Basic Blackjack Strategy

It is very daunting to read through the complex grids and tables that experts in Blackjack post online telling players what to do when the dealer has certain values in his cards and when you as a player should stand, hit or surrender.

It is a good idea to follow the basic tips below about strategy and build on your game over time, adding to your knowledge gradually so that confusion doesn’t become the name of your game rather than entertainment and relaxation.

There are many types of Blackjack game variants and most have been described on this website and more will be added as new variants appear as they always do in this much loved game.

There are four ‘Musts’ in Blackjack for players who want to play well:

  • You must always split a pair of Aces into two separate hands.
  • You must always split a pair of eights into two separate hands.
  • When you have 17 and upwards of 17 you must always Stand.
  • When you have 11 you must always Double your bet.

 

Make sure to read: When to Surrender?

 

Hard and Soft hands

There are two types of hands in Blackjack commonly termed the ‘Hard Hand’ where there is no Ace card in the first two cards dealt to the player and the ‘Soft hand’ where the player is dealt an Ace when the initial two cards are dealt. An Ace can count as a 1 or as an 11 making the hand flexible or ‘soft’.

Playing a Soft hand needs a different strategy to playing a hard hand and there are some basic strategic tips to apply in each case. Whilst they are not a guarantee to winning a hand they do form a general guide which you can follow increasing the probability of success greatly.

 

Soft Hand Tips

Double (double your bet) where you have A 2 or A 3 where the dealer is showing 5 or 6. Otherwise hit (ask for another card).

Double where you have A 4 or A 5 where the dealer has 4, 5 or 6. Otherwise Hit.

Double where you have A 6 and the dealer is showing a 3, 4, 5, or 6. Otherwise Hit.

Stand (do not ask for another card) if you have A 7 and the dealer has 2, 7, or 8. If the dealer has 3, 4, 5 or 6 double your wager. Otherwise hit.

Always Stand when you have A 8 and A 9.

 

Hard Hand Tips

Always Hit with 8 or less.

Double if you have a 9 and the dealer has 3, 4, 5 or 6. Otherwise Hit.

Double if you have a 10 and the dealer has 2 through to 9. Otherwise hit.

Double if you have an 11 and the dealer has 2 through to 10. Hit if the dealer shows an Ace.

Hit if you have 12 and the dealer has a 2 or 3 but if he has 4, 5 or 6 you should Stand. Otherwise Hit.

If you have 13, 14, 15 or 16 stand where the dealer shows 2 through to 6 otherwise Hit.

Always stand where you have 17 through to 21.

 

Playing With Pairs of Cards of the Same Value

Always Split when you have pairs of Aces or 8s.

When you have pairs of 2s or 3s Split when the dealer shows 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7. Otherwise Hit.

When you have a pair of 4s Split if the dealer shows 4 or 5. Otherwise Hit.

When you have a pair of 5s, Double if the dealer has 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9. Otherwise Hit.

When you have a pair of 6s, Split when the dealer shows 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6. Otherwise Hit.

When you have a pair of 7s, Split when the dealer has 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7. Otherwise Hit.

When you have a pair of 9s, Split when the dealer shows 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 8 and 9. If the dealer shows a 7, 10 or Ace you should Stand.

When you have a pair of 10s always Stand.