Blackjack Strategy

The Advantages of Using Strategy in Blackjack

Blackjack strategy is a series of theories, compiled from mathematical trends and tried and tested through computer simulations that can accurately predict the outcome of a player’s hand when following certain playing guidelines. Using basic strategy when playing Blackjack can effectively minimise the house edge of the game and simultaneously increase the player’s winning chances, making it an attractive prospect to perform some lightweight research before trying one’s luck. Many players choose to begin this learning process by consulting one of many basic strategy charts available online or featured in articles or books.

When to Split

Splitting involves a hand containing two of the same cards. The pair of cards is split into two separate hands, each worth the amount of the original bet. Blackjack players may only split on their first move, and should note that if they do not wish to split, they may ask for a hit, or additional card, on any of these combinations. A player is advised to split when he holds:

  • A pair of Ace cards or 8’s
  • A pair of 2’s or 3’s: split if the dealer’s card is a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7
  • A pair of 4’s: split if the dealer holds a 5 or 6
  • A pair of 6’s: split if the dealer holds a 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6
  • A pair of 7’s: split if the dealer’s card is a 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6
  • A pair of 9’s: split if the dealer holds any card from 2 to 6, or an 8 or 9

 

When to Double Down

When a player doubles, the value of their bet is doubled and they are allowed to take a single additional card. Blackjack players may only double down on their first move, either with their original hand or a hand created by splitting a pair of cards. As with splitting, players who do not wish to double may hit instead. Players are advised to double when they hold:

  • A hard 11: double if the dealer holds a card from 2 to 10, but hit if he holds an Ace
  • An Ace and a 2 or Ace and a 3: double if the dealer’s card is a 5 or a 6
  • An Ace and a 4 or Ace and a 5: double if the dealer’s card is a 4, 5 or 6
  • An Ace and a 6: double if the dealer holds a 3, 4, 5 or 6
  • An Ace and a 7: double if the dealer holds a 3, 4, 5, or 6
  • A pair of 5’s: double if the dealer’s card has any value from 2 to 9

When to Stand:

In Blackjack, standing refers to a player not taking an additional card. Blackjack strategy suggests that players should stand, or alternatively request a hit, when holding:

  • A hard 12: stand if the dealer’s hand contains a 4, 5 or 6
  • A hard 13, 14, 15 or 16: stand if the dealer is holding a card from 2 to 6
  • An Ace and a 7: stand if the dealer’s card is a 2, 7 or 8
  • A pair of 9’s: stand if the dealer’s card is a 7, 10 or Ace card

Players are also urged to always stand upon holding these card combinations:

  • A hard 17, 18, 19, 20 or 21
  • An Ace and 8 or Ace and 9 combination
  • A pair of 10’s.

By using these simple strategies you can increase your chances of having a winning hand and make the most out of every hand of 21 played.