So let's talk about blackjack. Everyone and their mother have heard of it. It's
no surprise, because it is one of the most popular games at any casino out there.
The more you understand how to play blackjack, the more
likely you will win at it. That's why we're here. We'll help you come up
with the best blackjack strategy to increase your chances of winning at each hand.
Just because everyone has heard of blackjack doesn't mean the entire world
knows how to hit or stand, let alone understand how the whole game works. So before
we go any further on this topic, let's cover the basics here.
In blackjack, your goal is to draw cards totaling as close to 21 as possible without
You're playing against the dealer, and whoever has cards totaling closer to 21
(without going over) wins. The numbered cards (2 through 10) are worth their face
value, while all of the face cards (kings, queens, and jacks) are worth 10. Aces are
basically your “wild cards”, as they can be used as either 1 or 11. For example, if
you draw a seven and an ace, it will bring your total to either an 8 or 18, your
If your hand goes over 21, you automatically lose. The same goes for the dealer; if
his hand goes over 21, he automatically loses (marking you as the winner!)
The game begins when the dealer deals out two cards to each player (including
himself). Your cards are dealt face up; the dealer receives one card face up and one
card face down, which is called the hole card. Keep in mind that it's
impossible to go over 21 with the first two cards. Your best hand would be a face
card and an ace, because then you will get a blackjack, which is a hand value of
You, the player, always have to act first. That means when you're dealt the
first two cards, you need to decide whether you want to hit, double down, stand,
split, take insurance, or surrender.
Blackjack players express their decisions via hand signals. It's to help
keep the game moving and to ensure that there are no verbal misunderstandings
between you and the dealer. Plus, if there is a misunderstanding between you
two, the casino can review the play on their camera footage and decide whose
side to take.
Let's take a minute to cover each move:
Once you make your decision, the dealer will turn over his hole card. If he has 16
or less, he will always draw another card. However, if the dealer has an ace and any
number of cards that bring his hand total to 17 (known as a “soft 17”), he might
take a hit.
When the dealer is finished, the higher hand total between you and the dealer will
You have to use the basic strategy to get the best possible odds. Fortunately for
us, blackjack experts already did the dirty work for us. They analyzed the game
mathematically, figured out the best way to play every possible hand, and put it all
in a helpful blackjack chart. You can even print out this blackjack strategy chart
so you'll have a higher chance of winning each hand. This cheat sheet will have you
mastering the basic strategy in no time.
Click here to download a PDF of our Blackjack Cheat Sheet & Guide
Blackjack offers one of the lowest house edges compared to other casino games and
card games. The
house edge is the advantage the casino holds over the player. It's the profit
the casino makes off a percentage of your original bet. It can be defined as “the
ratio of the average loss to the initial bet”.
There are many different variations of blackjack, but in a typical blackjack game,
the player plays at about a 2% disadvantage. However, a player using the basic
strategy plays at only a 0.5% disadvantage.
If you want to play as safely as possible, you should always assume that the dealer
has a 10 in the hole. Obviously, it's not always the case, but making such an
assumption allows you to make an educated comparison between your hand and the
dealer's. To help you with this, we'll give you a few ground rules:
Your strategy should be a little different if you have a soft hand. A soft hand is
when you have a hand with an ace that counts as 11. It's when you can't go
over 21 by taking a hit.
For example, an ace and an 8 is a soft hand, because the hand total can be either a
9 or a 19. If you end up with a 10 or even another ace after taking a hit, you can
use the first ace as a 1 to keep your hand total from exceeding 21. With a soft
hand, you can play more aggressively. Here are a few ground rules when it comes to
When the dealer's up card is small (6 or less), he will be more likely to go
over 21. Since 10 is the most common card value, that 6 could turn into a 16, and
then it could become a 26 after the next hit. If a dealer shows a small card, you'll
be likely to expect that he will go over 21, so you won't risk busting your own
hand. That means you'll be less likely to hit a hand of 12 or higher.
Contrary to popular belief, counting cards is not illegal. You can't get
arrested for it, but the casino is allowed to ask you to leave or ask you to stop
playing, even if you're trying live dealer online
Many beginners forget this. While the basic strategy is probably the most effective
strategy out there, you still have to remember that your blackjack strategy and odds
can vary according to the specific blackjack game you're playing.
The most important rule when it comes to blackjack? Play smart!