Best Blackjack Strategy

So you wish to improve your card game skills and bring it up to speed. With our dedicated guide, you will take a deep dive into how to play black jack, but more importantly, how to maximise your chances of success. The game comes with simple, straightforward gameplay and quite a few opportunities to grow and deepen your knowledge and better your results in the end.

Online blackjack Australia can be a lot of fun, that's true. Yet, players all agree that winning brings them a little more joy, which is why we will offer you a variety of tips for blackjack precisely.

Now, there is no sure-fire way of guaranteeing yourself success playing blackjack online, but the truth is that using the right tactics and strategy will always lead to better overall results. There is certainly a bit to learn, but the more you do, the more successful you will become playing one of your favourite card games!

What Are Game's Possible Outcomes?

Before you can study black jack basic strategy, you will need to find out a few things about how the game works and what inner workings are. Now, we won't give you a full breakdown of the blackjack card game rules, as we have already done this in a dedicated page.

However, it's always a good idea to know what you are getting yourself into. Generally, there are three outcomes you must be aware and expect when playing this game, and we have listed them here.

Outcome
The Player Wins
  • The player will win if he or she hit the blackjack and the dealer does not.
  • The player wins when his or her hand is closer to 21 than the dealer's hand.
  • The dealer has more than 21 points, and you do not.
The Player Loses
  • The player will lose in the cases when the dealer has blackjack, and he or she does not.
  • The player hand is lower than the dealer's.
  • The player draws cards with a combined value that exceeds 21.
The Player and Dealer choose “Blackjack Push”
  • If both the player and dealer's hands end up of the same value.
  • You both score 21.

These three listed outcomes define what the game boils down to. Naturally, there may be some minor caveats here or there to be mindful of. For example, side bets have a slightly different win or lose criteria, but they are explained in each game.

Basic Strategy for Playing Blackjack

To learn how to play black jack 21 and, more importantly, win, you need to follow some holistic rules that have been put to the test by many players who will affirm that they work, regardless of what version of the game you pick.

The universality of a blackjack basic strategy is why it's so important to commit these rules to memory precisely. Allow us to begin with a couple of brief explanations about Hit, Stand, Double or Split in this game.

When Do You Hit or Stand?

This is a great question, and as such, it deserves a quick and reliable answer. The following blackjack tactics are derived from careful study of the game over the years:

  • Do not hit on a hard 17 or above.
  • Never stand on an 11 or lower.
  • Never hit a 12-16 against a dealer's 4-6.
  • Always make sure to hit a 12-16 if the dealer's got 7.
  • Always hit when you hold a soft 17 or less.

When Do You Double?

Another popular move in blackjack online is doubling down. Knowing precisely when to do this will give you an excellent overall ability to read difficult hands and make the most out of your session.

For the most part, this is also a part of the most popular blackjack tips and tricks out there, and it comes down to reading your cards and putting them in context. So, there are several instances where you would want or not want to double down:

  • Make sure to double a nine against a dealer's 3-6.
  • Always double your ten against a dealer's ten or Ace.
  • Make sure to double your 11 if the dealer is holding anything but Ace.
  • Double your soft 18 or anything below so long the dealer's hand is 5 or 6.

When Do You Split?

Whether you play online or at a brick-and-mortar casino, there are always rules that apply to you splitting successfully. They are usually effortless to commit to memory. Blackjack splitting is quite useful and a powerful ally to any player. Here are some cases in which you definitely want to split:

  • You will always want to split your Aces and Eights.
  • Do not split your fives or faces.

You may be wondering why not split your 10's? While it sounds like a great idea, splitting tens means taking on more risk than you actually carry with two 10's, which is already 20 and that is a pretty strong hand.

Blackjack Basic Strategy: What More to Know

Now that you have a fairly good understanding of Hit, Stand, Split and Double Down, it's time to analyse slightly more advanced, but still elementary, blackjack basic strategy concepts. A black jack chart will be discussed a bit later to simplify what action you should take, but first the terminology:

Pair splitting By referencing a soft totals chart, you will know exactly how to react based on your hand strength as well as the dealer's face-up card. You don't split the pair if you have 2, 2 versus a dealer's 8, 9, 10 or Ace.
Soft totals In the case of soft totals, you will double down, hit or stand depending on your hand. You usually hit when you have A, 3 or A, 2 versus a dealer's 7, 8, 9, 10 or Ace.
Hard totals Hard totals usually mean that you have three types of actions available that are double if allowed, hit or stand. To find out which, you need to reference a dedicated chart.
Late surrender Late surrender is a blackjack basic strategy which outlines when you should consider surrendering even if it seems too late in the game. For example, if your hand is 17, and the dealer's hand is A (H17), you should always surrender.

Strategy Training

The best blackjack strategy that you can use is the one you are intimately familiar with. Yet, as you probably know by now, studying all there is about 21 blackjack is no small endeavour, and you ought to take your sweet time with the game.

To find out all there is about the game, and we recommend trying the blackjack simulator below. It's free and requires no registration, and you can play as much as you wish and test any of the strategies you know or want to explore further.

Blackjack Strategy Chart

There is always a fun and easy way to know how to react to any given situation. In this case, it's through the use of blackjack tricks known as blackjack basic strategy chart or more colloquially, "cheat sheets."

There's no actual cheating when using these charts, though, and blackjack table strategy is perfectly valid and viable. You can use them to influence your chances of success, with each chart tailored to a specific version's needs.

Single Deck Blackjack Strategy

Single Deck Blackjack Strategy
  • H

    Hit

  • S

    Stand

  • D

    Double Down

  • SP

    Split

  • H/SU

    Surrender if possible, otherwise Hit

  • S/SU

    Surrender if possible, otherwise Stand

Playing with only a single deck gives players an advantage. It's the simplest to follow through when you are counting cards and the easiest to predict. With proper play, your house edge can easily be reduced to a number very close to zero.

The 52-card game is somewhat easy to predict, and the recommended actions have the smallest deviation from the black jack table. You can predict simple outcomes in Blackjack when to Hit or Stand and explore more complicated scenarios, such as Surrender or Hit/Stand on 16 versus a dealer's ten or Ace, for example.

The table goes in some detail to explain what course of action you should take to give yourself the highest statistical probability of securing a strong outcome.

2 Deck Blackjack Strategy Chart

2 Deck Blackjack Strategy Chart
  • H

    Hit

  • S

    Stand

  • D

    Double down

  • SP

    Split

The odds will naturally go up when you play the two-deck game. On the plus side, the same conditions will apply for winning at blackjack, and the blackjack card values will remain intact, meaning that the only thing you will have to keep an eye out for is what the best action is based on your hand as well as the dealer's face-up card.

However, even if the odds change, the good thing about 2-deck blackjack online is that the odds are still very close to the single change. This has allowed players and theorists to come up with an iron-clad reference table.

There are just as many Hit, Stand, Double Down, Split and Surrender opportunities here, but they have shifted slightly to accommodate the altered somewhat odds that lead to some big odds!

Blackjack Charts for Other Popular Variants

Now, because the card game relies on maths to make strategies work, you will be quite happy to find out that when you play any blackjack online version, with 4, 6 or 8 decks, the system remains pretty much the same.

This means that you get to familiarise a single stratagem more or less and then put it to some good use to make your next hand working. The rules are once again quite easy to follow, and therefore a fair bit entertaining.

As it turns out, the real variation comes when you consider whether the dealer will Hit or Stand on Soft 17. The charts need to be adjusted accordingly.

4-8 Decks, Dealer Stands on Soft 17

4-8 Decks, Dealer Stands on Soft 17
  • H

    Hit

  • P

    Split

  • S

    Stand

  • Ph

    Split if possible, otherwise Hit

  • Ds

    Double down if possible, if not than Stand

  • Dh

    Double down if possible, if not than Hit

  • Rh

    Surrender if possible, otherwise Hit

The table indicates what actions you should take when the dealer chooses to Stand on Soft 17. This is a great insight and uses mathematical algorithms to predict what the optimal outcome for you is.

Based on this table and a dealer standing on their Soft 17, you can pretty much tell what you should do next, giving yourself the best possible chance of success.

4-8 Decks, Dealer Hits on Soft 17

4-8 Decks, Dealer Hits on Soft 17
  • H

    Hit

  • S

    Stand

  • Ds

    Double down if possible, if not than Stand

  • Dh

    Double down if possible, if not than Hit

  • P

    Split

  • Ph

    Split if possible, otherwise Hit

  • Rh

    Surrender if possible, otherwise Hit

  • Rs

    Surrender if possible, otherwise Stand

  • Rp

    Surrender if possible, if not then Split

On the flip side, you have a dealer who will Hit on Soft 17, exerting a little more aggressive play in this case. The blackjack odds will change once again, forcing players to adapt. Yet, you shouldn't look at it as an adverse event. Instead, it's an opportunity for you to predict a probable outcome and make sure you act in a way that benefits you the most.

How to Play a Tight Hand

A hand without Aces is usually known as "tight hand", and this is not the easiest type of hand, but with some practice and by following our blackjack guide, you should have no issue finding a play that is fit for your current situation. Here are several plays that will help you make a smart decision next time you have a hand without the Ace:

  • 8 or lower: Hit
  • 9: Hit or double a card if the dealer has 3 to 6
  • 10: Hit or double if the dealer shows 2 to 9
  • 11: Hit if the dealer has an Ace
  • 12: You don't need more if the dealer has 4 to 6 and if not, you should Hit
  • 13 to 16: You don't need more unless the dealer's cards are different than 2 to 6. Hit if this is the case
  • 17 to 21: You do nothing

How to Play with a Soft Hand

Next, on the basic blackjack strategy guide, you have how to play with a soft hand. A soft hand is arguably the best thing that can happen to you as a player when opening. Here are some ground rules for you to follow:

  • A, 2/A, 3: Draw a card or double if the dealer has 5 or 6
  • A, 4/A, 5: Draw a card or double down on the dealer's 4 to 6
  • A, 6: Draw a card or double if the dealer has 3 to 6
  • A, 7: Double down if the dealer has 3 to 6 or just Stand on 2, 7, or 8. In all other cases, just Hit.
  • A, 8: You don't need to do anything

How to Play with Pairs

To find out how to play blackjack at a casino, you will have to learn how to split appropriately. Pair splitting is one of the most popular operations in the game, and you should teach yourself how to do it properly. Thankfully, when it comes to split blackjack, we have you covered with some in-depth overview:

  • Aces: Always split your Aces
  • 2, 3: Hit or Split if the dealer has 2 to 7
  • 4: Hit or Split if the dealer has 5 to 6
  • 5: Hit or Double down if the dealer has 2 to 9
  • 6: Hit or Split if the dealer has 2 to 6
  • 7: Hit or Split if the dealer has 2 to 7
  • 8: Split
  • 9: Enough if the dealer has 7, 10 or Ace, but Split the pair otherwise
  • 10: Keep as it is

You will notice that the 10s are better kept together. So far as blackjack hands go, this is one of the best you can have as it adds up to 20 and this should be plenty to play around with.

Betting Systems

Some numerous strategies and systems will always come into practice when you play. The key is to know how to use them. Today, we will list several excellent and proven, yet simple, stratagems to try and incorporate in your next Blackjack online gaming session by yourself.

  • 1-3-2-6

    Often referred to as "split strategy" the 1-3-2-6 system asks you to bet 1, 3, 2 and 6 units consecutively. You will only place the next betting unit from the sequence if you have already won. If you post a loss, you stay at one until you have won again to move upward.

  • Parlay

    The parlay is an exciting betting system and just the opposite of Martingale. It basically asks you to pick a betting amount and double up after every win. Once you lose, you go back to the default stake.

  • D'Alembert

    The D'Alembert strategy is very easy to pinpoint, and you should have no trouble whatsoever. If you win, you decrease your bet by unit, and if you lose, you increase your bet by a unit. It's as simple as that.

  • Martingale

    The Martingale is a very straightforward system. It simply asks you to double up your bet after each loss until you have won your lost amount. Once you do, you default to a basic bet. It's a steadfast and fairly safe betting system.

  • Fibonacci

    Fibonacci is a mathematical sequence of available numbers in nature, and it makes a great stratagem to use. The line goes like this: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 and so on. The bets will go up every time you lose. If you win, though, you will stick with the number you have won

  • Oscar's Grind

    Oscar's Grind is an essential strategy. It was initially used in craps, but it turned out that it's a great way to influence your black jack odds, too. Basically, you increase your bet if you win. It's as simple as that.

Counting Cards in Blackjack

Blackjack counting cards is one of the most romanticised practices, and it's undoubtedly one of the quickest answers to the question: how to win at blackjack.

The basic concept of this process is simple. You follow a table and see what cards have been played. Then, after observing the table for a while, you can sit down and start betting, knowing what cards are likely to be on the deck.

Most players devise a simple system to assign value to the cards from 2 to 9 and another value to the cards worth 10 points. Though, mastering card counting can take a very long and you can only count at a brick-and-mortar casino – never online!

Tips for Players

Alright, there are probably some things that are always handy, and we are actually happy to share away with you.

  • Special Cases with 16 Points. There are a few things you should know about blackjack surrender and the 16-point rule. If you have 16 points, you will want to surrender against a dealer's 9, 10 or Ace. In all other cases, just refer to the chart you have handy.

  • Dr. Pepper's Rule. This is another basic rule of thumb that players tend to use. It basically means that you ought to Hit when you have 10 and 2 against a dealer's 4.

  • "Correct" Seat at the Table. There is no actual correct seat at the black jack table. However, you can join a little later so that you have had enough time to study the decks in play.

  • Alternate Strategies. Casinos don't mind you playing according to a strategy, but they may restrict you if you just use one. Make sure to alternate between different strategies so that you are always ahead.

  • How to Count Cards Properly. If you are keen to count cards, make sure to play at brick-and-mortar casinos. There is no need even to participate. Just start by watching others play and take notes. Once you feel confident enough, start counting and playing yourself. Remember not to win too much so that it's not too evident.

Bad Strategies to Avoid

There are some bad strategies in a blackjack game that you would probably want to know. They are some bad habits that you have picked here and there, but luckily, they are very easy to get rid of.

  • Refusal to Draw Cards. Some players may get a little skittish and refuse to draw cards. It's best to stick with the tables and things you have learnt rather than give in to superstitious fear of the next draw.

  • Copying the Dealer's Playstyle. No, you cannot win if you just copy the dealer. The dealer already has a slight advantage because they see your cards and you reveal your cards first.

  • Accepting Blackjack Insurance All the Time. Insurance is all very well, but there are specific cases in which you should accept it. Make sure to double-check which cases those are.

  • Fear of a Hidden 10. Some players become hesitant a little too often because they fear a hidden ten will be played against them. Stick to the established suggestions in our blackjack 21 cheat sheets instead.

Glossary

Soft hand Any blackjack hand that contains an Ace is considered a "soft" hand.
Hard hand Any hand that does not have an Ace in blackjack is considered a "hard" hand.
Bankroll The amount of money you use to play with when at a casino. Your bankroll can be deposited to and withdrawn from.
Natural Natural is a hand that starts as an Ace and a "ten" card. Naturals are rare in blackjack, but you have a 99% chance of winning your hand when they do happen.
Blackjack Blackjack is one of the possible game outcomes when you hit 21 without crossing the threshold.

FAQs

  • How to count cards?

    To count cards, you need to visit a brick-and-mortar casino and observe a game in progress. Make notes of what cards (2-9) and 10s have been played and adjust your betting based on the probability of the next card being a 10 or 2-9.

  • What's the best blackjack card counting strategy?

    There is no single card counting strategy. It really comes down to what you can work around with. We recommend reading some literature written by professional card counters.

  • Can I beat the house in black jack?

    In theory, you can beat the house by using a great card counting blackjack strategy and not showing that you are counting cards.

  • Is there a 100% winning strategy?

    In theory, card counting can guarantee you a 100% win. However, even then, even a mild distraction could cost you a bit.

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