Basic Blackjack Strategy & Tips Guide

Posted by Dave Consolazio . Last updated:

Online blackjack strategy is anything you do to improve your chances of winning. It includes learning as much as possible about blackjack games, learning the best play in every situation, and a wide range of other practices. 

If you plan to become a true student of blackjack, we suggest bookmarking this page because it covers the basics for novice players and advanced blackjack strategies for the more experienced. 

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Basic Blackjack Strategy Knowledge Overview

Basic blackjack strategy is a mathematical determination of the best way to play every hand at the table. Every hand combination is linked directly to a dealer up card and the best decision is based on these player-vs-dealer odds. Our blackjack strategy chart based on initial hand can be found on our basic strategy page.

Many things change the house edge, but playing basic strategy is one of the biggest ones you control when learning how to play blackjack. All good blackjack tips start by combining basic strategy with strong discipline to help reduce the house edge to less than 1%. Players can cut the online casino house edge down to 0.5% by using disciplined strategy. More experienced players and professional card counters start by mastering basic strategy to reduce the edge as low as possible so they can swing the edge in their favor by counting.

You are faced with three decisions major decisions once you receive both your hole cards.

  1. Should you split the cards?
  2. Should you double down on this hand?
  3. Should you hit or stand?

These decisions map your next steps for each hand of blackjack, and all actions should follow basic strategy.

What is Blackjack Basic Strategy Based On?

Basic online blackjack strategy is based on math, namely the statistical analysis of thousands of rounds of blackjack to determine the best possible action to take in a given situation. By using our blackjack strategy charts, you can easily learn what to do when you know your hand and the dealer’s face up card.

Hit stands for hit. We used green for go.

DBL stands for double. We used blue for double.

Stand stands for stand. We used red for stop.

Split stands for split. We used purple for split.

Your Hand                                                   Dealer’s Up Card
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Ace
H 4 Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
H 5 Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
H 6 Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
H 7 Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
H 8 Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
H 9 Hit DBL DBL DBL DBL Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
H 10 Hit DBL DBL DBL DBL DBL DBL DBL Hit Hit
H 11 DBL DBL DBL DBL DBL DBL DBL DBL DBL DBL
H 12 Hit Hit Stand Stand Stand Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
H 13 Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
H 14 Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
H 15 Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
H 16 Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
H 17+ Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand
S 13 Hit Hit Hit DBL DBL Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
S 14 Hit Hit Hit DBL DBL Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
S15 Hit Hit DBL DBL DBL Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
S16 Hit Hit DBL DBL DBL Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
S 17 Hit DBL DBL DBL DBL Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
S 18 DBL DBL DBL DBL DBL Stand Stand Hit Hit Hit
S 19 Stand Stand Stand Stand DBL Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand
S 20+ Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand
2 – 2 Split Split Split Split Split Split Hit Hit Hit Hit
3 – 3 Split Split Split Split Split Split Hit Hit Hit Hit
6 – 6 Split Split Split Split Split Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
7 – 7 Split Split Split Split Split Split Hit Hit Hit Hit
8 – 8 Split Split Split Split Split Split Split Split Split Split
9 – 9 Split Split Split Split Split Stand Split Split Stand Stand
A – A Split Split Split Split Split Split Split Split Split Split

Some blackjack games will also have the surrender rule. This optional rule allows players to forfeit half of their wager after seeing their hand and the dealer’s face-up card. If your hand has a less than 50% chance of winning, you may want to consider surrendering.

As this blackjack betting strategy has been honed by online gambling and blackjack experts over hundreds of thousands of hands, you can trust that this can help you win real money when playing online casino games. In this way, you can avoid making beginner blackjack mistakes and, after playing some free blackjack, start playing at an online casino for real money!

What Are The Most Important Rules in Blackjack Strategy?

white lightblub with a gear inside

Stick to the Charts

These blackjack strategy charts have been honed over many years, through lots of math and too many hands to count.

Although the chart cannot guarantee a win, statistically it will improve your odds and help you rack up wins. Stick to the chart as closely as possible!

white lotus flowe

Keep Calm

Although the blackjack hit chart will help guide you, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll win every round. So it’s important to remain calm if you lose a few hands in a row.

The worst thing you can do is bet emotionally: it’s the fastest way to lose your entire bankroll.

Hand giving free casino chips

Manage Your Bankroll

A casino bankroll management strategy is an essential rule in blackjack. By realistically setting the size of your wagers, you ensure that you can play for longer.

Combining a bankroll management strategy with the basic blackjack guide can really pay dividends at the online casino!

What is the House Edge in Blackjack?

Learning how to win at blackjack means that players must consider the game’s house edge. Blackjack is one of the casino games with the lowest house edge as blackjack basic strategy can help reduce it to as low as 1.5%.

House edge is essentially the advantage that the casino has over the player. Mathematically, it is the average percentage of your wagers that the casino will take over the course of your gameplay. Essentially, it is the opposite of the return to player (RTP) rate of a game.

Using our tips and tricks for blackjack can help you reduce the house edge to as low as 1.5% which ultimately maximizes your potential winnings. So it’s easy to see why you should learn blackjack strategy here at GambleOnline!

Blackjack Gameplay

While mastering the basic blackjack strategy is an invaluable part of learning how to play blackjack, players should also get to know some of the other rules of the game. While the gameplay of blackjack is famously simple to learn, dedicated players will definitely want to understand some of the advanced options available to them.

Read on to learn more about blackjack gameplay, specifically splitting and doubling down.

Splitting Hands

Knowing when to split pairs, and when not to, is one of the ways to reduce the house edge. It is a vital part of basic strategy. Splitting pairs can help turn poor hands into good hands and reduce the negative expectation of other hands.

An example of this is when you have two 8’s and they create the worst possible hard total of 16. However, if you elect to split them you have a chance to draw a face card on each, creating a hard 18. This is extremely valuable when the dealer shows a a 6 (forced hit on 16) or a 7 (forced stay on 17)

Know that by splitting cards, you’ll have to double the size of your original bet to play the two separate hands.

Doubling Down

Doubling down is just as important as splitting pairs, so it’s discussed in depth on its own page as well.

When you double down, you double your original wager to receive one additional card. Common double down situations include when you have a total of 11 or 10. As the dealer’s up card becomes worse your advantage goes up.

An example of this is if the dealer shows a 3 through 6 and you have an 11, 10, or 9 you should double down. This is a profitable situation in the long run so you need to get as much money on the table as possible.

Blackjack Strategy Betting Systems

Similar to roulette online, there are multiple betting systems which can help players learn how to win at blackjack. These systems inform players how to bet but do not guarantee success. Be aware that these betting systems are not suitable for all players or bankrolls, so always gamble responsibly.

Martingale

The Martingale strategy states that players should double their wager after a loss. Theoretically, this should recoup player losses. When you win again, you return to your original wagering amount.

Fibonacci

This system is based upon the famous Fibonacci sequence which can be observed in mathematics, nature, and architecture. In the Fibonacci sequence, each number is the sum of the two numbers to its left: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc.

In this betting system, you progress along the sequence one to the right for every loss. But if you win, keep your wagering amount the same.

Parlay

The parlay betting system uses your winnings to try and gain even more winnings. With every win, you would wager your chosen wagering amount plus your total winnings. When you lose, you only wager your starting wagering amount. This strategy could lead to even bigger wins, but could also see players miss out on potential winnings.

Oscar's Grind

Similar to Martingale, Oscar’s Grind was originally developed for craps online but can equally be used for blackjack. Using Oscar’s Grind, you will double your wager after losses until you reach a profit of one wagering amount. At which point, you return to your original wagering amount. This is a relatively conservative strategy which can help to protect your bankroll.

d'Alembert

The d’Alembert system is similar to Martingale in that you increase your wager after a loss. Unlike Martingale, you do not double your wagers after a loss but simply add an additional wagering amount. So if you wager $10 and lose twice in a row, your third wager would be $30 using d’Alember as opposed to $40 using Martingale. This can help prevent a quick loss of your entire bankroll.

Card Counting Blackjack Strategy

Many players are curious to learn more about card counting. Card counting is a unique blackjack strategy in which players attempt to keep track of which cards have been drawn from the shoe in order to predict which cards remain. It’s an incredibly difficult strategy which requires patience and focus.

While card counting can reduce the house edge even further, land based casinos severely frown upon players card counting. If a casino suspects you of doing so, expect to be asked to leave.

While you can attempt to count cards when playing online, there is no advantage to doing so. Legal online gambling sites utilize random number generator (RNG) technology to randomize the drawing of cards after each round. This means that counting cards cannot help you in any way when playing online.

Changing Your Strategy Based on Number of Decks

Blackjack with a single deck is straightforward. But it also lowers the house edge and is now an endangered species in casinos.

The more decks of cards the dealer gets to work with, the better the odds they hit 20 or blackjack off the jump. This is why when you find a single-deck game, it typically pays out a little less. The house’s edge gets watered down with fewer face cards and aces in the shoe. Multiple deck blackjack is where a card counting strategy is a valuable resource in slicing the house’s edge. More decks also discourages card-counters, because the math is both more difficult and less likely to lead to a significant player advantage.

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Multiple Deck Shoes are Common

Players will rarely find a single-deck blackjack table in a casino nowadays. And while multiple deck shoes increase the house edge, they barely affect strategy. Because the player is still playing their hand against the dealer’s, the number of decks has little impact on the math.

a bag of cash with an X in the center

Single Deck Tables Offer Worse Rules

If you are able to stumble across a single-deck blackjack table, you will almost definitely find it has drawbacks for the player. Blackjack will payout at 6:5 or lower instead of the customary 3:2 and there also may be other ways the casino boosts its edge through rules about splitting and doubling down.

green counting abacus icon

Card Counting is Less Effective at Multi-Deck Tables

Card counters like single deck tables because the odds can swing in the player’s favor. From multi-deck shoes, the card count rarely reaches levels where counting can be extremely popular.

two green playing cards with a hand pressing a button

Online Blackjack Uses RNG

When playing online blackjack, be sure to research your casino’s shuffling policy. If they are using random number generators (RNG) to effectively “shuffle” all the decks in the shoe after each hand, there is no way to effectively count cards or receive and edge from fewer decks.

Perfect Blackjack Strategy

All blackjack players are aiming for blackjack perfect strategy. While there is unfortunately no perfect blackjack strategy which guarantees wins, you can increase your chances by understanding basic strategy which can further reduce the house edge.

Blackjack Strategy FAQs

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