Blackjack Basic Strategy

Blackjack Basic Strategy shows you the right move in every possible scenario on the blackjack table. It’s the perfect strategy to maximize your odds, and it doesn’t need to be taught, mastered, or even practiced.

All you need to do is refer to the chart during gameplay. You can put the chart on a different screen, or you can refer to a printable strategy chart from the palm of your hand.

We offer basic strategy charts for single deck and 4-8 deck blackjack tables.

What is Basic Strategy and Why It Works?

Basic strategy is a mathematically calculated rule set that gives you the right move in every scenario. The move you must make depends on your hand, and the dealer’s up card. The cards of different players sitting at the table are irrelevant.

There is no secret to blackjack basic strategy. Unlike most other strategies, you don’t need to memorize anything or practice the strategy to become better. In fact, you don’t even need to think.

Blackjack basic strategy doesn’t increase the game’s RTP. It rather ensures you always make the best possible, mathematically calculated move, with the highest chance of winning.

Therefore, many land casinos hand out blackjack basic strategy cards for free to all players. Even in some US online casinos, you will find guides, tips, and full-blown strategy charts at your disposal.

The downside is that by following a chart, much of the entertainment value is reduced. You are essentially automating the playing process by simply following what the chart tells you to do.

4 to 8 Deck Basic Strategy

Most online blackjack games use between 4-8 decks, and especially live blackjack tables typically found at US casinos. Therefore, this will be your default go-to strategy chart for most games you decide to play.

To apply basic strategy, have a look at your hand, the dealer’s up card, and make the appropriate decision as outlined in the chart.

single deck blackjack basic strategy dealer hits on soft 17

Single Deck Blackjack Basic Strategy Chart

A single deck game can offer a higher house edge, but not always. The single deck factor reduces the house edge by a significant margin. However, casinos compensate for this by altering different game rules, to balance out the odds.

Single deck blackjack also makes it easier to count cards, so you may find it preferable as a beginner to card counting – a strategy which goes hand in hand with blackjack basic strategy. Keep in mind, single deck blackjack variants are not available at live blackjack casinos.

To apply basic strategy, have a look at your hand, the dealer’s up card, and make the appropriate decision as outlined in the chart.

Simplified Basic Strategy

If you want to follow basic strategy without reading a chart, you can memorize these simple sets of rules. These rules won’t maximize your odds in the same way following a basic blackjack strategy chart would, but they will improve your chances, nonetheless.

Learn when to hit, stand, double down or surrender. These rules are easy to memorize and will become second nature with little playing experience.

When to Surrender?

Surrender is almost never an option, and generally only applicable in two scenarios.

  • Surrender hard 16, only vs a dealer’s 9, 10 or A
  • Don’t surrender hard 16 comprised of two 8’s
  • Surrender hard 15 vs dealer’s 10

When to Split?

Basic strategy advises to split in almost every scenario, expect for 5’s and 10’s. This is why all tables that allow splitting and re-splitting, especially Aces, have a higher RTP.

  • Split A’s and 8’s
  • Split 2’s and 3’s vs dealer’s 4-7
  • Split 4’s vs dealer’s 5-6
  • Split 6’s vs dealer’s 3-6
  • Split 7’s vs dealer’s 2-7
  • Split 9’s vs dealer’s 2-6 and 8-9
  • Don’t split 5’s and 10’s

Why You Shouldn’t Split 10’s

It can seem counter-intuitive not to split 10’s, since this move can lead to two building blocks for a favorable hand. However, two 10’s equals a hand count of 20, in a game where the objective is to get to 21 as close as possible. It’s the second-best hand you could possibly get, and splitting would only ruin it.

When to Double Down?

Double down can be a powerful move in the right moment, especially if you are good at blackjack card counting. These basic rules let you know when’s the best time to double down and require only memorization.

  • Double down hard 9 vs dealer’s 3-6
  • Double down hard 10, but not vs dealer’s 10 and A
  • Double down hard 11, but not vs dealer’s A
  • Double down soft 13 and 14 vs dealer’s 5-6
  • Double down soft 15 and 16 vs dealer’s 4-6
  • Double down soft 17 and 18 vs dealer’s 3-6

When to Hit or Stand?

This is the essential question in every blackjack game round. The answer is almost never simple, which is why there are very few scenarios in which you should always hit or always stand.

  • Always hit hard 11 or lower
  • Always hit soft 17 or lower
  • Always stand on hard 17 or higher
  • Always stand on soft 19 or higher
  • Stand on hard 12 vs dealer’s 4-6
  • Stand on hard 13-16 vs dealer’s 2-6
  • Stand on soft 18, but hit if dealer has 9, 10 and A

More Blackjack Resources

Explore more blackjack resources. If you’re a beginner, learn how to play the game from scratch, or discover the types of online blackjack and live dealer blackjack. As an experienced player, we guide you to basic and complex systems of card counting, through which you can turn the house edge in your favor.

Conclusion

Blackjack basic strategy is the bible of every serious blackjack player. We don’t recommend trying to memorize entire charts.

Open the chart on another screen, which can be a second monitor, your phone, or print it on a piece of paper. Then, you will know you’re always making the right move with the best odds of winnings.

Blackjack basic strategy is not a magic trick, it doesn’t increase the RTP, or provide an edge over the house. It rather ensures you use your real money to its full potential. The downside is that it automates your moves because you are always following what the chart says. It’s not as fun as simply playing and following your gut feeling, but then again this depends on the type of player you are.

FAQs

Basic strategy is a set of mathematically calculated moves that show you the right play in every possible scenario on the blackjack table. The blackjack basic strategy is presented on a chart which instructs you whether you should, hit, stand, split, double down or surrender, depending on your cards and the dealer’s up card.

Yes, you can win with basic strategy, but basic strategy does not increase your odds. The table RTP is always the same, but if you don’t follow basic strategy the real RTP would be lower for you, because you will inevitable make some wrong moves. Basic strategy ensures you always make the right move with the best odds of winning.

Basic strategy is the most effective blackjack strategy out there. It’s not a strategy that can give you an edge over the house. It ensures you always have the best shot at winning by making the mathematically correct play in every possible scenario.

You use basic strategy in blackjack by referring to a basic strategy chart while playing. You can print your chart on a piece of paper, open it on your phone while playing, a second screen, and so forth. The strategy chart shows you the right move to make depending on your hand and the dealer’s up card.

Basic strategy doesn’t change the odds, but it gives you the best odds of winning. If you were playing randomly, you would have much lower odds. Blackjack basic strategy ensures you make the best possible, mathematically calculated move, regardless of your cards and the dealer’s up card. It doesn’t mean you will always win, but it means you’re always making the correct play.

There are many scenarios when you should not hit in blackjack, which entirely depends on your hand and the dealer’s up card. Basic strategy tells you exactly when to hit, stand, double down, split or surrender.

Basic strategy was created by Roger Baldwin, James McDermott, Herbet Maisel and Wilbert Cantey, who are known as the Four Horsemen of Aberdeen. They created the original basic strategy in 1957.