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Importance Of Basic Blackjack Strategy

 blackjack is a card game where you win by getting a score of 21

Blackjack gives you the best chance of winning of any casino game, with the house usually holding an edge of just 1%. Use the right approach, employ a blackjack strategy, and you might just improve your chances further. From a basic overview all the way to the key terms, we’ve explained what you need to know about winning at blackjack. 

Basic Blackjack Strategy Overview

Blackjack is a simple game at its core – either hit a total of 21 or get as close to it as possible before you go bust. Employing a basic blackjack strategy is about taking actions that give you the best outcome based on the value of your cards and the dealer’s up-card (the one that is visible). For every scenario you find yourself in there is one action you can take which will improve your chances of landing the best total.

Using a basic blackjack strategy tells you when you can or should:

  • Surrender

  • Split 

  • Double 

  • Hit or stand 

The goal of using this approach when playing blackjack is to give you the best possible return for your money, while reducing the risk of going bust to the dealer. 

Blackjack Basic Strategy Chart

There are a number of different approaches to using a basic blackjack strategy, with some aimed at hard totals and others at soft totals (a blackjack hand classified as ‘hard’ is any two-card total that does not include an ace), while there are also examples that cover pair splitting. 

Using a blackjack basic strategy chart is a great way of helping you memorise the different ways of getting the best return on your total, as you can see from the video below:  


 

Strategies For When Multiple Decks Of Cards Are In Play

Blackjack is played with one or more decks of cards. When four-plus decks are used it’s known as multi-deck and this changes the basic strategy you need to use to win at blackjack. The video below explains how you can win at multi-deck blackjack, and how you can do so without counting cards: 



Blackjack Surrender Strategy

When playing blackjack, if you think your first two cards are not good enough for you to win you can surrender your hand to the dealer. Surrendering means that you lose half of the amount you wagered, with the dealer collecting your cards.

While using a surrender strategy in blackjack will lose you 50% of your money, there are times when it’s a sensible approach to take – For example, when your odds of winning are less than 1 in 2. There are two rules to the blackjack surrender strategy:

  • Surrender a hard 15 if the dealer has a 10 upcard 

  • Surrender a hard 16 (do not give-up an 8-8 because this is a soft 16) if the dealer has an Ace upcard, 10, or 9

Strategies For Splitting Pairs

When you are dealt a pair in blackjack you are given the option of splitting them into two new hands. In this scenario, the dealer will give you two additional cards (one for each of the split cards), doubling your bet, and giving you twice the odds of beating the dealer.

Splitting pairs in blackjack is a sensible strategy that can improve your chances of winning, so long as you do so at the correct time(s). This depends on the number of decks that are in play, what the dealer’s up-card is, the pair you have been dealt, and the rules of the game. However, there are some situations where you should either always or never split your pair: 

  • Always split a pair of eights 

  • Always split a pair of aces

  • Never split a pair of fives 

  • Never split a pair of fours 

Check out the video underneath for a more detailed run-through of strategies for splitting pairs in blackjack:  



Strategies For Insurance 

Blackjack is when you or the dealer gets 21 points from the first two cards dealt and insurance is a strategy that allows you to bet on the chance of the dealer reaching this outcome. 

Once all the initial cards have been dealt, if the dealer’s upcard is an ace you are given the option of making an insurance bet. Independent of your original wager, the insurance bet pays out at odds of 2 to 1 and must be half of the amount of your first bet. The strategy you use for insurance betting in blackjack depends on the type of player you are: 

  • If you play on gut instinct then take insurance when the dealer is on a hot run 

  • If you play on reason then take insurance when the dealer is certain to hit a ten

**Neither of the above blackjack strategies are based on anything other than pure chance – for example, the dealer is never certain to hit a ten unless they are cheating**

Insurance is one of the most controversial strategies in blackjack because many gamblers believe the odds of it paying out are low – and they’re right, as the dealer will have blackjack less than 33% of the time. 

Strategies For Doubling Down

Doubling down is one of the most enticing strategies in blackjack because, in exchange for receiving one more card, it lets you double your bet in the middle of a hand.

While the reward of doubling down is that you can make more money, the risk is that you can go bust and experience a heavier loss. This means it’s essential that you use the doubling down strategy at the right times. 

Double down if you have a hard 9 and the dealer has low cards

If your hand totals nine and the dealer’s up card is between 2 and 6, then it’s a good time to double down. 

Double down if you have a soft 16-18 and the dealer has low cards

If you reach a soft total of 16-18 with an ace and one of 6, 7, or 8, and the dealer has a low up card, then you are in a fine position to double down. 

Double down if you have a hard 10 or 11 and the dealer has low cards

If you make either a hard 10 or hard 11 (reaching either of those totals from two cards and without having an ace) and the dealer’s up card is low, then you can double down. 

Strategies For Side Bets

A side bet is when you make another wager alongside your main bet at the start of a round of betting. The benefit of placing a side bet is that you can get a bigger payout than many of the standard bets; the drawback is that the bets often don’t come through. 

There are plenty of different types of side bets you can make and one of the basics of your blackjack strategy is to familiarise yourself with them, before deciding which (if any) to place.

Blackjack Strategy Basics: Insurance 

  • Insurance: Betting that the dealer has blackjack 

Blackjack Strategy Basics: Side Bet Pairs 

  • Perfect pair: A pair of cards of the same suit 

  • Coloured pair: A pair of the same colour 

  • Mixed pair: A pair of two different colours 

Blackjack Strategy Basics: Classic Hands

  • Three of a kind: Your two cards and the dealer’s up card are the same rank (i.e. three 5s)

  • Suited three of a kind: Three cards of the same rank and suit (i.e. three 7 of spades)

  • Flush: Three cards of the same suit 

  • Straight flush: Three cards of the same suit in numerical order (i.e. 2, 3, 4)

  • Straight: Three cards in numerical order (i.e. 5, 6, 7)

Overview Of Key Phrases

There are lots of key phrases that you need to know to boost your chances of success when using a basic blackjack strategy. Below we’ve listed the most important ones:  

  • Blackjack: A score of 21 

  • Hit: Ask for another card 

  • Stand: Stick with your total 

  • Blackjack basic strategy chart: A chart that explains blackjack basic strategy

  • Surrender: Give up your hand to the dealer  

  • Splitting pairs: Split your initial pair of cards into two new hands 

  • Insurance: Betting on the dealer getting a blackjack 

  • Doubling down: Double your bet and get dealt another card 

  • Side bet: A bet in addition to your initial wager: 

  • Multi decks: Blackjack played with four or more decks of cards 

FAQs

What Is The Basic Strategy For Winning At Blackjack? 

The basic strategy for winning at blackjack is about taking pre-set actions that give you the best chance of winning based on the total value of your hand. 

Is There A Best Strategy To Winning Blackjack?

Blackjack has a number of different strategies for winning and the best one depends on the type of gambler you are – cautious or aggressive. The basic blackjack strategy is the best way of winning in the long run, as it determines the best outcome based upon the overall value of your hand. 

What Casino Game Do I Have The Best Chance Of Winning?

Of all the many different casino games, blackjack has the highest chance of you winning. The house edge in blackjack is often around 1.5%, whereas it’s 5% in Caribbean stud poker, 2.5% in roulette, and 2% in slots. This makes blackjack more competitive than most casino games.