Blackjack Basic Strategy and Charts

Among games based on chances, blackjack is one of the few that leaves some room for players to make their own luck based on strategies. With minimal knowledge of the best blackjack basic strategies and following our complete charts, you can know exactly what to do in each scenario. You cannot predict the dealer’s cards, but you can know how to act with yours!

Blackjack Strategies for Beginners

Before having your first cards dealt, you can already know what to do if you memorize the basic blackjack strategy. They are almost by-the-book actions that you can learn by heart and apply whenever possible simply because they are the best way of acting:

  • Stand with 17 or more – If you have got a hard 17 or a bigger number, always stand. It is too risky to go any further.
  • Double on 11 – If you have a hard 11, double down on it because it is a very promising hand. After all, the highest possible card can only give you 21 and nothing higher!
  • Do not split 10s – Being able to split a hand of 10s does not mean you should do it. Instead, you have a pretty good 20 that can make you win several times.
  • 8s and Aces are to split – Memorize that a pair of 8s and Aces are better played if split. That way, you avoid either a risky 16 or the lack of potential of two Aces wasted on a single hand.
  • Hit from Ace and 7 – If the dealer has got a 9, 10, or Ace, you should hit and try to go beyond that 8/18. Otherwise, stand with it!
  • Standing with 12 – According to the blackjack basic strategy, stand with 12 only if the dealer has got 4, 5, or 6. If not, that low hand is better played by hitting a new card.
  • Standing with 13 to 16 – With 13 to 16 in your hands, only stand if the dealer has between 2 and 6. Otherwise, hit, hoping for a card that is not too high.

That is the basic blackjack strategy with which you can already get the hang of how it is played. Of course, if you want to succeed, we highly recommend that you continue to read and make good use of our blackjack complete strategy chart!

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Strategies for Soft Hands

According to the rules on how to play blackjack, a soft hand is a hand that counts with an Ace. Because it has the possibility to be counted as 1 or 11, that hand is considered “soft”, or flexible. With such a hand, these are the optimal choices:

Your HandExampleWhat to Do?
Soft 20A, 9Always stand your hand.
Soft 19A, 8Double if the dealer has 6, otherwise stand your hand.
Soft 18A, 7Double if the dealer has 2-6, hit against dealer’s 9-Ace, stand if otherwise.
Soft 17A, 6Double if the dealer has 3-6, otherwise hit.
Soft 16A, 5Double if the dealer has 4-6, otherwise hit.
Soft 15A, 4Double if the dealer has 4-6, otherwise hit.
Soft 14A, 3Double if the dealer has 5-6, otherwise hit.
Soft 13A, 2Double if the dealer has 5-6, otherwise hit.

Strategies for Hard Hands

Consequently, normal hands that do not have an Ace with two possible values are considered to be “hard hands”. However, that name has nothing to do with difficulty, especially if you learn some moves by heart:

Your HandExampleWhat to Do?
Hard 17 or Higher10, 7Always stand your hand.
Hard 169, 7Stand if the dealer has 2-6, otherwise hit for a new card.
Hard 1510, 5Stand if the dealer has 2-6, otherwise hit for a new card.
Hard 149, 5Stand if the dealer has 2-6, otherwise hit for a new card.
Hard 1310, 3Stand if the dealer has 2-6, otherwise hit for a new card.
Hard 129, 3Stand if the dealer has 2-6, otherwise hit for a new card.
Hard 119, 2Always double on your hand.
Hard 107, 3Stand if the dealer has 2-9, otherwise hit for a new card.
Hard 96, 3Stand if the dealer has 3-6, otherwise hit for a new card.
Hard 85, 3Always hit a new card.

When to Surrender?

When playing, especially blackjack online, you have a limited time to make your choice, and you might get in trouble if you don’t know if you should surrender. Not every variation allows it, but you should know that bad hands may happen and that coming out with half the bet is better than zero. These are two situations in which surrendering is a good idea:

  • If you have a hard 16 and the dealer has anything from 9 to Ace.
  • If you have a hard 15 and your dealer has 10.

As in online poker, which is not even near being a chance game like blackjack, it is essential to know when you cannot or will probably not win. Of course, there are other situations that you will learn with time, but these are the basic ones for a blackjack strategy.

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When to Split in Blackjack?

Whenever you have got a pair in your first hand in blackjack, you may split it. Splitting divides your hand into two, each one representing a full bet. There are situations in which you always split, while you can consider the dealer’s cards for most of the cases:

Your PairBasic Blackjack Strategy
Aces or 8sAlways split!
Tens, J, Q, or KNever split them!
9sOnly if the dealer’s card is 2 to 9, except 7. If not, stand with your total of 18.
7sOnly if the dealer’s card is 2 to 7. If not, hit because it is a low hand.
6sOnly if the dealer’s card is 2 to 6. If not, hit because it is a low hand.
5sOnly if the dealer’s card is 2 to 9. If not, hit because it is a low hand.
4sOnly if the dealer’s card is 5 or 6. If not, hit because it is a low hand.
3s or 2sOnly if the dealer’s card is 2 to 7. If not, hit because it is a low hand.

Counting Cards in Blackjack

The notorious blackjack strategy of counting cards has lost its magic over the years. Made famous by popular movies and because of the promise of making a profit from counting blackjack card values, it is not that useful anymore. You simply keep track of the cards at an impressive speed to know if higher or lower cards have a higher chance of appearing.

First of all, even when you play at physical casinos instead of online casinos in the Philippines, there are a few methods with which the house can avoid that behavior. Besides, it is nothing granted, and you cannot replicate it online. Therefore, focus on your blackjack strategy for the cards you see instead of counting their values to predict the next cards.

How to Use the Blackjack Strategies?

Together with the blackjack chart, our quick basic strategy guide tells you the best choice exactly in many possible scenarios. It is important to understand that, as in most games that pay real money, you can still lose, and the strategies are there only to reduce that chance.

Still, blackjack is among the best casino games that you can play individually or in live casinos due to the high RTP (Return to Player). All that you need is to have our chart and tables with you until you learn them by heart. When playing alone, you can always take a minute to check your next move here, as there is no quick timeout.

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Choosing the Right Blackjack Game

A lot of players do not know that, but your choice of a blackjack game can have a lot of impact on which strategies you can use. The main features you must pay attention to are the following:

  • 6:5 Blackjack – Look out for the payout of a blackjack (21) hand, which should be 3:2. Some games offer 6:5, which is not as interesting.
  • Dealer’s Soft 17 – You will traditionally find blackjack games in which the dealer stands on hard or soft 17, but that might not always be the case. It can impact your strategy, so make sure to have that cleared out.
  • Double-Down Rule – Check the rules of the blackjack game you picked to see in which situations you are allowed to double.
  • Single-Deck Blackjack – A single-deck blackjack is not the traditional pick, but it can reduce the house edge a bit. Still, do not try to count cards online, as it is useless.
  • Surrender – Sometimes, you just realize that your hand is bad against what the dealer might have, but not every blackjack variant allows you to surrender. It is always a good alternative to check if that is the case.
  • Double-Down After Splitting – The ability to double after splitting your hands and getting a pair is not always available. Therefore, check that before you enter a game if that may be part of your basic blackjack strategy.

Blackjack Basic Strategy Chart

You already know the basic actions with most of the possible hands you might get according to the dealer’s face-up card. Still, some players prefer to have a quick blackjack strategy chart that simply gives them the best action in a given scenario. We made that exactly, and it may assist you in countless scenarios:

Dealer’s Face-Up Card
Your Hand (HARD) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10, J, Q, K Ace
17 S S S S S S S S S S
16 S S S S S H H H H H
15 S S S S S H H H H H
14 S S S S S H H H H H
13 S S S S S H H H H H
12 H H S S S H H H H H
11 D D D D D D D D D D
10 D D D D D D D D H H
9 H D D D D H H H H H
8 or less H H H H H H H H H H
Dealers Face-Up Card table
Dealer’s Face-Up Card
Your Hand (SOFT) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10, J, Q, K Ace
A, 9 S S S S S S S S S S
A, 8 S S S S D/S S S S S S
A, 7 D/S D/S D/S D/S D/S S S H H H
A, 6 H D D D D H H H H H
A, 5 H H D D D H H H H H
A, 4 H H D D D H H H H H
A, 3 H H H D D H H H H H
A, 2 H H H D D H H H H H
Dealers Face-Up Card table 2
Dealer’s Face-Up Card
Your Hand (PAIR) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10, J, Q, K Ace
A, A Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
10, 10 N N N N N N N N N N
9, 9 Y Y Y Y Y N N Y N N
8, 8 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
7, 7 Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N N
6, 6 Y/N Y Y Y Y N N N N N
5, 5 N N N N N N N N N N
4, 4 N N N Y/N Y/N N N N N N
3, 3 Y/N Y/N Y Y Y Y N N N N
2, 2 Y/N Y/N Y Y Y Y N N N N
Dealers Face-Up Card table 3

How to Read the Blackjack Strategy Chart?

Our blackjack strategy chart is divided into three zones: hard hands, soft hands, and pair hands. From the beginning of the game, you will figure out which one is yours and apply the following meaning:

  • S = Stand.
  • H = Hit.
  • D = Double if available, if not hit.
  • D/S = Double if available, if not stand.
  • Y = Split.
  • N = Do not split.
  • Y/N = Only split if you can double afterward.

With that chart alone, you can face any blackjack game you want and have a way out, even if one or another feature is not available. If you want to know when to surrender as well, check our first strategies at the beginning of the guide, and good luck!

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FAQs

Counting cards establish that every card of 2-6 adds one to a count that starts in 0, 7 to 9 adds nothing, and 10 through Ace removes one from that sum. The higher the count, the better the chances of appearing high cards.
To win at blackjack games, you need to follow a good strategy and have 21 points or less than that and more than the dealer.
Doubling down is efficient when your hand shows a great chance of being improved to a high number with a new card. We identified those moments in our blackjack chart.
Splitting is ideal with 8s and Aces, while other hands depend on what the dealer has, according to the blackjack strategy chart.
Hitting is interesting when doubling is too risky, but you still have chances of getting a better hand with a third card.
You cannot guarantee that you will always win in blackjack because there is a high preponderance of luck in this game.
Yes, you may trust it because it contains all the best decisions in any given scenario according to the rules of the game.
We recommend putting them into practice, even if playing free blackjack first, to memorize them instead of trying to learn by heart just by reading our chart and strategies.
Yes, unless a specific feature like surrendering is not available.
With a hard 16 hand, you should stand for the dealer’s card up to 6 and hit if it is higher. In the case of a soft 16, you always hit and even double if the dealer has 4 to 6 in his hand.