Blackjack strategy, systems and tips
Blackjack is a very easy game to play. Learning and memorizing correct strategies can present a challenge for some people.
Using blackjack strategy to increase chances
We will review some of the possible hands in blackjack and guide you through the best actions to take in each case, depending on mathematical principles of probability. When used and applied correctly, these guidelines and blackjack strategies can be effectively used to reduce the advantage of the house to less than 0.5%.
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The rules of basic blackjack strategy
The basic blackjack strategy remains the same, regardless of the casino in which you play, be it an online casino or land-based casino.
Basic blackjack strategy - hit or stand
You must make your decision to hit or stand based on the visible card or “up card” of the dealer. This is indeed the first element to know about blackjack strategy.
- Should the dealer have an up card of 7 or more, the player must draw until you have a hard 17 or higher (with no aces or an ace counted as one), or a soft 18 or more (where the ace counts as 11).
- Should the dealer have an up card of 6 or lower, the player must hit until he reaches 13. Once you reach 13 or more then stand.
- Refer to the chart above for the best action to take in all cases.
Another system and tip that we can give you is when to double down. When you double down you are allowed to double your bet after receiving your first two cards. You will then receive one further card. The rules here vary from casino to casino. In some cases you are allowed to double down on any two cards where as in other cases, it is only permitted when you have a total of ten or eleven.
- If your total is 9 you should double down if the dealer has between 2 and 6
- If your total is 10 you should double if the dealer has between 2 and 9
- If your total is 11 you should always double down, unless the dealer is showing an ace
Every hand with an ace is called a soft hand. The reason it's a soft hand is that an ace can be either one or eleven. If it takes the value 11 it is considered a soft hand..
- Stand on a soft 19 or 20
- Double down on a soft 13 to 18 if the visible dealer’s card is either 5 or 6
Another of the blackjack systems and tips is knowing when to split your hand. Splitting a hand is possible only when you are dealt two cards of the same value. Though it may seem tempting to split a hand whenever you receive a pair, it is not always the best course of action.
In effect you split each card into a separate hand, adding a further bet equal to your previous bet, which increases your chances of winning.
- Always split aces and 8
- Never split 4, 5 or 10 regardless of the dealer’s up card
- Split 2, 3 or 7 when the dealer is showing 2-7
- Split 6 when the dealer shows a card between 2-6
- Split 9 if the dealer is showing an up card 2-6 or 8-9
Blackjack strategy is fairly easy to learn, you need to follow it for a while until you feel comfortable with it. Once comfortable, you can try more advanced strategy systems:
- Hit or stand chart
- Double down chart
- Splitting chart
For further information on various aspects of blackjack strategy and more detailed information, read some of our in-depth articles below
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