Blackjack Strategy

Blackjack Strategy

Unlike most other casino games, blackjack is a game whose outcome is greatly influenced by the player. From the moment the player cuts the deck of cards he is in control of the outcome of the game.

The blackjack dealer is practically like a robot. He follows set rules and makes no decisions of his own. He cannot make decisions regarding his hand. He must make the same decision time after time based on the house rules. Plus he cannot split or double-down.

There are three different ways a player can approach the game of blackjack:

  1. Depend on Luck – Play blackjack as a game of luck using money management only. Determine when to hit and when to stand irrespective of what the dealer shows. Use a suitable money management system and set appropriate profit and loss limits for when to quit.
  2. Use basic strategy – Follow the game and take into account the dealers card to determine whether to hit or stand. Apply a suitable money management system and set appropriate profit and loss limits for when to quit.
  3. Count Cards – This is not easy to do and casinos don’t like it card counters. If you choose to play blackjack this way, it is best to learn from the experts. There are several books on sale that should teach you how to go about it.

Basic Rules

  1. If the blackjack dealer’s up card is a seven (7) or higher, you must play to seventeen. That means that if you were dealt a 10 and a 2 (you have 12), you must hit this hand until you reach 17. Let’s say your next card is a 4 (you now have 16), You must hit this hand again, until you reach a hard total of 17 or more.
  2. If the blackjack dealer’s up card is a three (3) to a six (6) you must play to hard total of twelve or more and stop.
  3. If the blackjack dealer has a six (6) showing and you were dealt a 10 and a 2 ( you have 12), you must stand on this hand.
  4. If the blackjack dealer’s up card is a two (2) or a three (3) you must play until 13.
  5. If you were dealt a 10 and a 2 (you have 12), you must hit this hand. Let’s say the next card is an Ace (you now have 13), you must stand on this hand.

Basic Strategy

Some of the most favorable odds found in any casino game can be found in Blackjack. However, these odds diminish greatly as the gambler strays from what we call blackjack “basic strategy”. “Basic strategy” was derived from millions of hands of blackjack using a computer simulation program. After testing all the possible plays and outcomes, the best play for each hand was determined and condensed into a chart. That chart is now referred to as “Basic Strategy”. The chart tells the individual blackjack player exactly when to hit, stand, split, or double down.

The charts that follow outline the basic strategy for a game that contains two decks, and one that forces the dealer to stay on a soft 17. If you follow this strategy your chances of a successful round of Blackjack will increase significantly. When played closely, the Basic Strategy can reduce the House’s edge in Blackjack to 0.5% or less, depending on the rule variations in effect.

If you would like to see some more colorful, more easier to read strategy charts, click here.

 

Basic Strategy – Two Decks

Your Hand vs. Dealer’s Up card
8 Double on 5 to 6. Otherwise hit.
9 Double on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
10 Double on 2 to 9. Otherwise hit.
11 Always Double.
12 Stand on 4 to 6. Otherwise hit.
13 to 16 Stand on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
17 to 21 Always Stand.
A,2 to A,5 Double on 4 to 6. Otherwise hit.
A,6 Double on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
A,7 Double on 3 to 6. Stand on 2,7,8 or A. hit on 9 or 10.
A,8 Double on 6. Otherwise stand.
A,9 Always stand.
A,A Always split.
2,2 Split on 3 to 7. Otherwise hit.
3,3 Split on 4 to 7. Otherwise hit.
4,4 Same as 8 above.
5,5 Same as 10 above.
6,6 Split on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
7,7 Split on 2 to 7. Stand on 10. Otherwise hit.
8,8 Always split.
9,9 Split on 2 to 9 except 7. Stand on 7,10 or A.
10,1 Always stand.

 

The above chart assumes the casino doesn’t allow doubling down after pair splitting. If the casino allows doubling down after pair splitting then use the following pair splitting rules.

 

Your Hand vs. Dealer’s Up card
2,2 split on 2 to 7.Otherwise hit.
3,3 split on 2 to 7.Otherwise hit.
4,4 split on 4,5 or 6. Otherwise hit.
6,6 split on 2 to 7. Otherwise hit.
7,7 split on 2 to 8. Stand on 10. Otherwise hit.

Basic Strategy – Four, Six, Eight Deck

 

Your Hand vs. Dealer’s Up card
5 to 8 Always hit.
9 Double on 3 to 6. Otherwise hit.
10 Double on 2 to 9. hit on 10, A.
11 Double on 2 to 10. hit on A.
12 Stand on 4 to 6. Otherwise hit.
13 Stand on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
14 Stand on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
15 Stand on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
16 Stand on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
17 Always stand.
18 Always stand.
A,2 Double on 5,6. Otherwise hit.
A,3 Double on 5,6. Otherwise hit.
A,4 Double on 4 to 6. Otherwise hit.
A,5 Double on 4 to 6. Otherwise hit.
A,6 Double on 3 to 6. Otherwise hit.
A,7 Double on 3 to 6. Stand on 2,7 or 8. Hit on 9,10 or A.
A,8 to A,10 Always stand.
A,A Always split.
2,2 split on 2 to 7, Otherwise hit.
3,3 split on 2 to 7. Otherwise hit.
4,4 split on 5,6. Otherwise hit.
5,5 Never split. Treat as 10 above.
6,6 split on 2 to 6. Otherwise hit.
7,7 split on 2 to 7. Otherwise hit.
8,8 Always split.
9,9 split on 2 to 6, 8 or 9. Stand on 7,10, or A.
10,1 Always stand.

 

The above multiple deck basic strategy is valid if the players are allowed to double down after pair splitting. If doubling down is not allowed after pair splitting, then use the following pair splitting rules.

 

Your Hand vs. Dealer’s Up card
2,2 split on 4 to 7.Otherwise hit.
3,3 split on 4 to 7. Otherwise hit.
4,4 Never split. Always hit.
6,6 split on 3 to 6. Otherwise hit.