Basic Strategy is the name given to the best way to play each blackjack hand, whether it be hit, stand, split, double down or surrender.

It is the starting point of becoming a better blackjack player and therefore it is crucial that every play be committed to memory. before you carry on however, make sure you read our how to play blackjack page first.

Memorise the strategy chart below in order to learn the best way to play each hand. It is as simple as that!

Basic Strategy Chart

blackjack basic strategy chart

Whether you are playing blackjack online or blackjack at a land based casino, learning blackjack basic strategy and executing it correctly will enable you to playing at roughly at even with the casino. In order to beat the casino you will also need to learn card counting, however let’s take this one step at a time. Once you know basic strategy you can move on to learn card counting in blackjack as card counting cannot be implemented without prior knowledge of basic strategy.

Let’s go over a few examples:

Doubling Hands – Especially on 9, 10 and 11

These are the three best starting totals you can have and hence you want to make the most of them by doubling your original wager (in most situations) because you will likely end up with a total of 19, 20 or 21.

Player 10 (5 and 5) vs Dealer 4 – Double Down
Player 11 (7 and 4) vs Dealer 5 – Double Down

Player 12 Against Dealer 2 or 3 – HIT

This is a tricky one because some players like to hit and some like to stand.

Players like to stand in these situations because the dealer has to hit at least two more times and therefore is more likely to go onto bust.

However, basic strategy states to hit because statistically you will win more times than you will lose than if you were to stand. It’s best to be the aggressor.

With all other player hard hands above a total of 12 it is advised to stand.

Player 12 (Q and 2) vs Dealer 2 – Hit

The Importance of Doubling on some Soft Hands

The advantage of a soft hand is that when you hit or take another card you cannot bust because the ace counts as a “1” or “11” depending which is more favourable.

Player Soft 17 (A and 6) vs Dealer 6 – Double Down

Splitting Pairs

Splitting pairs in some situations is advantageous. For example splitting 2’s against a dealer 5 is the correct statistcal play to make, because a 5 card is one of the worst cards for the dealer and therefore it’s important to take advantage of this situation.

Player 4 (2 and 2) vs Dealer 5 – Split

Another advantagious split situtaion is when the player has two 9’s and the dealer has an 8. The reason for this is because 9 is greather than 8 and because there are more 10 value cards in the decks than any other, you are more likely to have two totals of 19 against a possible dealer total of 18.

Player 99 vs Dealer 8

Another good situation to split your cards is when you are dealt aces. Aces should be split against every dealer card except for a dealer ace.

Player A and A vs Dealer 10 – Split

When to Stand?

It is advisable to stand when the dealer has a greater chance of busting. Remember the dealer has to stand on totals of 17 and above, so if the first card a dealer is dealt is 6 or below that means the dealer has to pull at least 2 more cards (except for an ace) and this means the dealer is more likely to bust as there are more high value cards in the shoe.

Player hands of 13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20 it is advised to stand against a dealer hand value of 6 and below.

Player 15 (Jack 5) vs Dealer 6 – Stand

Hitting on Soft 17

Hitting soft 17 against a dealer 8, 9, 10 or Ace is a must play because you have to assume the dealer will pull a 10 card to make either 18, 19, 20 or 21 which beats 17. A soft hand means you have a free chance of improving knowing that you cannot bust, therefore you should take that opportunity to try and improve.

Player soft 17 (ace and 6) vs Dealer K

Hitting 16 against Dealer 9

It is important to hit 16 against a dealer card of 7 and above.

Player 16 (10 and 6) vs Dealer 9

Thats the basics covered! You can now play blackjack at almost even with the casinos. If you would like to take you knowledge one step futher and have the upper hand visit our blackjack card counting page.