Basic Blackjack Strategy

The classic game of blackjack has been a favorite for its fun energy and simple rules. All you need to do is to beat the dealer by holding a hand that is closest to 21 without going over. One of the biggest advantages in this game is that, no matter how many players crowd around the table to play, you must only beat the dealer’s hand.

To count your cards’ points is very easy. The Ace is a special card that gives you some great options since it is worth 1 or 11 points. 10, Jack, Queen and King are worth 10 points each. The point cards 2-9 are worth their face value. The dealer deals you two cards and you add them up to work towards your 21 point goal. After you have seen you’re your initial two card deal, you can decide if you want a third card.

The potential for the third card “hit” beckons for at least a basic blackjack strategy. Blackjack is special because there are many times that you can watch what cards pass through the dealer’s shoe. If cards are revealed, there are many players that develop strategies to use the knowledge of already played cards in their decision making. If you don’t know which cards have been shown since the last shuffle, then you can follow a basic blackjack strategy.

If you use the Ace as a 1, then you are holding a “hard” total, and use it as an 11 and you have a “soft” total. It makes sense, right? Take an Ace and 5, for example. This is a soft 15 and you should take a hit since if you “change” that Ace back into a 1 point card if you go over 21 with the third card. Count your two cards that are face-down, and consider the dealer cards. The dealer will have one card face-down and one up-card. This up-card is your main clue. If you have a total of 17-20 then you should always stay.

Handy dandy charts that clearly detail the best time to hit, stay, split and double are easily accessible. When you follow the basic blackjack strategy, you will have a great outcome in the long run. The lesson to learn when playing a game like blackjack is that a consistent strategy is successful in the long run. There is no MIT degree required to play this game when you play with a disciplined strategy.

Your hand Dealer’s face-up card
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
Hard totals (excluding pairs)
17-20 S S S S S S S S S S
16 S S S S S H H SU SU SU
15 S S S S S H H H SU H
13-14 S S S S S H H H H H
12 H H S S S H H H H H
11 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh H
10 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh H H
9 H Dh Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
5-8 H H H H H H H H H H
Soft totals
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
A,8 A,9 S S S S S S S S S S
A,7 S Ds Ds Ds Ds S S H H H
A,6 H Dh Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
A,4 A,5 H H Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
A,2 A,3 H H H Dh Dh H H H H H
Pairs
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
A,A SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP
10,10 S S S S S S S S S S
9,9 SP SP SP SP SP S SP SP S S
8,8 SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP
7,7 SP SP SP SP SP SP H H H H
6,6 SP SP SP SP SP H H H H H
5,5 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh H H
4,4 H H H SP SP H H H H H
2,2 3,3 SP SP SP SP SP SP H H H H

Key:

S = Stand
H = Hit
Dh = Double (if not allowed, then hit)
Ds = Double (if not allowed, then stand)
SP = Split
SU = Surrender (if not allowed, then hit except stand on 16v10 if not first two cards.)