Blackjack Strategy

Basic Strategy Blackjack Cards

Blackjack strategies allow you to gain an edge and win more hands. In this game, the only goal is to get a higher total than the dealer without going over 21. With the proper knowledge, players can turn the odds in their favor.

This complete blackjack strategy guide covers everything you need to know to make the most out of your gameplay. We’ll give you a critical cheat sheet and dive into more advanced card counting techniques.

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Why Blackjack Strategy Works

At the basic level, blackjack is a game of math and statistics. That is, a running formula could determine the best play at the table every turn.

By not using the basic blackjack strategy on this page, the casino could take an extra 1% – 3% from your bankroll in the long run.

Blackjack Strategy Basics

Below we’ve included a step-by-step guide of the main actions gamblers can take when playing. After the initial blackjack deal, there are three or four choices:

Surrender

Some tables offer this option after the initial deal. If you think you have little chance of winning, you can surrender your hand and keep half of your bet.

Split

You can split if you receive two cards of the same rank. This divides the two cards into separate hands. You could also re-split, giving you three hands to play.

Doubling

Your next choice may be to double down, which means you double your bet after the initial deal if you think you can win with the next card.

Hit or Stand

A hit is when you take another card to improve your hand. But if you like the cards you get, then you stand and don’t take any more cards.

Blackjack Chart

Learning this blackjack strategy chart will give you the correct play in any situation. So, before you practice your first hand, print, or screenshot our free strategy table.

How to Read a Blackjack Strategy Card

This blackjack strategy table has your starting hand in the left column and the dealer’s first card in the top row. You can find the best play for each hand in the spot where the two cross on the chart.

  • hitHit means to take a single additional card.
  • doubleDouble means to double down. This move doubles your wager.
  • standStand means take no more cards.
  • splitSplitting creates two hands from a pair. This move also doubles your wager.
  • hard handThe H stands for a hard hand. So, H5 is a three and a two.
  • soft handThe S is a soft hand where an ace is 11. When the ace is a one, you have a hard hand.
Blackjack Strategy Card a Chart for When to Hit and Stand

How to Use a Blackjack Chart as a Cheat Sheet

You can use this blackjack chart as a cheat sheet to play strategically. But, how does it work? Here’s an example: if you have a six and a seven, and the dealer shows a seven, you should do the following:

  1. 6 + 7 = 13, so you go down the chart’s left side and look for H13 (This hand is “hard” since no ace has an 11 value).

  2. Move across the row to where the dealer has a 7, and you see the correct play is to Hit. Notice that if the dealer had a 6 instead of a 7, the right choice is to stand.

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Blackjack Strategy | Video Tutorial

The following video tutorial describes the top 5 blackjack strategies to win instantly. Check it out to upgrade your gameplay.

Best Blackjack Strategy for Each Hand

Here are all the best blackjack strategies based on the statistics. If you follow these rules, you’ll reduce the house edge and have a better chance of winning at online casinos.

Below are the hands you’ll see most often. Use this guide to determine when to hit, stand, split, and double.

The Correct Time to Split Pairs

  • Pair of 2’s, 3’s, or 7’s: Split against a dealer 7 or lower, and Hit against an 8 or higher.
  • Pair of 4’s: Split against a dealer 5 or 6, and Hit against anything else.
  • Pair of 5’s: Don’t Split. Instead, double against a 2-9, and Hit against a 10 or Ace.
  • Pair of 6’s: Split against a dealer 6 or lower, and Hit against a 7 or higher.
  • Pair of 8’s: Split against a dealer 9 or lower, and Hit against a 10 or Ace.
  • Pair of 9’s: Stand against a dealer 7, 10, or Ace, and Split against all other cards.
  • Pair of 10’s: Always stand with these hands regardless of the dealer’s cards.
  • Pair of Aces: Always split these hands regardless of the dealer’s cards.

Hard Hand Decisions

  • Hard 5, 6, 7, or 8: Always hit these hands regardless of the dealer’s cards.
  • Hard 9: Double Down if the dealer has a 3, 4, 5, or 6. Otherwise, you Hit.
  • Hard 10: Double Down unless the dealer shows a 10 or Ace, then you Hit.
  • Hard 11: Double Down unless the dealer has an Ace up, then you Hit.
  • Hard 12: Stand against a dealer’s 4, 5, or 6, and Hit against all other cards.
  • Hard 13, 14, 15, or 16: Stand against a dealer 2 through 6 and Hit against a 7 or higher.
  • Hard 17+: Always stand with these hands regardless of the dealer’s cards.

Soft Hand Best Practices

  • Soft 13 or 14: Double against a dealer 5 or 6 and Hit against all other cards.
  • Soft 15 or 16: Double against a dealer 4, 5, or 6, and Hit against all other cards.
  • Soft 17: Double against a dealer 3 through 6 and Hit against all other cards.
  • Soft 18: Stand against a 2, 7, or 8, Double against a 3-6, and Hit against a 9, 10, or Ace.
  • Soft 19 or 20: Always stand with these hands regardless of the dealer’s cards.

Top Blackjack Strategy Tips

Remember, the rules may vary from one blackjack table to another. Here are some tips you should take into account when playing for real money.

Hand Surrender Strategy

If your game allows you to surrender a hand, here are the best choices.

  • If the dealer has a 10, surrender any hard 15 hands.
  • Likewise, if the dealer has a 10, surrender a hard 16.
  • If the dealer has an Ace or a 9, surrender hard 16s.

If You Can’t Double After Splitting

If you can’t double down after splitting pairs, follow these additional suggestions.

  • When the dealer has a 2 or 3, hit a pair of 2’s or 3’s.
  • If the dealer has a 6 or 5, hit on a pair of 4’s.
  • If the dealer has a 2, you’re best off hitting a pair of 6’s.

Don’t Take The Insurance Bet

The strategy for blackjack hand insurance is simple: never take it.

An insurance bet is an extra wager on whether the dealer has a hidden 10-valued card.

It might seem like a safe bet once in a while, but the math doesn’t support it.

Advanced Blackjack Strategy

The following advanced blackjack strategies can help you play through streaks and better manage money.

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Card Counting

Card counting assigns a value to each card in an attempt to predict the next card in line. We have an entire page dedicated to counting cards in blackjack.

Remember, without a basic strategy, counting cards is useless.

Most online casino software shuffles after each hand, making card counting impossible. These tactics should be reserved for live dealer online games or brick-and-mortar casinos.

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Ace Sequencing

Ace sequencing is related to shuffle tracking. This technique tries to determine when the aces will be dealt. The idea is to remember “key cards” that go on top of the ace in the discard rack, and after the shuffle when you see those key cards come out together you make a large bet hoping to catch the ace. 

If you start tracking the number of Aces played versus the number of cards left, you have a better idea of when one is coming up.

blackjack martingale strategy

Martingale Strategy

This involves doubling your bet after losing and reverting to your original wager after winning.

For instance, if you lose $1 on your first hand, you bet $2 on your next. If you lose the second, bet $4 on the next hand, and so on. Then after you win, you return to your original $1 bet. If you play this system, be aware of the table betting limits and bring a lot of money to play in losing streaks.

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Play in Tables With Fewer Decks 

Blackjack has one of the best odds of all casino games. With the right rules and proper gameplay, you can reduce the house edge to below 1%.

The house edge is a percentage of what players will lose over time. Tables with smaller decks and 3:2 blackjack payouts have a better player advantage. You have the best odds when you play with fewer decks in the shoe.

Online Blackjack Strategy

Blackjack Games Icon Big

The strategy for online blackjack is slightly different than the one you would implement at brick-and-mortar casinos. When playing at real money casinos, make sure to add these additional strategies to your arsenal:

  • Lower Limits

    The low-limit blackjack games allow players to practice and gauge money flow without spending a lot.
  • Avoid Counting Cards

    At online tables, the game programs shuffle more frequently than at land-based casinos. Counting cards is not helpful. The exception would be live dealer blackjack games.
  • Better Rules

    Many online casinos offer more than the standard version of blackjack. Some have special side bets for unique card combinations.
  • Online Blackjack Is Faster

    Blackjack games online move faster because of technology, and there are generally fewer players. You can get twice as many deals with digital games.
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Play Free Play Games & Memorize the Blackjack Strategy Chart

Learning the perfect online blackjack strategy doesn’t happen overnight. Eventually, you’ll memorize the chart and all plays, but it takes some practice. Start training with this free game before playing for real money at top casino sites.

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Use Your Strategy and Play Blackjack for Real Money

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Start Using Online Blackjack Strategy to Win Real Money

After some practice, you will want to put your blackjack strategy to work and win some hands. We suggest you play at a table with lower betting limits at first to manage your bankroll. Follow these steps to play for real money online.

  1. Have the Strategy Chart Available

    Print out the blackjack strategy chart listed on this page or take a screenshot and have it nearby.

  2. Visit an Online Casino and Make a Deposit

    Sign up for a free account at a legit online casino. Once you’re logged in, head to the blackjack games and choose from the available options.

  3. Pick a Blackjack Table and Play for Real Money

    Once you’re logged in, head to the games section and choose from the available options. With funds in your account, you can play blackjack and win real money from your home’s comfort.

Video Tutorial | Strategies to Win with Blackjack at Online Casinos

Watch this short video for some online blackjack strategies and tips to make the most profitable plays with the least costly decisions.

Use This Blackjack Strategy Guide And Start Winning Real Money!

Take advantage of this expert blackjack strategy guide and win big! Employ our advice, gain experience, and be patient. Our blackjack chart will give you excellent insights to make the most out of your gameplay. You can even use it at tables in Las Vegas.

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Blackjack Strategy FAQ

Below are some of the questions players ask us about blackjack strategy.

What is the best strategy for blackjack online?

The best strategy for online blackjack is to follow the chart strictly. It tells you the best times to hit, stand, and double down, based on the game’s statistics.

Can you really win more online by using a basic blackjack strategy?

Yes, you can win more online using a basic black strategy. Remember, the percentage balances out over a long time and many hands. Manage your bankroll to give yourself the best shot.

What is a basic strategy in blackjack?

A basic strategy in blackjack is a system that allows a player to know what to do with any card combination to increase the chances of winning.

Are blackjack strategy cards allowed in casinos?

Yes, blackjack strategy cards are allowed in casinos.

How to learn a basic blackjack strategy?

To learn a basic blackjack strategy, you should memorize a blackjack chart and practice playing at a free table.

How to read a blackjack strategy chart?

To read a blackjack strategy chart, you should look at the left column, which lists your possible starting hands, and then look at the top row indicating the dealer’s up card. The intersecting blocks reveal what your play should be.

About the Author
Neil White

Neil White - Editor in Chief

His drive and passion for casinos and the most popular games keep him in touch with the latest news and interests to provide the best for his readers.