Blackjack Strategy Trainer

The Blackjack Strategy Trainer is a free blackjack game that teaches basic strategy while you play.
You select the exact rules that you want, and the Strategy Coach warns you if you make mistakes.

Sorry, but the Strategy Trainer requires Flash, and your device doesn’t support that.

We’re working on a new version that will work on all devices. Subscribe to the mailing list if you want to be notified when it arrives.

Free Blackjack App
Here’s an app that is compatible with all your devices…
Play free blackjack on iOS, Android, or the Web.

96 comments on “Blackjack Strategy Trainer

  • Steven said:

    Thank you for everything, man. I am on vacation for six months and I have been on your site almost everyday for the past three. I have basic memorized and have started working counting in to my play. Thank you for teaching me these skills through your site. The new format looks great.

  • MARK WHEELER said:

    The new display, i.e. black screen on a white background is glaring. It makes my eyes hurt. It causes distortions in perception and causes a loss in concentration. Please change back to the green background or anything easier on the eyes.
    Thank you for the service of the strategy trainer. If you have time, how does the Surrender option effect the win/loss ratio if surrender is counted as a loss?


    • A surrender in the trainer is counted just like any other loss, so it affects the win/loss percentage as well.

      On the screen colors, I may experiment with that a bit and see what I can come up with. Thanks for the feedback.

      • MARK WHEELER replied:

        Can you quantify the change. I would expect the win ratio to be less even though the $Loss would be less. I have been calculating the winning percentage at 47.6. Is this about correct for the dealer hits soft-17 option. The Beau Rivage, Biloxi plays Dealer Hits Soft 17, has late surrender and re-split Aces up to 4 hands. This seems to offer good odds. What are they? Thanks again for the Basic Strategy Charts and your many excellent articles.


        • You are correct: with surrender the percentage of hands lost will be higher, but the money lost will be lower (assuming you use surrender at the appropriate times). This is one example of why looking at the win/loss percentage is a poor way of judging a game.

          I recommend paying no attention at all to win/loss percentages, because they don’t tell the whole story.
          That is especially true when using the trainer. The trainer’s percentage display is simply not useful, as it even treats a push as a loss. The win percentage is just the number of wins divided by the number of total hands. (The next version will be much improved in that regard, when I get time to finish it!)

          For the Beau Rivage game you mention, I plugged in 6D, H17, and Late Surrender at the Strategy Engine:

          That shows a house advantage estimated at 0.58%. The Resplit Aces rules decreases that by about 0.08%, so this game has an expected loss of 0.5% of your initial bets.

          That is the important number, regardless of what percentage of hands you will win or lose.

  • Joe Fedorchuk said:

    I also find the black back ground hard to watch. Thanks for the strategy trainer. It’s a great tool.

  • I’m extremely suspicious that this program isn’t fairly generating random numbers. It consistently deals out high cards straight from the beginning. Time after time after time, I set it to 2 decks, and I see extremely negative counts, very quickly, and the reason is because lots of high cards come out straight at the beginning. Is it possible you programmed this thing to kind of simulate “worst case scenario” conditions?

      • Mark replied:

        Yeah, I guess that’s believable. Stranger things that one expects are conceivable can happen by chance. I do remember this one time I played monopoly, we played for like an hour and fully one out of every 6 rolls was double-6, and that wasn’t on any computer, they were real dice, And I just got my clock cleaned by a casino. I’d win 25 dollar bet (min bet on the 2 deck game) after 25 dollar bet after 25 dollar bet when the count was negative or not positive enough, I endured another player with a superiority complex (ironic) chastising me for being too “afraid” to play basic strategy (sure, it was fear that made me deviate from basic strategy), constantly griping at me for messing up his game by “playing badly” (like standing on 16 against a 10 when the count was like +7), and eventually actually PAYING me 25 dollars to LEAVE the table (!!!), then the count would get high and I’d bet 50, or 100, this one time the count got to +13 with 1.3 decks left I reckoned, I doubled down on 10 against 10 with 200 on the table, and of course I got a frigging 2, and the dealer got the 10 of course…. and then the EXACT SAME THING HAPPENED AGAIN NEXT HAND! And at the end of the day, 3500 dollars down (with 500 left), security came to my table and said “we believe you are an advantage player” and invited me to play any game but blackjack. Gee. THAT was fun. It’s hard to believe that I supposedly really did have an advantage, but I did a calculation and it turned out that risk of ruin was minimized by betting 54 dollars for every 1 the true count was past 1.8 (or betting as if I had about 15000 dollars regardless of the amount I actually had), and that risk of ruin was about 76% starting from 5000 dollars, so I did know it could go that badly pretty easily but damn it sure seemed like some deity had a grudge with me. But what can I do, no one would ever hire me for an actual job. What happens whenever I touch the stock market? 2008 happens is what happens. I just suck at everything.

        Oh, by the way, you say on your website in your blackjack lessons that you should take insurance when the count gets to 1.3 or so. This is wrong. The actually correct answer is actually exactly 3 and a third. Or if you want to maximize utility (expectation on a logarithmic scale, a.k.a. kelly optimality) 3.29 since the insurance bet has negative correlation with the result of the main bet. You’d think it would drop more than from 3.33 to 3.29, but nope, that’s all.

    • Hi Raymond,
      I notice you are visiting from a mobile device which likely does not support Flash. That did not change with the new website.
      Perhaps you were previously visiting from a desktop computer instead?

      If you were previously able to access the trainer from your mobile device, please let me know.
      But I am unaware of any that support Flash.

      By the way, now that the website design is complete, I can get to work creating a new version of the trainer.
      I’ve been planning that for a long while, and have a lot of improvements in mind.
      For one thing, the new version will not require Flash, and should work on any device.
      I plan for it to also optionally be multi-player.

  • Ben Nelson said:

    I love the trainer and how helpful it is; is it possible to add a feature explaining when to change from basic strategy? For example, when the true count is negative 2 and you’re deciding to double a hard 9 vs 3(an example off the top of my head, not sure if it makes my point), it would be helpful to see the variation rule come up and not just the basic rule.
    Great site and thanks for all the info!

  • Great game.

    I found a bug while playing this morning. Split 10s three times. The first hit was a 9 and I stand with a 19. The second hit was an ace and have a 21, but am unable to proceed because the hit and stand buttons are not available.

  • I think there was an error in my variation, maybe not though.

    The game I am playing is: 6 decks, Hit on Soft 17, Late Surrender, Peek

    I had a hard total of 17 with an Ace, 6, 6, 2 against a dealer’s T, my basic strategy chart from this site says to Surrender o/w Stand, since I could not surrender obviously I stood but the coach told me hitting was the best play. Is this an error in the application or something I myself and missing? Thanks a lot. Loving the site.

  • Peter said:

    I could never understand this about card counting. If the deck is rich in ten counts and aces…It is said it is too the advantage of the player…..How can it not be advantageous to the dealer if the dealer is drawing cards from the same rich deck ? Please explain.

    • You are correct in thinking that the dealer is just as likely to get those extra face cards and Aces as you are. But those cards are more valuable for the player for two reasons:

      1) If you get a blackjack, you win 3:2. If the dealer gets a blackjack, he only wins even money.
      2) The dealer is required to hit all stiff hands, while the player should stand when the dealer upcard is a small card. The dealer therefore busts more often when the deck is rich in face cards.

      Thus the good cards help the player more than the dealer, and that’s why card counting works.

  • Artyom said:

    Is there going to be an European Style with no peek in the new version?

  • pair of 4s
    against a 6 your suppose to split but 90% of the time id have been better off doubling down?

  • I like the ease of use. It’d be nice, as a novice to the game, to understand why the strategy is what it is. It’ll tell me what I should have done, but not why. That makes it difficult to not make the same mistake in the future. (Also, this form says the email is optional. It’s not)

    • An explanation of why basic strategy recommends certain plays is on my list of future blog topics, and maybe the new trainer can offer a link to that when it is available.

      As for the emails not being optional when leaving a comment, thanks for letting me know!
      It’s fixed now, and comments no longer require an email address.

  • Wight Gypsy said:

    I wish at some point this site could include a strategy trainer for Spanish 21.

      • Anonymous replied:

        If you could somehow put it into operation, this portal would be even more awesome than it is now.

      • Wight_Gypsy replied:

        It would be stellar if the trainer could be configured to only deal the most difficult combinations for the player. The strategy engine on is not very useful as a trainer because of that defect.

  • I’ve recently started training with your program very helpful thanks it just seems that on a pair of 4s againsts a 6 i woudve been better off doubling? also i always hit on a12 0r 13 against a 2 and more often than not i woudve been better off standing (based on my own tracking?thans

    • Splitting 4s vs a dealer 5 or 6 is better only when the rules allow double after split.
      If the actual numbers would help, here they are for a 6-deck S17 DAS game:
      Splitting 44v6 wins 0.168 of your initial bet on average.
      Hitting makes 0.124.
      Doubling makes only 0.104, making it the third-best option.

      You mention hitting 13v2, which is not correct. You probably meant hitting 12 against a 2 or a 3 up. Again, just trust basic strategy.
      With (8,4) vs 2, hitting loses 0.254 of your bet on average. Standing is quite a bit worse, losing 0.291 of your bet on average.

      Short-term results can be very misleading. Just trust the math.

  • Bob Boose said:

    The game has been slow and jerky the last few days. I have a very fast internet connection so I know the problem must be at your end.

    • Once the current version of the trainer is loaded and running, it runs locally on your machine. Something has to be causing Flash to run slowly on your machine.
      Note that this will work completely differently in the eventual new version, which will be interacting with the server to provide additional features.

  • I think there are some flaws in your basic strategy regarding early surrender. The game recommended I surrender with 12 vs a dealer ace. That isn’t right, is it? It also recommended I surrender with a 7 vs an ace. That can’t possibly be right!

    • Yes, those are correct plays for “Early” surrender, where you can surrender before the dealer checks for blackjack.
      But you probably don’t want to choose that rule. It’s rare.
      Choose Late Surrender and you’ll get the advice you expect.
      To learn more, see my article Blackjack Surrender Explained.

  • OK, thanks! I admit I didn’t know the difference between early and late surrender. Thanks for explaining!

  • Barry Cameron said:

    I’m going to be playing at a casino next week with No surrender, 8 decks, S17, and no peek. Got a couple of questions about strategy in such a situation;

    1)Do I DD with a hard 11 on dealer’s 10 or hit?
    2)Do I split 8s on dealers 10-A or hit?
    3)Do I stand with a soft A/7 on dealer’s 2?
    4) Do I split A/A on dealer’s A or hit?

    Appreciate your help and any rationale you can provide for choices in these situations given the conditions of the table at which I shall be trying my luck. Thanks..

  • Donnie said:

    I enjoy your blackjack game. It helps me control the urge between trips to the casino.

    I really appreciate the Android app. I asked several months ago when an app for my Samsung tablet would be available. You promised it was in the works. Thanks for following through.

    • Donnie replied:

      I misunderstood the app link – I thought it was you. I retract all my kudos and return to waiting mode.

  • trying to use the BJ strategy trainer. cant bring the game into full view. ????????????

  • same thing on another browser. the left half of game is not showing. the right half of screen is showing options to go elsewhere within the blackjack website.

    • Matt replied:

      right half of screen is showing 2 guys, one has his arm on the others sholder. if you were to tick under the picture it would send you to the card counting section. I cant figure how to get rid of that stuff on the right and bring the game over. nothing wrong with flash player.

      • I’m guessing your screen resolution must be set quite low. I would first check to see if your system can run at a higher resolution.
        (In Windows, look under Control Panel / Appearance, and there should be a screen resolution setting somewhere.)

        As another work-around, try this… Make your browser width even narrower, so that the site will know that it can’t fit the sidebar on the right. At some point, the sidebar will reposition to below the game.

        Let me know if either of these ideas works.

        In my version of Chrome and also Firefox, the Flash player will resize the game to fit the available space, but I suspect that not all versions can do that.

  • Guess what? I never tried to play the game with the screen looking like it does. I just thought it looked so much different. I called my son and had him bring up the game, while Im talking to him I hit the play button, it delt the cards.Stupid me , but I like the old screen better.

  • Chris said:

    Hey Ken,
    its Brutus from the old forums. love the updated site, very informative

  • Can you make an option to get rid of the count? Adding them in my head helps me train. Thank you!

      • Bob replied:

        Thanks! I’ve just started learning and I get in the habit of looking at the hand count rather than figuring it in my head. If I was experienced I would probably just be able to see the cards, but since I’m not I get used to looking at the number rather than the hand. It doesn’t cause a whole lot of problems until I get a soft hand then I tend to act on impulse and say try to surrender on a soft 15 rather than hit. Overall this is my favorite trainer so far. Awesome work! Removing the count would make it perfect for me. Any idea when the new version might be rolling out?

  • Just started playing and want to get really good at black jack can u install a cheat such as best times to stay or hit? So it becomes instinct after playing a few hundred hands

    • I assume you mean you would like a feature (optional of course) that shows you the correct play before you make the decision.
      The trainer already corrects you on mistakes, but I can see how some people may like an option to just see the best play beforehand. Sort of like learning with flashcards. Sounds reasonable for the new version.

      • Randy replied:

        I like it like it is. If you add the flashcard type version I hope you would make it an option like choosing how many decks, etc. If it were permanent I think I would think less before hitting, standing, or doubling down.

  • Hi,

    I’ve been trying to google this and cant find any forums or info regarding the matter, so here goes:

    In a true count of +6 (or something of that significance), is it ever correct to stand on a 12, 13 or 14 against a 10?
    Knowing that the probability of the next card being a 10 and more often busting than improving you, should you stand and pray the dealer has 6 or less and take that 10? Or do you always hit since too many cards improve you (and refer to basic strategy)?


    • Short answer: Just always hit 12, 13, and 14 vs Ten.
      Longer answer:
      For 12vT and 13vT, the count basically never gets high enough to stand.
      With 14vT, the appropriate Hi-Lo index would be very high. I know it is more than +10 true count, because I ran very in-depth data for the range of -10 to +10, and 14vT was still “always hit”.

      Wong’s Professional Blackjack book shows “Always Hit” for 14vT with the Hi-Lo count, but for his Halves count, he gives an index of +10.
      This is likely because the Halves count includes sevens, which are quite important for that specific hand.

      • Josh replied:

        @Ken Smith:

        Hello and thanks,

        If I recall on what I’ve read so far (new to this), in high true counts (let’s say 6+), then for hands 15 and up, you should always stand correct? Like a +1 and you should stand on 16 vs 10, at what count would I have to stand on a 15?

        Thanks again

  • Hello thanks for previous answers, new question!

    I have a relatively small bankroll and comps and match plays really make a huge impact on my future game (have not frequented many times yet), but wanted to clarify some thoughts. In a hypothetical situation, if I was to be receiving a $100 match-play bonus, is my EV out of that around $97 (assuming I play it at a house disadvantage) or is it around $47 for player (since house has a 3% edge making it around $53 for the house). Sorry if this seems silly, but I just wanted to make sure about the math before I dive into this.

    Regardless, would this match play make a red chipper who spreads $10-100 (max bet) at a very high advantage or is negligible towards the hourly / bottom line? I assume even at a $47 free-roll, that has to impact a $10 min when max is $100.

    thoughts are appreciated

    • Match plays offer a huge boost for low limit players. In fact the edge from coupons will often dwarf the rest of your advantage. That’s a good thing!

      The EV for a $100 match play will be less than half face value, but not for the reason you were trying to give… Match plays are usually discarded after one decision, win or lose. So it’s not like a regular bet that you keep on a win.

      Play all of them you can. Very helpful.

  • Thanks so much for your strategy trainer, it’s helped my game so much! One feature I’d like to see added is the option to disable the display of the player’s hand total, having my hand total automatically displayed is a distraction when I’m practicing my card counting (I need to be able to do both simultaneously).

  • Josh said:

    Hello Again,

    I recently finished my first month of card counting adventures. With a spread of 1-20 betting units (rarely do I spread to 20), is winning 500 betting units in ~6 sessions or 30 hours an unreasonable win rate or am I on a super heater? There have been times where I have bet 20 units and lost 80 units from splits and dd. Also is this type of spread going to get me a lot of heat and get kicked out [yes it varies for each casino, whether it is low end or high end / but I just wanted to hear you guys opinion]

    Thanks Again

    • You’re blazing hot, and winning 500 units in 30 hours is way above expectation. 1-20 is aggressive, but that’s probably a good thing. Don’t camp out for extended sessions, but it’s a lot easier to beat multi-deck games with that kind of spread.

      • Josh replied:

        Thank you for your quick response, follow up question!

        With your experience, what do you think a general estimated 1-15 or 1-20 spread would make hourly in betting units? I’m playing a 8 deck with good penetration, H17, double down any card, split aces 4x, no surrender, yes insurance, 3:2 payout.


  • Josh said:

    Hello Again, I stumbled across this hand index recently (on a 8 deck shoe with good rules)

    when am I supposed to double down on a hard 12 against 5 and 6. I know it’ll probably get a lot of heat, but I just want the knowledge of being able to. On the ILL-18, rank 16/17 for 12 vs 15 at true count -2 and 12 vs 6 at true count -1, it says hit/stand. For this I am confused, if I am going to hit, shouldn’t I double it as I would never hit it again?

    • Absolutely not! Don’t double a busting hand, ever. The hit/stand index reflects the fact that sometimes in negative counts you should hit some of these stiff hands, because the dealer’s likelihood of busting has decreased to the point where hitting is better than standing stiff. But you’re always at a big disadvantage on these hands, so you would never put more money at risk by doubling.

  • Josh said:

    Hello again!

    A new question regarding Lucky Lucky. I tried searching it up and apparently the Lucky Lucky (LL) bet is a profitable game when card counting is taken into consideration (apparently 2 deck is best for it). If @Ken Smith or anyone knows if this is still profitable at a 8 deck game, at a true count of +2 or +3, would it be profitable to blast the LL side bet? If you are expecting a bunch of face cards to peel off, or blackjacks and the dealer has a 10, you can still win those bets fairly often. With this in mind, would blasting the LL sidebet be another profitable play to mitigate that you’re not doing some crazy spread? Any info or knowledge regarding this would be amazing!

    Futhermore, in a couple weeks I will be making a trip to Reno. From podcasts I’ve heard from Richard Munchkin, Reno is not exactly a great place to card count? I read these stories where green chippers spreading 5-1 getting backed off. Any tips or warnings from anyone? My original plan was to go red chipping $5 or $10 and spreading to $100-150. Bad plan for the Pepper Mill place at Reno?


  • o1o said:

    can use dealing device option for the blackjack trainer. The Game is very Good.

  • Chris said:

    i dont understand the double…sounds stupid please explain..i had 10 total..says it recomends going double other than a hit…dont get it..need help

    • Doubling down gives a chance to double the amount of your bet after seeing your first two cards. For that privilege, you’ll give up the ability to draw more than one card, but in many cases, it’s a great deal. You mentioned a hand with a total of 10 in the first two cards. If the dealer has a 2 through 9 up, you should double down because you’re a big favorite to win the hand.

      For a full explanation of doubling, see Blackjack Rules: Part 3 – Player Choices

  • Jack said:

    I was wondering what should a player do if he lost the count of the cards dealt and does the count have to always be exact?

    • The count does not have to be exact, but there are a few really dangerous mistakes you can make. If for example, you flip the sign, turning a negative count into a positive count, that would make you bet bigger money into bad situations. Obviously an expensive mistake.

      But if you miss a card every once in a while, that’s not going to be a big deal. If you truly lose all track of where the count is, just flat-bet the minimum until the shuffle.

  • Anonymous said:

    It would be stellar if the trainer could be configured to only deal the most difficult combinations for the player. The strategy engine on is not very useful as a trainer because of that defect.

  • tony ottati said:

    please let me know when the new bj is ready i love the strategy trainer why do you have to change it

Leave a Reply

A valid URL is required.

Advanced Formatting?

If you are familiar with HTML, you can use these tags and attributes in your comment:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>