Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine

Hard Totals

 YourHand Dealer 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T A Hard 5 H H H H H H H H H H Hard 6 H H H H H H H H H H Hard 7 H H H H H H H H H H Hard 8 H H H H H H H H H H Hard 9 H D D D D H H H H H Hard 10 D D D D D D D D H H Hard 11 D D D D D D D D D D Hard 12 H H S S S H H H H H Hard 13 S S S S S H H H H H Hard 14 S S S S S H H H H H Hard 15 S S S S S H H H H H Hard 16 S S S S S H H H H H Hard 17 S S S S S S S S S S Hard 18+ S S S S S S S S S S

Soft Totals

 YourHand Dealer 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T A Ace + 2 H H H D D H H H H H Ace + 3 H H H D D H H H H H Ace + 4 H H D D D H H H H H Ace + 5 H H D D D H H H H H Ace + 6 H D D D D H H H H H Ace + 7 DS DS DS DS DS S S H H H Ace + 8 S S S S DS S S S S S Ace + 9 S S S S S S S S S S

Pairs

 YourHand Dealer 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T A (2,2) P P P P P P H H H H (3,3) P P P P P P H H H H (4,4) H H H P P H H H H H (5,5) D D D D D D D D H H (6,6) P P P P P H H H H H (7,7) P P P P P P H H H H (8,8) P P P P P P P P P P (9,9) P P P P P S P P S S (T,T) S S S S S S S S S S (A,A) P P P P P P P P P P
Key:
H
Hit
S
Stand
P
Split
D
Double (Hit if not allowed)
DS
Double (Stand if not allowed)

What is Basic Strategy?

Looking for a way to cut the casino’s edge down to a marginal amount? Basic strategy is a mathematically calculated set of decisions that can help you win more at blackjack. The Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine above provides a simple way to memorize a variety of different profitable decisions, such as when to split, double, surrender, hit, or stand.

A standard basic strategy chart can only provide you with the strategy for one set of rules, such as dealer hits on soft 17, limiting your mastery to just one game. Our Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine allows you to quickly adjust the rules with the click of a button, calculating the optimal strategy for your selected game. The engine’s easy-to-read charts detail the strategy for all hard totals, soft totals, and pairs.

The engine allows you to instantly customize your strategy based on rules like surrender, double on 9, 10, or 11 only, dealer hole card styles, and any number of decks. This unique system is an incredible resource for any serious blackjack player who needs to calculate the strategy for any game they encounter.

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The Limitations of Basic Strategy

Basic strategy will never be enough to beat the game in the long-term. Sure, you’ll definitely be able to win more frequently, keep your money longer, and go on a few free vacations using casino comps, but you’ll never make money over thousands of hours of play. For that, you’ll need to learn to count cards and utilize strategy deviations to beat the house edge. If you’re just looking to have fun and make your money last much longer, basic strategy will do the trick.

How to Get Started

So you want to learn basic strategy so that you can get an edge up on the tables, but you’re not sure to begin. Once you’ve used the Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine to select the game you’ll play most frequently, you may be tempted to dive right into memorization, but a bit of background knowledge can help you understand the concepts behind the strategy. Let’s explore a few rules that will help you along the way.

You Have an Array of Actions at your Disposal

There’s more to blackjack than just hitting or standing, and those extra decisions will determine whether you’re a big winner or a big loser. Your extra options are to surrender, split, or double, and their availability is determined by the rules of your game of blackjack. Also, keep in mind that even in the same casino, different tables can have different rules, so make sure to check the felt or ask the dealer about each table’s rules. Never play 6:5 blackjack, and try to play S17 if it is available.  Read our rules page if you need a refresher course on what each action does.

When Can I Surrender?

Surrender is a rule that is becoming offered less frequently, as it is beneficial to the player. To find out if it is available at your table, you can ask your dealer or look for a sign located on the table. Before you take any other action, you should see if basic strategy recommends surrendering.

When Can I Split?

Splitting comes into play when you have an equal pair in your hand—for example, two 8s, two 7s, or a jack and a queen. When you find yourself with a pair, you should check your basic strategy card to see if splitting is advantageous.

When Can I Double?

You can double on any first two cards. Generally, you will want to double when a 10 card would be beneficial to you (with a hard 11 or hard 10, for example), or when the dealer has a card with a higher than normal possibility of busting, like a 5 or a 6.

When Should I Hit or Stand

These two actions will make up the majority of your decision making. Learning when to hit or stand in every scenario is the crux of basic strategy. By memorizing basic strategy, you’re memorizing the optimal, most bang-for-your-buck action with any two given cards against any dealer up card.

How to Memorize Basic Strategy

It may feel overwhelming to tackle every different combination of starting cards with basic strategy, but luckily there are a lot of rules of thumb that can help simplify the process. Here are some of the most important, effective, and easy to remember strategies to help you on your road to playing solid blackjack.

Surrendering

Surrender 16 against 9 through Ace.

Surrender 15 against a 10 only (Unless using H17 rules, then you Surrender against Ace)

Splitting

Always Split Aces

Never Split Faces (10 value cards)

Always Split 8s (Unless using H17 rules, then you Surrender against an Ace)

Never Split 5s

Split a pair of 9s against a dealer 2 through 9, except a dealer 7 (since your 18 beats their 17)

Split a pair of 7s against a dealer 2 through 7, hit anything else.

Split a pair of 6s against a dealer 2 through 6, hit anything else.

Split a pair of 4s against a dealer 5 or 6 when you can double afterward, otherwise hit.

Split a pair of 3s against a dealer 2 through 7, hit anything else.

Split a pair of 2s against a dealer 2 through 7, hit anything else.

Doubling

Double an 11 against everything except an Ace (Also double against Ace if playing H17 Rules)

Double a 10 against everything except a 10 or Ace

Double a hard 9 against a dealer 3 through 6.

Never double a hard 8.

Double a soft 13 or 14 against a dealer 5 or 6.

Double a soft 15 or 16 against a dealer 4 through 6.

Double a soft 17 or 18 against a dealer 3 through 6.

Double a soft 19 against a dealer 6 if using H17 rules.

Hitting and Standing

Stand on 17 and up

Stand on a 13, 14, 15, or 16 against a 2 through 6, hit against any other card

Stand on a 12 against a dealer 4 through 6, hit against any other card.

Always hit anything under soft 17.

Stand on soft 19 and up.

What’s Next?

You should study the above information in conjunction with our Blackjack Basic Strategy Engine while you practice playing blackjack. You aren’t ready to play in a casino yet, not by a longshot. Even if you’ve played before and done well, you shouldn’t go back until you know basic strategy like the back of your hand.

The best way to practice is to utilize software like our Blackjack Trainer or Casino Vérité Blackjack to enhance your skills and figure out what areas you’re struggling in, like surrendering or playing soft hands. Once you can play error free through a wide range of scenarios, you are ready to practice in a casino environment.

Remember, it can be a more difficult to remember perfect basic strategy when a waitress is yelling out drink orders, a pit boss is asking for your card, and players are trying to make conversation, so don’t go to the casino until you’re truly ready. Don’t ask other players for advice, either. They deliberately go against basic strategy when the math doesn’t mesh with their superstitions about the flow of the cards, and they’ll often tell you how crazy you are to hit a soft 18 against a dealer 9 or 10.

Other Tools to Help with Basic Strategy

• Blackjack Strategy Trainer – Our original blackjack trainer is an interactive coaching tool that provides advice if you have make the correct decision or not.  We also have a mobile friendly version of it here.
• Blackjack Quiz – A set of 20 questions to determine if you really know basic strategy.
• Phyiscal Strategy Charts – You can also purchase a physical wallet-sized plastic version of the strategy charts here.
• Casino Vérité Blackjack – A comprehensive tool for testing your knowledge of blackjack strategy.  Our review of this software can be found here.

Inline Feedbacks
Jee
11 days ago

Thanks for this! If the house uses a variation of the peek/no peek, which strategy should I use? The variation is that if the house draws a 10, it does not peek, but will PAY BACK players’ double downs if the house draws blackjack. So if I had 11, I would double down, but are there other considerations?

Last edited 11 days ago by Jee
Mark
9 months ago

What is the mechanism for constructing this table? very interesting how it works from the point of view of mathematics

Kay
2 years ago

If dealer has 5 and I have 4 do I stay or hit?

LV Bear
2 years ago

If the 4 is made up of a pair of 2’s, split. If the “4” is made up of an Ace and a 3, then double down. This is stated in the charts. Never stay on a 4.

John
2 years ago

In splitting Aces are you not looking for a push at a minimum or better? And why always split 8’s? What is the basis/expectation for doing so against the Dealer up card Ace

Patrick Dunn
2 years ago

Basic strategy is what it implies “basic”! I would never put money down if I only knew the basics. Card counting is blackjack “201” (basic strategy is blackjack 101). You still are not a professional. Understand ” variation” and “true count” only then (once you mastered it) can you call yourself a professional! When you are hitting hard 17 and getting 4’s or when you are betting insurance and banking on it…you know you are a pro! Don’t care what the others around you say. You know more than they do!

Steve Pohlsander
3 years ago

Is it better to play at a table with other players or be the only person

LV Bear
3 years ago

Other people slow the game down and waste good cards in positive counts. Most serious players prefer to play alone if possible.

M- Dog
3 years ago

What are the thoughts on video BJ? Game King or the one with the almost lifelike dealer? Are these truly random or manipulated?

Hull
3 years ago

Is it still true to split AA when we can get only one card after AA split.

Patrick Dunn
2 years ago

Not always. When the count is negative at the end of the deck don’t split. If the dealer is showing a 10 or ace and the count is also negative don’t split. Just hit! the chances of getting 19 or higher are good

Patrick
3 years ago

Why is it that the fewer the decks the lower the edge for the house.

Hull
3 years ago

The less card deck number,The more accurately we can guess.

Larry
3 years ago

What is the basic strategy for soft totals with 3 or more cards?

Pablo
4 years ago

why do I double with 11 against A?

Editor
4 years ago

It is part of basic strategy, which is the fundamental playing decisions made by a player when determining the proper play to make given the player’s cards. Basic strategy is not based upon the count, but rather upon the total of the player’s hand and the dealer’s upcard. It can vary based upon the number of decks in use and the specific rules of the game being played. It is determined by which action the player can take which will maximize the player’s return based only upon the knowledge gained from the player’s hand and the dealer’s upcard.

Red Jack
4 years ago

If you’re playing the USA peak version. The dealer should have already peaked at the facedown card and declared blackjack if he had a 10, A.

Because he didn’t at this point you already know it’s lower that 10 and if you split A,A you have a high probability of winning both hands.

Krish
4 years ago

Is there an app for this?

4 years ago

Not at the moment but it’s something we are looking into building sometime hopefully in the near future

Thomas Thomas
4 years ago

That list is very useful. But the real trick is to learn to variate according to true count. There is no need to learn all the variations according to counting only the most important from true count -2 to + 3. Of course prepare to hear complains at the table from players that play basic strategy exactly and think that is the Bible of Blackjack.

Rere
4 years ago

Do you know how many times I have been booed off a table for splitting tens with a high true count? Or how many times the dealer had an upcard if 6 and the cou t was like 2.5 3.2 and the third base guy hits on a 16 making the dealer get 18-20-21 when I had 250 in the hand only to loose standing with 12. I see a lot of people on here talking about all this theory. And that’s great but there is a lot of things you can’t be taught. I think this is the primary reason there is so much card counting Info online and it is still possible. Because not everyone can do it or they don’t have the patience. One thing I would love to add I have t seen anywhere when starting out 1st base is the safest bet. Because regardless of your cou y if you loose it you stand a good chance of getting blackjack or a pat hand. Because you o oh lost the previous rounds cou t not two…

Jerry Smith
4 years ago

What’s the difference between early and late surrender?

Gronbog
4 years ago

Early surrender is vs a dealer T or A *before* they check for blackjack — extremely valuable.
Late surrender is *after* they check.

Jerry
4 years ago

6 deck, S17, das, early surrender, peek
Is all the surrenders something new? Just haven’t seen this before, surrender on hard 5, 6, 7 vs dealer A etc.
Thanks

Anonymous
4 years ago

1 deck, S17, DAS, No Surrender, Peek

Chart is instructing playing to stand on 7,7 vs the dealers 10???? I don’t see how this can be correct? Is it?

Roger
4 years ago

Ken is right on this, single deck only.

JRGFAMILY3
4 years ago

vaughan
4 years ago

ive heard of it being the case with single deck i’m in wonder of it just like you

Anonymous
4 years ago

Nice engine. It’s good to see the deviations from standard basic strategy chart that are on the Google because those charts (Google) created for 2 decks and no surrender option. I prefer the options not to split 88 against TT and AA, and not to split AA against AA but hit Aces.

Thanks

4 years ago

Fixed thanks 🙂

4 years ago
Anonymous
4 years ago

I enjoy reading and trying to learn all I can about blackjack, how do I start free blackjack School

Editor
4 years ago