Blackjack Strategy

Blackjack is considered the most popular casino game among players from all corners of the world, as it engages not only luck but also analytical skills, which make the game even more interesting and exciting.

It doesn’t matter whether you are only learning how to play blackjack or already have years of experience: you need to know how the strategies can change the game and turn you into a winner.

Our review aims to help you learn more about basic and advanced strategies that are used by most of the players worldwide to make sure that they have the lowest house edge, when entering the game.

Basic Strategy

The first thing you need to remember about blackjack is that it is a game of decisions, not a game of luck. While you can simply spin the roulette’s wheel or enjoy a slot game without making a choice, your thoughts and actions will always influence the result of a blackjack game, so you need to be prepared when entering the table.

However, you shouldn’t worry, as there is a common and trusted strategy, which should be used every time you want to win and obtain the best odds. This strategy is called basic, as it is used worldwide and has proven its efficiency in most of the cases.

The biggest problem of new players is that they try to follow their intuition, when comparing the cards with the dealer’s hand. But the best way to win is to follow a number of rules, which can be applied in every situation you may face.

If you already know that the house always has an advantage, you probably also know that blackjack has one of the lowest house edges, which makes it so attractive. For example, if the house edge is 0.5%, the casino will win $0,50 from every $100 you bet. The main idea of the basic strategy is to make the house edge as low as possible, as it can reach 2% and more. Below is a chart of all the possible combinations and decisions to make, when choosing a basic strategy.

Basic Blackjack Strategy: Rules

Surrenders:

  • 16 surrenders against dealer 9 through Ace, otherwise don’t surrender (revert to hard totals).
  • 15 surrenders against dealer 10, otherwise don’t surrender (revert to hard totals).

Splits:

  • Always split aces.
  • Never split tens.
  • A pair of 9’s splits against dealer 2 through 9, except for 7, otherwise stand.
  • Always split 8’s
  • A pair of 7’s splits against dealer 2 through 7, otherwise hit.
  • A pair of 6’s splits against dealer 2 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • A pair of 5’s doubles against dealer 2 through 9 otherwise hit.
  • A pair of 4’s splits against dealer 5 and 6 , otherwise hit.
  • A pair of 3’s splits against dealer 2 through 7, otherwise hit.
  • A pair of 2’s splits against dealer 2 through 7, otherwise hit.

Soft totals

A soft total is any hand that has an Ace as one of the first two cards, the ace counts as 11 to start.

  • Soft 20 (A,9) always stands
  • Soft 19 (A,8) doubles against dealer 6, otherwise stand.
  • Soft 18 (A,7) doubles against dealer 2 through 6, and hits against 9 through Ace, otherwise stand.
  • Soft 17 (A,6) doubles against dealer 3 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • Soft 16 (A,5) doubles against dealer 4 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • Soft 15 (A,4) doubles against dealer 4 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • Soft 14 (A,3) doubles against dealer 5 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • Soft 13 (A,2) doubles against dealer 5 through 6, otherwise hit.

Hard totals

A hard total is any hand that does not start with an ace in it, or it has been dealt an ace that can only be counted as 1 instead of 11.

  • 17 and up always stands.
  • 16 stands against dealer 2 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • 15 stands against dealer 2 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • 14 stands against dealer 2 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • 13 stands against dealer 2 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • 12 stands against dealer 4 through 6, otherwise hit.
  • 11 always doubles.
  • 10 doubles against dealer 2 through 9 otherwise hit.
  • 9 doubles against dealer 3 through 6 otherwise hit.
  • 8 always hits.

blackjack-basic-strategy

Advanced Strategy

If you have already tried card games, you have probably heard of card counting. It is not illegal and aims to make predictions on the outcome of the game. However, some casinos may ask you to leave, as counting will definitely work not in their favor.

We want to give you all the information you may need on the card counting to get the maximum out of the game and switch the house edge to your own benefit.

Due to the fact that there is always a fixed amount of cards on the table, you can count what cards are in the deck and build your strategy properly. The most common systems give every card a corresponding value. For example, cards 2-6 have +1, cards 7-9 have 0 and aces or cards with faces have -1.

When the cards are dealt, you need to use this counting system to predict the cards, which were not dealt. Using this system you will be able to change your bet: increase it if the count value is positive and lower if it is negative. Despite the fact that card counting may sound a challenging task, it requires only practice and some time to adjust.

You shouldn’t worry that counting cards is a skill only mathematicians or geniuses can master. You won’t need to have the highest IQ in the history to be able to count the cards on the table but you will definitely need some experience if you want to increase your winnings. In addition, you won’t have to worry about being kicked out of the casino, as card counting online has no underwater stones or limitations.

The advanced blackjack strategy or the card count will be working only when you know that the odds are in your favor, increasing the number of winnings or lowering the quantity of losses.

How to Count Cards

Blackjack is a game, where you need to oppose the dealer and despite a big number of game variations, you will most often need to hold a total of maximum 21 points in your hand. Every card has a certain number of points, which usually equals to the value on the image apart from 10, Jack, Queen and King, which have a 10 point value. Aces can have 10 or 1 point, depending on the choice you make.

At the beginning of the game both of you will be dealt with two cards. Yours will be faced down, while one of dealer’s cards will be facing up. This will give you a chance to count and make predictions.

The deck is not shuffled, so all you need to possess is a trained memory to remember every card you see. In such a way, you will be able to make up your mind when is the best time to bet low or high. For example, if there are only low cards on the table, it is very possible that the next ones will be royals and you need to bet high. On contrary, when only high cards have been dealt, you should better bet low without risking anything.

Strategy Risks

The Return to Player (RTP) indicator shows your chances to win and blackjack is definitely the first, when it comes to winnings. Its RTP is over 99% if you follow all of the basic strategy rules and recommendations not depending whether you are playing in an offline or an online casino.

However, you need to remember that the variance is quite low and the highest payout is 3:2, so you won’t be able to win a hundred times more than your bet, like it happens with slots.

You need to be prepared that the basic and the advanced strategies don’t guarantee you 100% winnings, so you need to prepare for loosing. However, they prove to be efficient in a long run, so in an overwhelming number of cases the number of winnings always exceeds the quantity of losses.

Frequently Asked Questions about Blackjack

  1. Does the player have the best odds?
    >>> Yes, blackjack is a game with the highest odds. However, they depend on your skills and the type of game you choose;
  2. What is my first step to win?
    >>> You need to keep your bets at the minimum, while reading books and guidelines on the basic strategies;
  3. Are there any ways apart from counting?
    >>> Despite the presence of multiple strategies and methods, card counting remains the most effective way of winning;
  4. Is it cheating?
    >>> Using various blackjack strategies is not cheating and it is absolutely legal, so you have nothing to worry about if you are playing blackjack online.
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