Your Guide to the Best Blackjack Strategy

This article is your road map to the top online Blackjack tables and also your handbook for both the basic and advanced blackjack strategy. 

So, let’s start talking about the strategies, without further ado. By the way, we are assuming that you already know how to play blackjack and are familiar with the rules. Otherwise, this all going to sound too geeky.

Multi Deck vs Single Deck Blackjack Strategy

Some of the casinos offer a single-deck Blackjack while some offer a multi-deck game (2 to 8 decks). Despite having similar gameplay, there is no one-trick-hits-all. Therefore, you got to ensure that you are visiting the right table with the right strategy if you want to up your game.

A multi-deck Blackjack offers a bettor a 3:2 odds while a single-deck game offers a 6:5 odds. A multi-deck Blackjack offers a bettor a 3:2 odds while a single-deck game offers a 6:5 odds. If you place a wager of $10, you will get $15 in a multi-deck game, while on the other hand, a single-deck will give you $12 payout. Beating the dealer’s hand, however, pays 1:1 in both the formats. Nonetheless, it is also advisable to enquire about the table rules and conditions before starting with the game and avoid playing if the odds are 6 to 5 because it has a higher house edge.

You need to know when to hit, stand or double down as the scenario changes with the number of cards involved in the game. In both the formats, it’s wise to split the pairs of 2-2 and 3-3 against the dealer’s upcard of 2-7.

In the single-deck game, if the dealer shows 7, you can split the 6-6, and the dealer has to hit on soft 17. A ‘soft’ hand means that there is at least one Ace in the pair of cards. In a soft hand, an Ace can be valued at either 11 or 1, depending upon your hand. Here, for example, a soft 17 means, A-6, where the ace is valued at 11. Now, if you pull out a 9 as you hit on a soft 17, the ace-value automatically comes down to 1, totalling to 16 (1+6+9) and thus preventing your hand from busting.

Any pair of cards without an Ace is called a hard hand, e.g. 9-6, 8-5, 2-3, 6-6, and so on.

Soft hands generally allow you to pull more cards for its floating value.

Also, doubling-down on hard 11 (a pair of cards with no Aces), is more promising in a single-deck game, regardless of the dealer’s upcard, but in a multi-deck, if the dealer shows an ace, you hit.

 

Blackjack Basic Strategy

Theoretically, if blackjack can be beaten, then you may wonder how come casinos are still making millions? Well, the answer would be very straightforward. Blackjack is a game that changes with every round. With the most fool-proof strategies and years of experience, even the champs flunk at the table.

According to the experts, the more you play, the more grows the house edge. You may have a flurry of wins, but you must remember that it will turn and you will have a losing streak very soon.

And that, my friend, is Blackjack 101 for everyone.

So, right before you start playing, you make calculations of how much you want to win and how much loss you are okay with. You may have a hundred dollars or a grand as your budget, but if you decide that you want to go home with a 30% profit, you stick to that plan. Then you divide that amount by the number of rounds you intend to play. Always remember the expression, ‘quit while you're ahead’. A common mistake people make is they continue when they are winning and winning, and that’s a blunder because when the table turns, they lose their profit.

 

Surrender

There is a widespread notion that surrendering your hand means accepting the defeat, and champs don’t do that. Well, it’s not what it sounds like. After you are dealt the first two cards, and they are the lamest ones one can get, compared to the dealer’s upcard, you can surrender your hand. It will spare you half of your wager which you might have lost entirely given you lost the hand.

If your hand is 75% sure to lose, surrendering it will save 25% of the money that you might have lost playing that bet.

There are two types of surrenders – Early and Late.

Early surrender is when you give in your hand after taking a judgement call with your initial cards comparing them to the dealer’s upcard. For a multi-deck game, an early surrender against the dealer’s Ace can gain you 0.39% edge over the house.

  • You surrender your hard 5 to 7 (including 3s), and 12 to 17 (including 6s, 7s, and 8s) against the dealer’s Ace
  • You surrender your hard 14 to 16 (including 7s and 8s) against the dealer’s 10
  • You surrender your hard 10-6 and 9-7 (but not 8s) against the dealer’s 9

If the dealer allows you to surrender your hand after he flips his hole card, that is called a late surrender. Remember, if the dealer hits the Blackjack after flipping his hole card, the surrender option will no longer be available.

A correct surrender can win you a 0.07% edge over the house.

  • In a single-deck game with soft 17, surrender your 16 against the dealer’s 10 and ace
  • In double-deck with soft 17, you should surrender your 15 only against dealer’s 10
  • In a six-deck game with soft 17, you should surrender your 16 against dealer’s 10
  • In a six-deck game with soft 17, you should surrender your pair of 8s against dealer’s ace

strategy

Note: Some casinos don’t allow Early surrenders while some don’t allow late surrenders. Feel free to enquire beforehand.

 

Stand

When you have cards that total to near 21, you stand, regardless of the dealer’s upcard. Otherwise, you are more susceptible to ‘bust’.

Now, if you have a pair of 9s you will think about splitting them, that’s fine. The confusion occurs when the dealer shows a 7. There is a possibility that the dealer has a 10 in the hole since the number of ten value cards in a deck is four times higher than other cards. Therefore, if you hold your 9-9, there is a fair dinkum chance that you will beat the dealer’s 17 with your 18.

Often it is suggested to hit a hard 16 against the dealer’s 10 upcard. There is nothing wrong with this strategy, however, if you have a multi-card 16, your best bet would be to stand.

Talking about confusing situations, take one for instance, you have a hard 12 against the dealer’s 4 upcard. There is a 40% chance that you would win if you stand, but if you hit the winning probability goes down to 39.75%. There are only four ways to have a hard 12 (not in pairs), 10/2, 7/5, 8/4, 9/3.

If you notice the difference between the 10/2 and 7/5, in the latter case, if you hit it you may get a 10 which will eventually bust your hand. The bottom line is, you should only hit the 10/2 and stand in all other cases.

when to hit

 

Hit

If your hand is below 17 while the dealer shows anything above 8 it is recommended to hit, because the dealer is more likely to bust. However, in case of the soft hands, the things get tangled a bit. Typically, if you have a soft hand with a value between 13-17 and the dealer shows 7 or higher, you can hit.

Always hit your hard 12 against the dealer’s 2, 3. Many of the players get confused fearing a bust, but the bottom line is that the dealer’s 2 or 3 will drag you down to the ground in the long run, but if you keep hitting, you may lose less money. It’s a damage control move.

Though the chart above advises to stand, it is highly recommended that you hit your soft 18 against the dealer’s 9, 10 or ace. The logic being, you are an underdog against the dealer’s strong cards, regardless of your decision to stand or hit. However, if you hit you can maximise your chance of reaching 21. Even if you pull out a 10-value card, you will not bust.

Also, you hit the hard totals of 13-16 against the dealer’s upcard if that is above 6.

Hit

 

Double Down

If the casinos allow you to double down, it means you can double your initial wager after correctly judging your hand. The general rule is you double-down on hard 8 through 11 and the soft 13 through 18.

With double-down, the player gives up his option of drawing more than one card. Also, not all the casinos allow doubling-down, so you must enquire before trying your luck on the table.

Double Down

You always double-down on hard 11, regardless of dealer’s upcard, except in a multi-deck game. If the dealer must stand on a soft 17, you are better off hitting against doubling down.

If you are playing a hard 17 game, you always double-down on H11 against the dealer’s ace, double-down on S19 (A-8) against dealer’s 6 and double-down on S18 (A-7) against dealer’s 2.

The best strategy to maximise your winning is by doubling-down a soft 13 through soft 18 against the dealer’s 5/6 upcard. However, in case of a double-deck game, you also double-down your soft 14 against the dealer’s 4 in addition to the 5 and 6 that we just talked about.

In a single-deck game, always double-down on hard 8 against the dealer’s 5 or 6 upcard. But don’t do it in a multi-deck game. Also, if DAS is allowed, you can double-down on 4-4 as well.

Doubling-down on the hard hands gives you an edge of 1.3% over the house while mastering the double-downs on the soft hands adds another 0.13% to that advantage.

 

Splitting the Pair

First of all, you must know what to split and what not to. You don’t split everything that comes in pairs, and people with this reckless splitting tendencies have made the casinos happier than ever. One such instance of splitting the tens is an awful move.

Read ahead to learn the perfect pair splitting conditions and hone your skill.

Everyone splits their pair of 9s when the dealer shows 9 or less but, when he shows 7, it gets a little tricky for most of the lot. As we have discussed in the ‘stand’ section, this is a situation where you don’t split the 9s but stand.

If you are dealt 2-2 or 3-3, you always split against the dealer’s 2/3, if the game allows DAS. This way, even if you draw a high-value card after that, for say 8 or 9, you can double-down on them, maximising your chance of winning more profit. However, there is one exception; in case of a single-deck game even if the game is NDAS, you still split the 2s and 3s against the dealer’s 2 or 3.

Some people don’t split their 8s and Aces against the dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace, for they take the dealer’s hand as a stronger one, which it is. However, in the long run, you will tend to lose more money by hitting on the hard 16 than splitting them. With the Aces the decision is even more favourable for splitting as it gives you an edge. But there is one exception. If it’s a multi-deck game with H17 and NDAS, surrendering the 8-8 against the dealer’s Ace will be wiser than splitting them, if surrender is offered.

Let’s discuss a common mistake among people that the casinos enjoy watching them make. It’s the splitting of the 5s and 10s. Remember the thumb rule, never split the pair of 5s or 10s. With a 5-5 pair, you have a hard 10 where you can afford pulling a high-value card and near 21. Splitting the 10s, on the other hand, should be considered a dire offence. Just look at it, you have a hard 20 ‘standing’ right over there, so you stand some more on it.

Single-deck splitting strategy chart

 

Strategy for Multi Hand Blackjack

Multi-hand Blackjack has become a fan-favourite version of the classic game with time as it increases the player’s chance of winning more. However, to obtain the RTP of 99.6%, you must have a perfect strategy to hit the table with.

With rules varying from casino to casino, you must be sure of them before you start playing.

To improve your chance of winning, you can make one of your hands (assuming you are playing five hands) super aggressive while maintaining the other as a cautious ‘never bust’ hand. You can also bring basic Blackjack strategies into play.

If you have two hands, each with a pair of face cards, keep one at hard 20 and split the other, and you can win multiple hands in this way. You can also put wager on insurance for as many hands as you want when the dealer shows ace.

Top 3 Sites for Multi-hand Blackjack

* more terms & conditions apply
#1
Welcome bonus up to £200
  • Wide range of Blackjack versions to choose from
  • Live casino available
  • Myriad banking methods
#2
Welcome bonus up to £250
  • Generous welcome bonus
  • Average payout of 97.76%
  • Powered by eCOGRA
#3
Sign-up bonus of £100
  • Average payout of 96.94%
  • Wide range of safe payment options
  • Amazing customer service program

 

Lowering the Blackjack House Edge

Following the strategy chart, you can reasonably lower the Blackjack house edge and maximise your profit, however, it is not a formula that guarantees a sure success. For that, you must cap your aspirations as after a few rounds the table can take a turn and you may end up turning your fortune into misfortune. The strategy lies in knowing where to stop.

Usually, a Blackjack house edge stands at 2%-8% varying from one casino to the other, and of course, depending upon the varied rules of different versions of the game. The 8% house edge means that every time you put a wager, you are expected to lose 8% of that money. Now, imagine losing $8 from every $100 wager every hand and playing 60 hands every hour. Sit down before you do the math as the result may trip you off balance. The house edge applies on a large number of bets and occurs because of many advantages like the ‘push’ and ‘double bust’ that the dealer has over the bettor. See the table below for a better understanding.

blackjack house edge

 

Blackjack Advanced Strategy

The basic strategies, like the ones discussed above in the article, are known as the defensive or conservative Blackjack strategy. Let’s admit that nobody wants to lose their buck, be it a newbie or a veteran in the game of Blackjack, but we still do.

So, here is one approach to stop the chipping of the bankroll – raise your bet as you win.

If you look at the probability, you will find that wins or loses, they both come in streaks, somewhat. So, if you lose a few hands in a row, there is a probability that you will have a winning streak too. And with this mindset comes this strategy to maximise the winning.

 

Oscar’s Grind Strategy

One of the most popular progressive betting systems in Blackjack, this is the perfect strategy for you, the table-stickers. If you prefer playing long sessions, this strategy will keep your bankroll afloat for a longer period.

The objective is to make a profit on one unit. The progression starts with the winning, and after a win, you double your bet. An increased bet follows every win, and it continues until you achieve your profit target.

Oscar’s Grind Strategy is effective for longer sessions.

 

Martingale Strategy

Ah! For the wealthy and adventurous gamblers, this is the perfect strategy. But you got to have a pile of chips before employing this strategy. Did I mention that you also must have a lion’s heart? Well, according to the Oscar Grind Strategy every time you lose, you double your bet! Pretty darn crazy right?

Well, remember the probability and winning streak? Yes!

Once you start winning, this strategy changes everything.

But remember to stop immediately once you go over your initial profit target. Martingale Blackjack strategy is not for the long gaming sessions, it’s rather dangerous.

Martingale is also a strategy for the Roulette table.

 

1-3-2-6 Blackjack Betting System

This strategy is for conservative gamblers who like to stay afloat for an extended period.

The numbers are the sequence of bets after you win a hand of Blackjack. Still confused? Well, let’s simplify things a bit. For example, you place a wager of 10 quid, and after you win, you put 30 in the next, and 20 the next and 60 after that. However, you cut the sequence as soon as you have lost a hand. The sequence only continues if you win.

Does it help? Well, it is a kind of conservative blackjack strategy that allows you to play for a longer time, as it keeps a check on your losses.

 

Card Counting

This is the real deal for the pro players. Let’s delve a little deeper and see how it is done.

The high-value cards (10, J, Q, K and Ace) have a count value of -1 as they are less in numbers hence get depleted sooner. These cards are better for the player and add to your advantage.

Then comes the low-value cards (2, 3, 4, 5, 6) that hold a value of +1. These cards are best for the dealer. On the other hand, 7, 8, 9 cards have 0 values or called neutrals.

You have to keep counting the cards’ values as they are being dealt. Once you count the cards’ value to keep track of the remaining decks on the table, it’s called the running count. Running count is essential for the entire process, and it keeps getting updated with every hand.

You can also use the meaningful pairs (a combination of Hi-low cards) by calculating the individual player’s hand. It simplifies the card counting process.

Then you must calculate the True count. You can use the formula to calculate it,

(True count = Running count divided by the number of decks remaining)

For example, if you have a running count of 9 and 4.5 decks are remaining, then True count will be 9/4.5, i.e. 2. The value of the true count equals the players’ advantage. For a positive true count, you can place higher bets while in case of a negative value, you place the bare minimum.

True count value is the deciding factor for the wager. Players subtract one unit of the wager from the true count value and puts the bet.

If one unit of wager equals $5 and the True count is +3, the bet would be +3-1 = +2 units of wager, i.e. $10.

Top Three Blackjack Sites We Recommend

* more terms & conditions apply
#1
Welcome bonus of £50 with a deposit of £10
  • 99.65% Blackjack RTP
  • Live casino available
  • A wide array of games available
#2
Sign up bonus of £50 with a deposit of £10
  • Simple and user-friendly website
  • Live Blackjack casino
  • Accepts a wide range of payment options
#3
100% buy in bonus maximum up to £300
  • Live Blackjack casino
  • Wide range of games
  • Pay using a wide range of payment options

 

Power Blackjack Strategy

With rules mostly similar to the classic version, Power Blackjack is a popular variation of the Blackjack game. Popular among the online gamblers, Power blackjack allows you to split any two cards (regardless of their values).

One of the main features of this version is that you can exchange your third card with the next pull. The third card that you exchanged goes straight to the discard pile, and this move is called ‘Power double’.

While doubling down, you can keep your original card if it’s forming a 20 or 21.  You can keep any card forming an 18 against the dealer’s 7. However, if these conditions are not met with, you can go for a power double.

You got to remember that this version also has two different sets of rules – Wager Works rules and Vegas rules.

 

Blackjack Cheat Sheet Chart

As you can see in the first chart, you should always double-down (if allowed, else hit) on hard 11 regardless of the dealer's upcard.

When it comes to pairs (see the last chart), always split your 8-8, regardless of the dealer's hand.

You can follow the cheat sheet to improve your game.

Blackjack cheat sheet chart

Blackjack cheat sheet chart

Blackjack cheat sheet chart

 

Blackjack Strategy Conclusion

There is no harm in repeating a statutory warning; hence, follow this strategies or techniques only to improve your game. These strategies don’t ensure a winning in the game of blackjack.

Be wise enough to realise that the casinos also know about these strategies and would have declared them illegal if they made players win every hand.

Now that you are familiar with both the basic and advanced blackjack strategies, practice the moves over and over to master them. We wish you all the best, 21 times.

Blackjack Strategies FAQs

Do these blackjack basic strategies ensure winning?

No Blackjack strategy guarantees a win. These are practices to try and lower the Blackjack house edge and maximise a player’s winning probability.

Is card counting illegal in Blackjack?

In the UK casinos, card counting is NOT illegal. It is not cheating, and just a smart way to leverage your game against the house edge. However, the land-based casinos may not like it, but you can easily count cards in online casinos.

Should I take the ‘Blackjack insurance'?

Blackjack insurance offers a 2:1 payout, which significantly increases the house edge. The player gets to keep half of his initial bets and is advised not to take it.

Should I play multi-deck or single-deck blackjack?

Multi-deck Blackjack offers a 3:2 payout where most of the single-deck Blackjack offers 6:5. Never play at a table that offers 6:5 payouts. Keeping track of the cards in a multi-deck Blackjack is a tad difficult compared to single-deck, but if you are okay with it, multi-decks are no different than the single-decks.

Does the Blackjack chart or Blackjack cheat sheet help?

Well, it does help to understand the basic strategies. However, you must remember that it is not a formula that guarantees a win.

What is your perfect blackjack strategy?

There is no perfect Blackjack strategy. If you want to lower the house edge significantly, you have to employ all sorts of strategies.

How to memorise blackjack strategy?

Go through the cheat sheets and strategy for a couple of hours every day for a few weeks. Also, you need to practice the tricks a lot to master them.

Can I learn the Blackjack advanced strategy and what are blackjack advanced strategies?

Of course! Anyone and everyone can learn the advanced blackjack strategies. There are many strategies like card counting, Martingale Strategy that are considered as advanced strategies.

×

Spin the wheel of fortune!

Canvas not supported, use another browser.
I don't feel lucky