Blackjack Strategy

Written by: Joe Falchetti, Online Casinos, Sports Betting, & Poker Expert

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.

Blackjack Strategy Guide

Table of Contents

Blackjack Strategy Chart

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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:

Hit or Stand

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

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.

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.

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.

Blackjack Strategy Card a Chart for When to Hit and Stand

How to Read the Basic 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.

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.

Winning Blackjack Strategy Explained

The following video explains how blackjack strategies help you win and shows you the best tactics to use. Check it out to elevate your gameplay.

Blackjack Basic 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.

When to Split Pairs

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

If You Can’t Double After Splitting

  • Pair of 2s or 3s: Hit if the dealer shows a 2 or 3.
  • Pair of 4s: Hit if the dealer has a 5 or 6.
  • Pair of 6s: Hit if the dealer has a 2.

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 Plays

  • 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.

Hand Surrender Strategy

  • Hard 15: Surrender if the dealer shows a 10.
  • Hard 16: Surrender if the dealer shows a 9, 10, or Ace.

Practice & 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.

The Best Strategic Blackjack 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.

Blackjack Payouts and Odds Chip Stack Percentage Icon

Follow the Chart

Mathematicians created the strategy chart based on the statistics of hitting each card.

Try to memorize it, but when in doubt, reference the chart and follow what it says to do.

You can always use it online and even take it with you to many tables in Las Vegas.

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Don’t Take Insurance

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

Taking insurance is when you place an extra wager to protect you in the case that the dealer has a blackjack with their second card.

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

Pair Plus Suited 9s Blackjack Side Bet Icon

Avoid Side Bets

Side bets almost always have a really high house edge, and that’s why you should avoid them.

While they might be fun, your odds of winning a side bet are low.

Plus, the extra wagering on each hand puts pressure on your bankroll and may require you to buy in with more.

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.

blackjack martingale strategy

Martingale Betting 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.

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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.

Online Blackjack Strategy

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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.

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.

Strategies for Blackjack at Online Casinos

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

Use This Blackjack Strategy Guide to Win More Often

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.

Sign up at the top-rated Ducky Luck Casino today to start practicing. They have an excellent selection of games and reliable banking methods with no fees.

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.

Joe Falchetti

Joe Falchetti Online Casinos, Sports Betting, & Poker Expert

Joseph Falchetti, also known as Smokey Joe, is an expert online gambler. We've teamed up with him for exclusive OUSC content relevant to USA online casino players. Joe is a former professional poker player and a full-time online betting expert who has been featured in major publications, such as CBS Sports and Forbes.com, and linked to by the New York Times.

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