BlackJack – Basic Strategy

Before attempting to use any of our blackjack strategies, you should have an understanding of the game itself. It is recommended that you are very familiar with the rules, and at least understand the basic. All of this information can be found in the rules section of the site.

The strategy itself is fairly basic, it involves the use a chart which indicates how to play certain hands, including “hard” hands, “soft” hands, and pairs, based what the dealer has by taking into consideration the card that is showing. Simply by following these diagrams loyally, players are able to reduce the house’s advantage from 8.9% to a half of a percentage. This basic strategy has helped thousands of players across millions of hands.


How to Use It

In order to get as much out of this strategy as possible it must be used consistently and correctly. The choices that this strategy indicates have been mathematically shown to be the best out of all possible alternatives, any deviation from the chart will, over time, decrease your winnings even if, in special occasions when a decision against the chart works out for the better.

Consistency is vital to this strategy as it is based entirely on odds and probabilities. It does not guarantee that the player will win every time. There are going to be times where following the strategy seem to produce consistent losses. For example if you stand on 15 against a dealer’s 4 and get beaten three times in a row, it may be appealing to dismiss the chart as nonsense. Examples like this will, in reality occur, simply due to how odds work. Over a span of time, it will bear itself out. If you stick on a 15 against a dealer’s 4 a thousand times, you will be victorious over more hands than you are not. Too many players desert this strategy, either in whole or in just in part, due to an unlikely sequence of events in the short term, and as a result end up losing more in the long term.

Correct usage is essential. For this, there are only two basic things to remember:

  1. Make sure the chart matches the version of blackjack you’re playing. The chart is designed from an eight-deck game in which the dealer stands on 17. If you apply it to a single-deck game in which the dealer hits a soft 17, it will not be as effective.
  2. Use the chart for the whole hand. A common fallacy is that this strategy tells you what to do for your initial hit, and after that it’s up to you, this is not the case. Every choice should be consulted against the chart. If you’re dealt a 13 against a dealer’s eight, the chart indicates to hit. If you get a two, you’ve a 15 against the same eight. Check the chart again! You’re supposed to stick fifteen against an eight. Follow the chart until play is finished, when you stand, double, or surrender the hand.

Some casinos do not permit players to carry a chart to the table, you’ll need to memorize the chart, and this is simple enough, it will happen naturally over time by practicing.


Using the chart

The numbers displayed across the top represent the Dealer’s up-card, and the player’s hand is shown down the side. The decision you should choose is found where the row and column intersect.

Decisions are represented letters – “H” for hit, “S” for stand, “DD” for double down, “P” for split, and “R” for surrender.

–          H/P means split if you are permitted to double down afterwards, if not then you should hit.

–          H/R means surrender if the casino you are playing at allows you to do so, if not then hit.

Basic Strategy