Blackjack Strategy

Blackjack Strategy

The most popular casino banking game in the world, blackjack is a unique card game whereby players compete against the dealer or house rather than other players.

The basic strategy used in blackjack is based on the mathematics of the game and involves simulations showcasing the statistical probability of improving a blackjack hand or beating the dealer. The basic strategy of blackjack has been tested and refined over the years and is designed to give players a long run advantage over the house or dealer.


Probability = Profitability

Due to the fact that there is a basic strategy and the game is based on probability, blackjack is not only one of the most popular games in the world, it is also one of the most profitable ones to play.

Blackjack basic strategy provides players with a mathematically based guideline for what action he or she should take for every possible card combination. The possible actions include hitting, splitting, double down etc. It is recommended that blackjack players familiarize themselves with the basic strategy. In doing so, it will be possible to reduce or eliminate the advantage the house or casino has over the players. The traditional advantage of 4-5% can be reduced to .5 or even 1% when applying the basic strategy.

Mathematically speaking, a player using the basic strategy of blackjack can reduce the house advantage drastically.

Basic Blackjack Strategy

The basic strategy used in blackjack varies based on the number of decks and the overall conditions. There are different rules and mathematical probabilities when playing with one, two, four or more decks.

The basic blackjack strategy is traditionally presented as a complex chart, however upon further examination of the chart, it can easily be interpreted into basic rules that one should follow. When using the basic strategy blackjack chart, simply look up the card in your hand on the left hand side of the chart and the dealers card on the top. Based on the card in your hand and the dealers card, the basic strategy table will give you an ide of the course of action you should take – whether you should hit, stay, double, surrender (if allowed) etc.

For example, if in your hand you have a 9 card, the basic strategy would say that you double if the dealer has a card that is between 3 and 6, otherwise, the basic strategy would recommend that you hit. If in your hand you are holding any number between 17 to 21, the recommended action according to the basic strategy would be to stand.

More Advanced Blackjack Strategies

In addition to the basic strategy chart, there are a few more basic strategy rules that are recommended. One important basic strategy when playing against the house is to never take insurance or “even money.” If you are playing a hand and your basic strategy indicates that you should split, but you cannot split due to limitations on re-splitting, you should look up your hand as a hard total and proceed in the game from that point of view.
Some general strategy tips to remember:
– Always split double A’s
– Always split aces and 8’s
– Never split 5’s or 10’s
– Always hit hard 11 or less
– Always stand hard on 17 or more
– Always hit soft on 17 or less

There are several strategic modifications when the dealer hits a soft 17 such as doubling soft 18 versus dealer 2 or doubling soft 19 versus dealer 6.

While the basic strategy is mathematically proven, there are still exceptions to the rules and those exceptions are based upon the number of decks, players and conditions.

It is important to remember that because blackjack is a game of probability, if using the basic strategy correctly, you can win more often than lose in the long run. Blackjack strategy is very different from playing cards, and even skilled card counters often use the basic strategy when playing blackjack.