|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||S||DS||DS||DS||DS||S||S||H||H||H|
|Ace + 8||S||S||S||S||S||S||S||S||S||S|
|Ace + 9||S||S||S||S||S||S||S||S||S||S|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Surrender 16 against 9 through Ace.
Surrender 15 against a 10 only (Unless using H17 rules, then you Surrender against Ace)
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.
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.
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.
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.