Basic Blackjack Strategy How to Win in This Game

If you are looking to play blackjack in either a live or online casino and get the best possible results, you should be prepared to spend some time learning the basic blackjack strategy, as well as some tricks to help you win the most in the game.

The truth is that knowing the blackjack basic strategy will save you thousands of dollars in your life if you play the game often.

Not only are you going to save a lot of money and make your life a lot easier, but you will also guarantee yourself more enjoyable winning nights and fewer frustrating losing sessions.

All of this will only come to fruition over the long run. However, anyone who plays blackjack even a couple of times per month should definitely know how to play the blackjack basic strategy.

In this guide, I will teach you this strategy and show you a blackjack strategy chart you can print and bring with you when playing. I ll also help you understand why we make the plays we do and what their big advantage is.

What is Blackjack Basic Strategy?

The term basic strategy is used to describe a complex set of rules on how you should play your hands in different scenarios.

The blackjack card I am going to show you includes all the possible scenarios of your two cards and the dealer's up-card, as well as the action you should take in this scenario.

A thing worth noting is that this chart is made for your average game of blackjack, which uses 6 card decks in a shoe and has standard blackjack rules in place in most casinos.

However, it is true that many casinos have certain deviations from these rules. This means that some deviations should also be made to the basic blackjack strategy to achieve the optimal result.

Even if you don t make these slight modifications to your strategy, you won t be losing a lot of money because of it. So, learning this blackjack chart by heart will give you an advantage over other players who play without it in all forms of the game.

With that said, let us proceed to the actual chart and explain how to read it and how you can make the most of knowing it.

The Basic Blackjack Strategy Chart

It is time to get into the actual blackjack strategy and introduce the blackjack strategy card that will be your main tool in playing the game from now on.

The chart is split into three main sections.

  • The first section shows all the possible hard hands (without an ace) which you can have and cross-references them with the possible dealer's up-card.
  • The second section shows all the possible soft hands (with an ace) that you can have and cross-references them with the dealer's possible holdings.
  • The last section of the blackjack chart shows all the pairs you can have and again cross-references them against the dealer's up-card.

At the bottom, you will also find the convenient key to help you read the chart. You can learn it by heart or bring it with you when playing, as this is allowed in most casinos worldwide.

Blackjack Basic Strategy Summarized

The blackjack strategy chart I showed you holds in it all the plays you could ever need while playing the game. However, that s a lot of information and may be hard to memorize if you were trying to remember each particular box.

Most blackjack players use a different approach instead. They memorize some standard phrases which cover the most common situations that can arise at the tables.

That doesn t mean that you won t still need to have the chart on hand while playing. However, knowing these phrases by heart will help you make a quick decision in most situations without much delay.

Not only will you play more hands, but other players and dealers will be thankful that you are not taking forever to find the play in the chart and act on it. Here is what you should know at all times:

Hitting and Standing

  • If you have a hard 11 or less, always hit
  • If you have a hard 12, stand against 4-6 and hit against all other cards
  • If you have a hard 13-16, stand against 2-6 and hit against all other cards
  • If you have a hard 17 or higher, always stand
  • If you have a soft 17 or less, always hit
  • If you have a soft 18, stand against all cards other than 9, 10, A
  • If you have a soft 19 or 20, always stand

Doubling Up

  • Double your hard 9 against the dealer's 3-6
  • Double your hard 10, except against dealer s 10 or A
  • Double your hard 11, except against dealer s A
  • Double your soft 13 and 14 against dealer s 5-6
  • Double your soft 15 and 16 against dealer s 4-6
  • Double your soft 17 and 18 against dealer s 3-6

Splitting Pairs

  • Split AA and 88 in all hands
  • Never split 55 or TT
  • Split 22 and 33 against dealer s 4-7
  • Split 22 and 33 against dealer s 2 or 3 if DAS is available
  • Split 44 if DAS is available against dealer s 5 or 6
  • Split 66 against dealer s 3-6
  • Split 66 against dealer s 2 if DAS is available
  • Split 77 against dealer s 2-7
  • Split 99 against dealer s 2-6 or 8-9

Surrender Rules

  • Surrender hard 16 against dealer s 9, 10, or A
  • Surrender hard 15 against dealer s 10

As long as you remember these basic blackjack strategy rules, you will have the right play in your head in more than 90% of all hands.

Another thing to add is that if you have two small cards, such as a 2 and a 3 for a hard 5, you will always be hitting to get to one of the scenarios listed in these rules. There is no reason to ever stand on a starting hand like 5-9.

If you have memorized these rules, you are now ready to get into the action and start playing blackjack either live or online without constantly looking at the card!

10 Tips for Perfect Blackjack Strategy

Your journey to becoming a great blackjack player starts with learning the blackjack strategy chart and the basic rules to apply in the game, but it does not end there.

There are many slight things you can do to improve your blackjack playing experience. Here are the top 10 tips we can give you to make you an even better player.

1. Never Take Insurance

I haven't mentioned this so far in this guide, but the insurance option offered in some casinos when the dealer is showing an ace is an absolute waste of your money. Whenever the dealer's up-card is an ace, they may offer you insurance.

Always refuse insurance, let them peak down for a blackjack, and keep playing your hand according to the blackjack basic strategy if they don t actually have one, which will be the case most of the time. Making an insurance bet simply isn t worth it!

2. Don t Worry About Other Players

I see this way too often at the casinos! One of the players will be berating others for playing this way or that way. Whether you hit, stand, double, or split, there will likely always be a bystander or fellow player who will claim you made a mistake or cost them money.

Completely ignore such comments, and keep playing the perfect basic strategy in every hand you are dealt. If they get too annoying, call the casino staff to fix the situation.

3. Your Chances are Always the Same

Many blackjack players believe in streaks, being due to win, or having a better chance of winning a hand after losing a few in the row. From a mathematical and purely logical point of view, all of these things are absolutely false.

You are always just as likely to be dealt a winning hand or a losing one. Of course, this doesn t apply if you are keeping a count on the deck, in which case you may consider upping your bet when the deck is favorable.

4. Stay Sober and Alert

This goes without saying, but playing blackjack in an intoxicated or generally distracted state will cost you money. Remember, you have to play the perfect blackjack basic strategy to maximize your winnings and minimize your losses. This is unlikely if you are not sharp and 100% ready to play.

Every little mistake you make will cost you money, so try to stay sharp. Having a beer or two probably won t hurt, as long as you are comfortable with your strategy.

5. Look for the Best Rules

If you live in a place where blackjack is offered in multiple casinos or you play online, you should always look for the most favorable blackjack games. Try to find a game in which the dealer will stand on soft 17 and always look for a game in which blackjack pays 3:2.

If you can find a table that lets you double after splitting, that s even better. Also, try to find a game with only a few decks in the shoe. If you can find a single deck blackjack game in a live casino, definitely play that one and learn how to count cards.

6. Make Use of Comps

In live casinos, you will almost always be eligible for comps, as long as you let the dealer know you would like to be rated and give them your card. In this case, you will be earning comp points while playing, which you can exchange for chips, accommodations, food, ticket shows, and other rewards. The more comps you can get, the more you will minimize the house edge over you.

7. Use Online Blackjack Promotions

If you are an online blackjack player, you can get all sorts of extra perks when playing. You can start out with a juicy bonus on your initial deposit and get involved with various blackjack-specific promotions that will help boost your bankroll and give you an even better chance of walking away with a profit.

If you enjoy the competition, online casinos often organize blackjack tournaments in which you can play, have fun, and won great extra awards.

8. Never Deviate from Blackjack Basic Strategy

The blackjack basic strategy you learned here is the absolute best way to play blackjack, period! That means that any deviations you make to your game will only end up costing you money in the long run, and there is absolutely no reason to make them.

If you are running bad, keep playing the perfect strategy, and you will see things turn around as the variance will even out. If you simply aren t feeling it, leave the casino and go home, rather than misplaying your hands and costing yourself money.

9. Bring Your Strategy Card

When you play at a live casino, you definitely shouldn t always keep looking at your blackjack strategy card. This slows the game down and can annoy other players.

However, whenever a situation arises in which you are not sure what to do, it s great to have the card on you and be able to freshen up your memory in order to make the right play. After all, getting a few sighs from fellow players is better than losing extra money.

10. Learn How to Count Cards

Card counting is certainly not an obligatory blackjack strategy and not even one that I necessarily recommend you apply every time you play.

However, if you want to be a great blackjack player and give yourself the best chances, it s good to know how to count. You never know when a game might come up in which counting is highly beneficial, such as a single-deck game or one in which the dealers rarely shuffle the cards in the shoe.

Start Playing with Blackjack Basic Strategy

I have covered all the ins and outs of the blackjack basic strategy in this guide. While the blackjack chart may take some time to memorize and get down to perfection, remember that simply learning the most common situations will be enough to reduce the house edge to well over 1%.

Once you get down all the tricks of the basic strategy, your disadvantage over the casino will be around 0.5%. These are the best possible odds you can hope for at the blackjack tables.

Make sure to also keep my top 10 tips for playing blackjack in mind, and think about using card counting techniques to some degree to reduce the house edge even further or actually give yourself an advantage over the casinos.

Blackjack Basic Strategy FAQ

To wrap things up and make sure you ve remembered the most important points of this blackjack strategy guide, here are a few key questions and answers to round things up.

What is blackjack basic strategy?

The basic blackjack strategy is the perfect way to play the game, as calculated by the computers running billions of simulations. The basic strategy offers a solution for every possible hand that can come up in the game of blackjack, and you should learn it before you go into a casino to try and play the game.

Am I allowed to use the blackjack strategy card in casinos?

In most cases, the casino staff won t mind if you have a blackjack chart on hand. After all, the chart does not actually give you an advantage over the house, and if that s what it takes to get you to come out and play, they will be more than happy to have you. Just make sure you don t take up too much time from other players.

What if I can t memorize the basic strategy?

Memorizing the basic blackjack strategy is something that won t come overnight, but with time, you will get there. In the meantime, feel free to use the actual chart while playing and try to memorize as much of it as possible. As you use it more, the strategy will become second nature, and you won't have to think long in most situations.

Should I ever deviate from the basic strategy?

No! Basic strategy is absolutely the perfect way to play blackjack. Since the game has only a limited number of variables, there is no reason to ever deviate from this perfect strategy. The only time this might change is when you know the deck count, in which case some deviations might be made.

Is there a better strategy to play blackjack?

There is no better strategy to apply in blackjack than the basic strategy. Players change their bets according to many strategies, but in the end, your betting pattern does not impact your long-term results. The only way to reduce house edge is to play the basic strategy as perfectly as possible.

Blackjack Strategy - Basic Advanced

Blackjack is a simple game to understand, but has many different strategies when it comes to winning. Here you ll learn all about them, from Martingale to d'Alembert, as well as boosting your understanding of the basic rules and card counting. We'll also take you through the popular betting systems for the game.

  • What Are They?
  • Card Values
  • Basic Strategy
  • Card Counting
  • Betting Systems
  • Terms & Meanings
  • Frequently Asked Questions

The content on this page has been verified by an expert.

What is Blackjack Strategy?

Although there is no foolproof way to ensure yourself a win, using a well-practiced strategy can massively increase your chances of winning in a game. This can be done first by knowing the value of the cards, then by mastering card counting in order to know when is better to stand or hit.

Start with Great Basic Knowledge

Blackjack is a game which is known for its simplicity, but it s not without a few quirks and lesser-known rules. The following list gives an overview of the basic rules of the game. Get to grips with these and you ll know how to play blackjack.

The aim of the game is to beat the dealer by getting as close to 21 as you can, without going over it. If your card total is higher than 21 you re out and you ll lose your bet.

Players will get two cards to begin with. You'll only see one of the dealer s cards, but players' cards are both face up.

Different variants of the game will have slightly different rules, affecting for example when a player is allowed to surrender or when the dealer must hit/stand, so be sure to check this out.

If you get a score of 21 you will likely get 1.5x your total bet, however this depends on the rules of the individual casino.

If you're after some more advanced rules of the game, why not check out our how to play page? After all, developing a good strategy always starts with a comprehensive understanding of how the game works. Less time? Then check out our quick blackjack tips guide.

Understanding Card Values

Most of the card values in blackjack are self-explanatory, with only the number, rather than the suit or color, being of any importance. However, there are a few cards which can trip up newbies when it comes to their value. In blackjack, 10, J, Q and K all have exactly the same value of 10 points. The pictures on the face cards don t have any impact on their worth.

Aces are the cards which have a special status in blackjack, as they can be worth either one or 11 depending on which is liable to benefit you in a given situation. A starting hand of A5 will have a value of six or 16. If the next card drawn is a nine then the Ace becomes a one for a total value of 15. If you draw a three instead, then the Ace will be used as an 11 to make a strong hand of 19. A starting hand featuring an Ace is usually known as soft to indicate that it features the Ace.

Get Stuck into Basic Blackjack Strategy

In Blackjack, you have to make a decision with every hand you're dealt. Do you hit, Stand, Double down, or split? Knowing the right move to make can be tricky at first, which is why we ve created our handy FREE PDF strategy charts, which you can download and use as you play.

Dealt a pair but don't know whether to split? Check out our strategy guide to give yourself the best odds of winning.

When you're dealt an ace, you have even more to consider for your next move. Be sure to make the most of it!

With no ace, You can't swap the value of your hand, but you can make your next move to your advantage.

The dealer has viewed his/her cards and hasn't got blackjack. Do you hit or stand? Find out here!

With practice, knowing your odds will become second nature to you. Why not take a look at the following possible scenarios to see what the best moves would be in a given situation:

The Dealer s up card is 4. Your Hand is 9 + 3. Hit.

If you find yourself facing a dealer who shows one card of value 4, while your hand is worth 12, made up of a 9 and 3, a strategy would be to hit. In this situation, you don t have a much higher chance of going bust than the dealer does. However, the dealer also has a good chance of getting between 17 and 21, a slightly higher chance than yours. On the other hand, you may want to run the risk for the dealer to go bust and therefore stand. The decision to hit is based on the very similar likelihood of achieving a stronger hand: with player probability at around 39% against 42% for the dealer. There isn't a lot of difference. Standing means playing it safe, so you might want to try hitting, due to the minimal disadvantage.

The Dealer s up card is 10. Your Hand is 8 + 7. Hit.

If your hand is worth 15 and consists of an 8 and 7, and your dealer is showing one card of value 10, we recommend you hit. In this situation the dealer has a high chance of getting a total between 17 and 21, so your best option is to take the risk and attempt to beat this by hitting. The probability for the dealer to get a total between 17 and 21 with the next card dealt is 61.22%, of which it's 40.81% to get 20 or 21. The player's chance to get between 17 and 21 is only 40.81%, so take the risk and hit.

What's the Deal with Card Counting?

Card counting is a technique which is most often used in blackjack. The idea is to use mathematics to work out whether or not a hand is likely to be advantageous to the player or to the dealer, and whether to bet lower or higher. This is calculated by tracking how many small and large cards have been used and how many remain in the deck. Successful application of card counting in a strategy can decrease the house edge by as much as 1%.

Hi-lo Card Counting Strategy

This blackjack card counting technique works by assigning a value of either -1, 0 or 1 to each card dealt face up. You'll often hear the word 'tag' being used in card counting circles. This is just players' slang for any value assigned to cards in this technique.

It's a common alternative to detailed counting of each card that would require an incredible command of memory and arithmetic skills! Rather than being a foolproof way of knowing the deck, Hi-Lo is based more on approximations.

  • Small cards (2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) receive a tag of plus one. This means that their removal from the deck puts the player at an advantage.
  • Other cards (7, 8, 9) have a tag of 0, as their removal from the deck does not have a significant impact and therefore they do not need to be counted.
  • Large cards (10s, Aces) receive a tag of minus one. Their removal from the deck gives the advantage back to the house.

Using these tags, card counters work out the running count of the deck, adding or subtracting whenever a small or large card is removed. They therefore know whether or not the deck leans in their favor, or towards the house, at any given time, and can manage their bets accordingly.

How Card Counting Works in Multiple Deck Games

It s not impossible to use a card counting strategy in multiple-deck games, but it does make it a little more complicated. Begin by calculating your running count just as you would do in a single-deck game. You then need to normalize the running count to take into account multiple decks of cards by dividing the running count by the total number of unplayed decks of cards. This sum gives you something called your true count , which can be used in the same way as a running count, by giving you an insight into whether you are at an advantage or not.

Blackjack Betting Systems

Blackjack has inspired many different repetitive/sequential betting systems. These systems apply for a series or sequences of plays, defined through repetitive (or sequential) play. Applying one of these systems is distinctly different from a playing a game strategy. Some players use systems to improve their chances of beating the dealer. Below, are a few of the most common ones.


Players double their bets when they are losing. This strategy can get you back on even ground, wiping out your losses with one big winning bet. But it is risky!


When using d'Alembert, players raise their bets by one unit every time they lose. When they win, they lower their bets by one unit. It's known as one of the safer betting systems.


This system is based on a famous mathematical sequence called the Fibonacci sequence. In this, each number is the sum of the two previous numbers. The sequence goes like so: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, and so on. As a betting system, players bets progress along the Fibonacci sequence each time they lose. If they win, they stick with the number they were on when they won. The strategy is similar to Martingale but is somewhat less aggressive.

Known as a split strategy, 1-3-2-6 sees players bet 1, 3, 2 and 6 units consecutively. Unit bets only go up if the player wins. If the player loses, they remain on 1 unit until they win again.


This is what s known as a positive progression betting system. In Parlay, the idea is to create a pyramid of winnings. If the player wins, he/she will bet the winnings and the original bet. If the player loses, he will bet his/her original amount.

Oscar's Grind

Originally designed for the game of craps, Oscar s Grind has been successfully applied to Blackjack. The system is a progressive one, which sees bets increase by one unit if the player wins. Every time the player wins, the bet is doubled again.

Blackjack Glossary

Now you know how to play like a pro, learn how to talk like one too! Below are the top terms used by players and dealers when playing Blackjack. If you re interested in learning more popular gambling and casino terms check out our extensive gambling and casino glossary.

Time to Play Blackjack?

So, you ve heard all about blackjack strategy and download our strategy charts. You ve read up on card counting and you ve found out all about the best-known blackjack betting systems which you might want to try out. Now, it must be time to try your luck at the game! Check out our top rated real money online casinos to get started.

How do I play blackjack online?

Blackjack is available to play online at all top blackjack casinos. Take a look at our recommended sites for a full selection of available casinos and get started on your desktop computer or mobile device. You can even play and practise blackjack for free on either device.

Is online blackjack rigged?

All casinos listed here on offer games which are totally fair and random. However, not all casinos do this. That s why we recommend you stick to reputable names and trustworthy sites. Casinos which do not score highly are added to our blacklist, so make sure you avoid these.

How do I bet in online blackjack?

In online blackjack, you ll be able to place your bets before the hands are dealt, just as you would in the traditional table game. You can also change your bet by doubling down or surrendering within the game.

When should I hit or stand?

If you re in doubt as to what move you should make, take a look at our free blackjack strategy charts. These charts will give you the best advice on what you should do in any given situation.

How do people count cards?

Card counting is a mathematical way of assessing player s or house s advantage in terms of the likelihood of some outcomes, by basing only on the seen cards. This is done by assigning values to small and large cards, and keeping a running total of what is left in the deck at any one time. Successful card counters increase their edge over the house and play at an advantage.

Verified Content

Dr. Catalin Barboianu is a gaming mathematician and philosopher of science. He is a research associate at the University of Bucharest, science writer, editor and consultant for the mathematical aspects of games of chance for the gaming industry and problem-gambling institutions.

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Blackjack Betting Strategies Reviewed

Blackjack Betting Strategies are quite popular, especially since the game has been featured in hit movies like Rain Man, 21 and The Hangover.

No matter what the game, there is one universal rule; if the casino spreads the game, someone has developed the perfect betting strategy.

Roulette strategies are perhaps the most prominent as roulette strategies and systems have been offered for sale for centuries.

As a dealer and a player, I have been able to see and try many of the most famous Blackjack Betting Strategies.

Blackjack strategies dont change around the world but it is interesting to see different perspectives. A good blackjack resource for Canadians is

Play Blackjack Live Online

Want to try playing blackjack online for real money? We recommened playing with live dealers at Bovada casino (US friendly)

The Two Best Systems

There are two strategies that every player should use every time they take a seat at or swim up to a blackjack table.

Play to Have Fun

Napoleon was a fan of Vingt-un (blackjack) near the start of the 19th century. For more than two centuries, blackjack has grown in popularity to become the most popular casino table game. Mathematicians have analyzed the game, hundreds of books have been written about it, and a number of myths and legends have been created.

Earning a place in the Blackjack Hall of Fame at the Barona Casino in California is the only honorary award for players of any casino table game. There is a reason that blackjack has remained popular for a couple of centuries; it s fun! There are many varieties of blackjack. Mr. Green offers a great selection of 15 blackjack games by 6 software providers, including Double Exposure Blackjack Professional Series by Net Entertainment, VIP Blackjack by Extreme Live Gaming, and 6-in-1 Blackjack by Felt.

Spin Palace offers a remarkable amount of blackjack games. There are over 40 blackjack games in total on offer. They also offer practice play which is perfect for sharpening your blackjack skills before you start playing for real money. Most of their games are developed by Microgaming which are very popular in English speaking countries like Australia, New Zealand, UK and Canada.

Yes, the game has a really low house edge, which makes it appealing, but it is a very social game, so in many cases, the table wins or loses as a group. This builds comradery and makes it fairly common for players to talk with one another. The social aspect of the game is a very important one to most players.

Bet the Right Amount

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Set up a bankroll before you go to the table. This is your total stake.

As has been mentioned numerous times, blackjack is supposed to be fun. Playing with money you can t afford to lose (what dealers and players call scared money ) practically guarantees you won t enjoy the game.

It is fairly easy to find table limits to fit most bankrolls.

The Martingale Blackjack Betting Strategies

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The Martingale system originated in 18th century France and is one of the oldest systems around. The original theory was used to prove that someone with infinite wealth could always avoid a loss in even money bets by doubling the best after each loss. Most likely the first casino game where the Martingale system was touted was roulette, but it can also be used in other areas, such as in stock market trading.

You will often see players use the Martingale system at the blackjack table, doubling their wager after each loss. In theory, this strategy sounds solid. However, blackjack is not an even money game. And additionally, players will occasionally run into a bad streak of cards. At a $5 table using the Martingale system if you lose 8 hands in a row, you will be wagering $1280 on your next hand, so unless you are a legendary high-roller, you are probably better off taking the $5 loss.

2-1-2 (Manhattan) Strategy Blackjack Betting Strategies

One of the common laments one hears from players is the one where they were way ahead but gave it all back. These players are the same ones that usually talk about playing with house money.

Here is a fact: Once the chips are in your stack, they are your chips, not the house s.

The second most common lament you will hear is a player talking about missing out on a hot streak. The 2-1-2 strategy helps address both.

First, there is no mathematical foundation for hot or cold streaks at the blackjack table. Mathematicians will tell you (truthfully) that there is no such phenomenon. Blackjack players know they exist.

As a player you want to capitalize on a good run of cards and this strategy has some merits. Start with a 2 unit bet. If you win you reduce the bet to one unit. If you win that bet you increase to 3 units. Once the dealer wins you go back to your original 2 unit bet.

A run of 10 hands could look like this:

  • 2 W +2
  • 1 W +3
  • 2 W +5
  • 3 W +8
  • 4 L +4
  • 2 W +6
  • 1 L +5
  • 2 W +7
  • 3 W +10
  • 4 L +6

With the 2-1-2 strategy, players will win a bit more with a hot run yet not sacrifice all of their winnings.

Oscars System Blackjack Betting Strategies

Oscars System was proposed in the 1960s in a book by mathematician Dr. Allan Wilson. It is a fairly decent system. The goal of the strategy is to win exactly one unit per series.

The player starts a series by betting one unit. After a win, the player adds a unit; after a loss, the next bet is exactly the same as the previous one. That s it.

Here are two examples:

  • 1 L -1
  • 1 L -2
  • 1 W -1
  • 2 W +1
  • 1 L -1
  • 1 L -2
  • 1 L -3
  • 1 W -2
  • 2 L -4
  • 2 W -2
  • 3 W +1

Playing Multiple Spots

Many players feel that playing multiple hands increases their odds of winning. Playing multiple spots can be exciting, but it does absolutely nothing to increase your win rate.

Most of these systems fall under the heading of progressive bets. While these are among the most common, they are by no means the only strategies out there. It is perfectly fine to sit at the table and make the exact same wager every hand. While this strategy is a bit boring for me, if it works for you that is what counts. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking out a deck of cards and developing your own strategy as well.

Blackjack Betting Systems in the Long Run

Ok so weve covered the popular blackjack betting systems here and highlighted how they are used but are any of them really useful in the long run? The answer is a resounding NO (this article goes into great depth as to why).

While you might make great short term wins, any betting system will not be a formula for success in the long term. To truly gain an advantage against the casino you must start with learning basic strategy and then moving to card counting.

There are plenty of resources to get started. We recommend:

    A comprehensive free resource that covers both basic strategy and card counting principles. Run by Colin Jones, a professional counter who featured in the blackjack documentary Holy Rollers, this site provides a paid course offering video training material, private coaching and more. The wizard has some great strategy charts but only for 4-8 decks. If you need more customized charts then BlackjackInfo has a good strategy chart builder. Offers a how to guide on the rules and how to play blackjack as well as other popular casino games.

Members Feedback

One comment on “ Blackjack Betting Strategies ”

Thanks for the article. I totally agree, there is no betting system that will give the player the advantage over the casino in blackjack or any other game for that matter.
Betting systems are fun to try though ??

Best Blackjack Strategies That Work In 2021

Finding a blackjack strategy that fits your needs as a player can often prove a bit of a challenge. Yet, there are time-tested strategies that will repeatedly work as you try them at different blackjack games, and those are the ones you specifically want to pay closer attention to.

Today, we will look at the best blackjack strategies, alternating between a basic strategy for newcomers, a list of tips to stick to as catechism whenever you play blackjack, as well as recommended actions based on the current cards you have in your hand.

This strategy guide is designed to be used as a continuous source of inspiration and browsed through repeatedly. It s a living document, but of course, you can expect the core principles laid out here to be true, accurate, and helpful.

You do not have to memorize the information listed here, as it will always be available and guide you through your next blackjack game, whether you play single deck, multi-hand, or some other version of the popular game. We help you beat the house edge by understanding the dealer, game dynamics, and expected outcomes.

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Basic Blackjack Strategy: How to Play Optimally

The first thing you ought to familiarize yourself with is how a blackjack table works. Once you do, you will probably benefit from picking a game version that is played with fewer decks. 4 and 8-deck blackjack is very popular, and every basic blackjack strategy will cover this type of game.

Since there are fewer odds to take care of, its much easier to approximately guess the next outcome. Mind, you will not be able to ever guess the exact card coming next, so don t misunderstand the way this strategy works.

Well, guess isnt the most appropriate word here. You are trying to minimize the house edge through evidence that certain plays are statistically more likely to happen. There are slight differences in how you would play physical blackjack and how you would play at an online casino.

We will cover that in a bit, but for now, the basic strategy we have at hand here will serve you well, no matter how new or experienced you are in the game of blackjack. We consider several scenarios, including where the dealer hits and stands on soft 17.


  • Surrender a hard 16 but never a pair of 8s versus dealers 9, 10, or Ace
  • Surrender a hard 15 against a dealers 10


  • Split your Aces and 8s
  • Do not split 5s and 10s
  • Split 2s and 3s against dealers 4, 5, 6, or 7
  • Split 6s against dealers 3, 4, 5, or 6
  • Split 7s against dealers 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7
  • Split 9s against a dealers 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 8,9, but not 7

There are a few slight modifications to this blackjack betting strategy. If Double After Split is allowed, you will consider a few other moves, including:

  • Split 2s and 3s against dealers 2 and 3
  • Split 6s against dealers 2
  • Split 4s against dealers 2


  • Double hard 9s vs. dealers 3, 4, 5 or 6
  • Double hard 10 except vs. dealers 10 or Ace
  • Double hard 11 except vs. dealers Ace
  • Double soft 13 or 14 vs. dealers 5 or 6
  • Double soft 15 or 16 vs. dealers 4 or 6
  • Double soft 17 vs. 18 vs. dealers 3 or 6

Hit and Stand

  • Hit on hard 11 or less
  • Stand on hard 12 vs. dealers 4, 5, or 6, otherwise hit
  • Stand on hard 13, 14, 15, and 16 vs. a dealers 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, otherwise hit
  • Stand on hard 17 or greater
  • Stand on soft 18 but hit vs. dealers 9, 10, Ace
  • Stand on soft 19 or greater

Blackjack Strategy Additional Rules

There are a few small adjustments that you may want to consider if you are playing a game where the dealer hits on soft 17. Factor in the following changes:

  • Double 11 vs. dealers Ace
  • Double soft 18 vs. dealers 2
  • Double soft 19 vs. dealers 6
  • Surrender 15, 8s, and 17 vs. dealers Ace

Blackjack Strategies Charts and Tables

To make it much easier for you to play blackjack and still know that you are playing to the best possible strategy, we recommend taking a look at our strategy charts. There is no need to memorize any of these situations, although, as you continue playing, you will notice that your understanding of the game and its rules, strategies, and dynamics improves intuitively.

To help pack the most information in the charts, we have used several terms that are widely recognized in the blackjack community and will therefore be a language that you will find familiar as you continue to learn about viable blackjack strategies.

DhDouble Down if allowed. Otherwise, Hit.
DsDouble Down if allowed. Otherwise, Stand.
RhSurrender if allowed. Otherwise, Stand.
RsSurrender if allowed. Otherwise, Split.
RpSurrender if allowed. Otherwise, Split
PhSplit if Hit after Double Down is allowed. Otherwise, Hit
PdSplit if Hit after Double Down is allowed. Otherwise, Double Down
PsSplit if Hit after Double Down is allowed. Otherwise, Stand

Single Deck Blackjack Chart

Below is a list of viable blackjack strategy charts that are designed to quickly advise you on what to do next depending on your present cards, as well as what the dealer is showing. The house edge will vary based on that information, so make sure to pay close attention to each strategy chart.

We have made sure to provide you with an easy-to-follow, color-coded charts that will help you improve your blackjack game and win more often than not. In case of questions, you can send us a quick email or leave a comment otherwise, stick to the charts and place your next bet in confidence that you are playing the best possible strategy out there.

Dealer Stands on Soft 17

Hard 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Ace
5, 6, 7 H H H H H H H H H H
8 H H H Dh Dh H H H H H
9 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
10 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh H H
11 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh
12 H H S S S H H H H H
13 S S S S S H H H H H
14 S S S S S H H H H H
15 S S S S S H H H H H
16 S S S S S H H H Rh Rh
17+ S S S S S S S S S S
Soft 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Ace
13 H H Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
14 H H Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
15 H H Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
16 H H Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
17 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
18 S Ds Ds Ds Ds S S H H S
19 S S S S Ds S S S S S
20 S S S S S S S S S S
Splits 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Ace
2, 2 Ph P P P P P H H H H
3, 3 Ph Ph P P P P Ph H H H
4, 4 H H Ph Pd Pd H H H H H
6, 6 P P P P P Ph H H H H
7, 7 P P P P P P Ph H Rs H
8, 8 P P P P P P P P P P
9, 9 P P P P P S P P S S
A, A P P P P P P P P P P

Dealer Hits on Hard 17

Hard 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Ace
4, 5, 6, 7 H H H H H H H H H H
8 H H H Dh Dh H H H H H
9 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
10 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh H H
11 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh
12 H H S S S H H H H H
13 S S S S S H H H H H
14 S S S S S H H H H H
15 S S S S S H H H H Rh
16 S S S S S H H H Rh Rh
17 S S S S S S S S S Rs
18+ S S S S S S S S S S
Soft 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
13 H H Dh Dh Dh H H H
14 H H Dh Dh Dh H H H
15 H H Dh Dh Dh H H H
16 H H Dh Dh Dh H H H
17 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh H H H
18 S Ds Ds Ds Ds S S H
19 S S S S Ds S S S
20 S S S S S S S S
Splits 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
2, 2 Ph P P P P P H H H H
3, 3 Ph Ph P P P P Ph H H H
4, 4 H H Ph Pd Pd H H H H H
6, 6 P P P P P Ph H H H H
7, 7 P P P P P P Ph H Rs Rh
8, 8 P P P P P P P P P P
9, 9 P P P P P S P P S Ps
A, A P P P P P P P P P P

Blackjack Strategy Charts for 4 and 8-Deck Games

Since there are so many versions of blackjack, and they all more or less come down to the same statistical probability, its very easy to create broader strategies that always work and cover numerous variations of the game.

The key variable is actually the number of decks. Well, that and whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17. As you can imagine, we have accounted for both variables in providing you with these tables. In fact, the most common variation of blackjack is the six-deck version, but its duly covered as part of our 4 and 8-deck strategy guides.

Below you will find what we consider to be the perfect blackjack strategy for 4 and 8-deck games, designed to help you win consistently in the long run by making the right calls at the right time. Winning at blackjack comes down to two things knowing the strategies or counting cards. We will touch on the latter later, and for now, lets focus on the strategy charts.

Dealer Stands on Soft 17

Hard 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
4-8 H H H H H H H H H H
9 H Dh Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
10 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh H H
11 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh H
12 H H S S S H H H H H
13 S S S S S H H H H H
14 S S S S S H H H H H
15 S S S S S H H H Rh H
16 S S S S S H H Rh Rh Rh
17+ S S S S S S S S S S
Soft 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
13 H H H Dh Dh H H H H H
14 H H H Dh Dh H H H H H
15 H H Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
16 H H Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
17 H Dh Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
18 S Ds Ds Ds Ds S S H H S
19+ S S S S S S S S S S
Splits 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
2, 2 Ph Ph P P P P H H H H
3, 3 Ph Ph P P P P H H H H
4, 4 H H H Ph Ph H H H H H
6, 6 Ph P P P P H H H H H
7, 7 P P P P P P H H H H
8, 8 P P P P P P P P P P
9, 9 P P P P P S P P S S
A, A P P P P P P P P P P

Dealer Hits on Soft 17

Hard 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
4-8 H H H H H H H H H H
9 H Dh Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
10 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh H H
11 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh
12 H H S S S H H H H H
13 S S S S S H H H H H
14 S S S S S H H H H H
15 S S S S S H H H Rh Rh
16 S S S S S H H Rh Rh Rh
17 S S S S S S S S S Rs
18+ S S S S S S S S S S
Soft 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
13 H H H Dh Dh H H H H H
14 H H H Dh Dh H H H H H
15 H H Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
16 H H Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
17 H Dh Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
18 Ds Ds Ds Ds Ds S S H H H
19 S S S S Ds S S S S S
20+ S S S S S S S S S S
Splits 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
2, 2 Ph Ph P P P P H H H H
3, 3 Ph Ph P P P P H H H H
4, 4 H H H Ph Ph H H H H H
6, 6 Ph P P P P H H H H H
7, 7 P P P P P P H H H H
8, 8 P P P P P P P P P Rp
9, 9 P P P P P S P P S S
A, A P P P P P P P P P P

Counting Cards in Blackjack: Players Favorite

Card counting is one of the best ways to approach the game. A basic blackjack strategy wont teach you about card counting since this strategy takes a fair bit of understanding on how to tag cards, crunch odds, and follow through with what the dealer is showing each round.

You also have to be aware that if you start betting and winning too much, the casino will start sending complimentary drinks, and the dealer will chat you up more often. When this happens, it means you are being vetted by the Sky in the Eye and the security teams casinos hire to spot card counters.

Oftentimes, the people calling the shots are former card counters. The best blackjack counting strategy really isnt difficult to comprehend in principle, though. You basically assign values to each card in the deck as per the Hi-Low System. Now, since you cannot have 15 values assigned, you will use blanket values to categorize a group of few cards at a time, as follows:

  • 2-6: -1
  • 10, J, Q, K, and Ace: +1
  • 7, 8, and 9: 0

Once you have these assigned in your mind and the dealer deals the first cards, you can start crunching the numbers adding from a baseline of 0. The 0 is reintroduced every time the dealer decides to shuffle. Basically, you are following the (+) and (-) to determine what cards are left in the deck, i.e., low or high cards, and act accordingly.

You can have a spotter who waits for the table to get hot before signaling you to come and join because they know that the deck contains favorable cards.

Blackjack Strategy FAQ

Yes. Blackjack offers the highest percentage chance for players to win. There is usually a 0.5-0.6% house edge that is inherent to all blackjack games. However, blackjack allows you to study the game with the precision that in turn gives you a very strong chance to win at both a retail and digital casino.

Las Vegas rules blackjack is a common term that describes the game that is available in Downtown Las Vegas. That includes the availability of insurance bet, re-split options, and a double down rule on players first two cards. The dealer has to stand on soft 17, which leads to slightly better overall odds for the players.

Yes. Blackjack strategies will vary slightly as you try different games. A quick look through our charts will show some slight differences in the single deck and multi-deck blackjack strategy. With this said, there can be only one optimal strategy for each game, as the cards boil down to mathematical probability.

This depends. When playing online, there is really not much difference because you will use blackjack charts. Of course, you still need to factor in whether a dealer will hit soft 17s or whether they stand. However, you can always refer to the charts in real-time. A single-deck game, though, is better to bet on if you are trying to count cards. Card counting is a great way to make money in the long run, but beware that each casino is looking to identify and expel card counters from the gaming floor.

Yes. You can actually bring a blackjack strategy chart to your Las Vegas casino with you. That is a common practice on The Strip. Its good to double-check with the dealer first, but ultimately you should be allowed to play with a chart next to you.

Yes. You can count cards legally in any casino in Las Vegas. The

only downside is that, since you beat the house edge, casino security is going to ask you to leave if they suspect you are counting cards.

Yes. Not only is it theoretically possible to, but its been proven time and again. There are entire crews that used to play at casinos throughout the 80s and 90s that cost properties millions. The most famous of those is the MIT team.

Card counting is fairly basic and straightforward math exercised over the course of thousands of hands without erring. There are at least two viable card counting strategies where you just assign value to cards and start tracking what the most likely outcome of the next dealers hand would be.

No. Online casino games operate based on a slightly different model. There, you no longer have cards that leave the deck. Rather, the cards are shuffled again after each hand dealt. Counting cards in online casino blackjack doesnt work. Strategy charts are helpful, though, as they are unaffected by the shuffling.

No. Generally speaking, you do not want to take an insurance bet. Its better to act on a bet or forfeit your hand than investing more money, which will be lost anyway. The payout is small and doesnt justify betting on insurance.

No. You will always be at the mercy of your knowledge and understanding of the game. Even the strategy charts wont be 100% accurate because of the 0.5% house edge.

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