Blackjack Basic Strategy

Before diving into the basic strategy for playing the game of blackjack, players must first have an understanding of this popular casino game itself. Blackjack, also known as 21, is by far the most popular table game offered in both brick-and-mortar and online casinos.

Blackjack is played with a standard 52-card deck without jokers (two through ten, jack, queen, king, and ace in each of four suits: hearts, clubs, spades, diamonds). However, blackjack is more commonly played with up to eight decks. A device called a “shoe” is often used to store the cards in multiple-deck games.

Cards of rank 2 through 10 are scored according to their face value, hence the suits have no impact on the game. All face cards (jack, queen, king) are ten points. Aces can be worth either one or eleven. Aces will be counted as eleven unless the total value of the hand exceeds 21, at which point hey will be worth one.

The objective of blackjack is to simply beat the dealer. After players have placed their bets, they will be dealt two cards apiece and two cards for the dealer. First, each player will receive one card, face-up, and the dealer will also receive their first card, face-down. Players will not be able to see this card, called the “hole” card, until the end of the hand. Then, players will get their second card as will the dealer.

The way a player beats the dealer’s hand is by landing a value that is higher than the dealer’s without exceeding 21. When a hand exceeds 21, it busts, and the player loses instantly. If the dealers busts their own hand, the player wins, with any total of cards under 21.

When planning a basic blackjack strategy, players must always consider both options for winning. Often, newer players will make the strategic mistake of trying to beat the dealer’s hand every time. This move will result in players busting their own hands in the attempt and losing many hands they could have won if they had stood on a lesser total and waited for the dealer to bust.

The basic strategy for playing blackjack provides the player with a guide that indicates which option—hit (take another card), stand (take no more cards), double (double the wager, take one more card and stand), split (when players have matching cards they can double the wager and have each card be the first card in a new hand) or surrender (when the dealer ha an ace, players can forfeit half the bet and give up the hand)—will work better in any situation. The basic strategy offers players the highest chance of winning, given a certain set of rules and amount of decks of cards used.

If players want to take full advantage of the basic strategy they have to be consistent and learn how to use it correctly. This blackjack strategy is based on odds and probabilities but does not guarantee the player will win every hand. Players will need to learn how to use, and understand, the basic strategy charts. These charts show players how to play their first two cards based on the dealers up card. Players must take into consideration that they also need to learn what decisions to make after taking a hit, since the charts only deal with the first two cards. Before using the following charts, players must consider these parameters:

1- the dealer is using 3 or more decks

2- the dealer “stands on soft 17”

3- players can double on any 2 cards

4- double after splitting is allowed

H = Hit S = Stand D = Double P = Split

Hard Hands Chart

A hard hand is two starting cards that do not contain an ace
Hard Totals Chart

Soft Hands Chart

A soft hand is when one of your starting hands contains an ace
Soft Totals Chart

Splitting Pairs Chart

When a player receive any pair on their first two cards, the can split them into two separate hands and play each hand as individual hands.
Pairs Chart