The Ultimate Blackjack Strategy GuideOnline Casino, Entertainment
If you’re new to playing 21, you might’ve heard all sorts of stories about Blackjack strategies and how you can use them to beat the dealer. Every. Single. Time. Now while this isn’t strictly true, what is true is that you can use strategy to increase your chances of winning.
Blackjack is one of the few casino games that rely on more than luck, and if you know what moves to make and when, you can greatly reduce the house edge – and increase your chances of a winning hand.
If you’re keen to learn more, dive into our guide and discover how you can incorporate Blackjack strategy into your game. Then, when you’re ready, you can put your moves to the test at our online casino!
Playing 21 – A Refresher
You’ll find it next to impossible to understand strategies for 21 if you don’t know how to play the game. Whether you’re somewhat familiar with the gameplay or you’re a complete newbie, this quick refresher will put you on the right track.
Blackjack’s a card game played between the player (that’s you) and the dealer (RNG software or a real person), in which your goal is to beat the dealer’s hand with a hand worth a maximum of 21 points. 21 exactly is called Black Jack, and that’s where the game gets its name.
Unlike almost every other casino game, it offers you a selection of possible moves that you can use to increase your score and potentially beat the dealer. This puts you on an almost even footing with the house – and it means you can find RTPs as high as 99.96%.
If you’ve already browsed some of the games available online, you’ll have noticed there are European and American variations. The biggest difference between them is that the American 21 dealer gets a hole card in the first deal and can peek at it – and possibly eliminate you – before you make a move.
The action begins after you place a bet:
• The dealer deals 2 face-up cards to you, and 1 face-up card (or 1 face up and 1 face down) to their position
• If your score is lower than 21, decide whether to play the hand as is or to increase your score
• If your score is 21 exactly, it’s a natural Blackjack, which usually beats the dealer immediately
• Make the appropriate move
• The dealer will deal any required cards to your hand and to their hand
• The hands are compared to determine the winner
As many Blackjack strategies aim to help you decide what to do with every hand you’re dealt, implement yours when deciding what move to make.
Let’s take a quick look at those moves.
Blackjack Moves In A Nutshell
• Stand – You play the hand you were dealt
• Hit – You request another card to increase your score, and you can do this several times in succession
• Double (Down) – You place a second bet the same size as the first and request another card
• Split – You split your hand and request new cards to create two new hands that you play in succession
• Surrender/Quit – You quit the round
Why Blackjack Strategy Works
In table games such as Roulette, you can use betting systems but not gaming strategies, as the results cannot be influenced. Blackjack however, has several elements that allow you to use strategy.
You have the options of increasing your score or otherwise changing your hand, you can see one of the dealer’s cards, and whatever the number of decks in the shoe, a finite number of card combinations are possible.
A good basic Blackjack strategy is built on a foundation of those three elements, and it will guide your gaming decisions.
Before we explore basic online Blackjack strategy, let’s take a look at pre-game strategies that you can use for all your gaming, whether you play Roulette, slots, or other games that day.
• Create a daily, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly gaming budget
• Decide how long each of your sessions will be, e.g., 30 minutes and stick to your decision
• Decide how much you will spend in each session and stick to that amount
• Decide on the size of your bets before you start playing and stick to that amount
• Play online or live European Blackjack to ensure you don’t get eliminated before your move
• Know when to call it quits for the day
Basic Blackjack Strategy
Use the following basic Blackjack strategies to help you decide what moves to make when trying to beat the dealer.
Hard-Total Hands – If your initial hand doesn’t have an ace, or if you’re dealt an ace that’s counted as 1, rather than 11, during the game, you have a hard total.
If your score is 17+, or if it’s between 13 and 16, and the dealer has a 2 through 6, stand. Also stand if you have 12 and the dealer has 4 through 6. Alternatively, hit with those scores.
Double if you have 11, if you have 10 against the dealer’s 2 through 9, or if you have 9 against the dealer’s 3 through 6. Alternatively, hit with your 10 or 9 against those dealer scores. Hit if your score’s 8.
Soft-Total Hands – If your first 2 cards include an ace, the ace is counted as 11 points, and the hand is said to have a soft total.
• Your soft 20 (ace and 9) stands, and a soft 19 (ace and 8) doubles against a dealer’s 6 and stands against other dealer’s cards.
• Your soft 18 (ace and 7) or doubles against dealer’s 2 through 6, and hits or stands against dealer’s 9 through ace. It stands against other dealer cards.
• Your soft 17 (ace and 6) doubles against dealer’s 3 through 6, and hits against other dealer cards.
• Your soft 16 (ace and 5) and soft 15 (ace and 4) doubles against dealer’s 4 through 6, and hits against other dealer’s cards.
• Your soft 14 (ace and 3) and soft 13 (ace and 2) doubles against a dealer’ 5 through 6, and hits against other dealer cards.
Splitting Hands – Good splitting Blackjack strategies to remember are to always split a pair aces or 8s, and to never split two 10s.
• Split 9s against dealer’s 2 through 6, as well as dealer’s 8 or 9, but stand against 7 or other cards.
• Split 7s against dealer’s 2 through 7 but hit against other cards.
• Split 6s against dealer’s 2 through 6 and hit against other cards.
• Split 4s against dealer’s 5 or 6 and hit against other cards.
Split 3s or 2s against dealer’s 2 through 7 and hit against other cards. The exception is a pair of 5s. If that’s your hand, double against dealer’s 2 through 9 or hit against other cards.
Surrender – There will come rounds in which your best Blackjack strategy is to surrender your hand.
Surrender your 16 to a dealer’s 9 through ace, and surrender your 15 to a dealer’s 10. If you would rather not surrender, use hard total strategies for those hands.
Practice Makes Perfect
…or so the saying goes! And it can apply to Blackjack strategy too.
We know that, for basic strategy, there’s a lot to take in. Don’t be too daunted by it. It’s fun to practice too!
Spend time with each of those strategies for hard and soft totals, as well as when to make other moves. Familiarise yourself with them and start implementing strategy slowly. You’ll find that you add more and more to your Blackjack games as you grow in confidence.