help you improve your winnings over the long term.

Does Blackjack Strategy really work?

Yes, following the basic Blackjack Strategy will help you make the right statistical choice in every situation. This will increase your chances of winning, but unfortunately, it’ll never guarantee you that you’ll come out on top.

Should I always follow Blackjack Strategy?

As a beginner always following Blackjack strategy. Advanced players can experiment by slightly going off strategy based on what cards are out of the game. For further information you should check the main text of this article.

If I have a poor hand of cards, should I just hit?

This depends on the situation. A hit to try and improve your hand is often the best option, but if the dealer holds a bust card, it can be better to stand.

Is using Blackjack Strategy legal?

Yes, it is perfectly legal to use a strategy in every possible hand you are dealt on the Blackjack table. Online you can even keep the charts right with you to check what to do. In landbased casinos this will often not be allowed and it is easiest to study the information.

Are there more blackjack strategies available to use?

Yes, there is a number of strategies that players can utilize in order to increase their chances of winning Blackjack, however, none of them has a 100% success rate. At some point or another, all strategies are bound to fail due to the house-edge system.

What numbers is it ideal to always split, regardless of the situation?

Common Blackjack community knowledge states that any doubles of 8 or aces should always be split into two hands. This is because busting is impossible with these pairs, and they have the highest chance of winning over any other hand possible.