The Basic Blackjack Strategy

As one of the most popular casino table games, blackjack offers players the opportunity to test their wits against the dealer and potentially walk away with substantial winnings. At the heart of any successful blackjack player’s arsenal lies the basic blackjack strategy, a set of guidelines that optimize decision-making and minimize the house edge.

Mastering the art of blackjack requires a combination of skill, strategy, and a deep understanding of the game’s mechanics. This comprehensive guide breaks down basic blackjack strategy, equipping you with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions at the table and maximize your winning potential.

Whether you’re a seasoned player looking to refine your skills or a newcomer eager to learn the ropes, this article will provide you with a solid foundation for playing blackjack. We’ll cover topics such as hand rankings, basic strategy charts, and the importance of understanding the game’s odds. By the end of this guide, you’ll be well-versed in the fundamentals of basic blackjack strategy and ready to put your newfound knowledge into practice. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of blackjack, where strategy and luck converge to create an exhilarating gaming experience.

Basic Blackjack Strategy

The basic strategy is a well-defined strategy for every hand based on yours and the dealer’s up card. Sticking to it minimizes the house edge. Guessing or playing hunches is a recipe for trouble.

Hit or stand

  • Hit on hard 11 or less.
  • Stand on hard 12 vs. dealer’s 4, 5, or 6; otherwise hit.
  • Stand on hard 13, 14, 15, and 16 vs. a dealer’s 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6; otherwise hit.
  • Stand on hard 17 or greater.
  • Stand on soft 18 but hit vs. dealer’s 9, 10, Ace.
  • Stand on soft 19 or greater.


  • Double hard 9’s vs. dealer’s 3, 4, 5, or 6.
  • Double hard 10 except vs. dealer’s 10 or Ace.
  • Double hard 11 except vs. dealer’s Ace.
  • Double soft 13 or 14 vs. dealer’s 5 or 6.
  • Double soft 15 or 16 vs. dealer’s 4 or 6.
  • Double soft 17 vs. 18 vs. dealer’s 3 or 6.


  • Split Aces and 8’s.
  • Do not split 5’s and 10’s.
  • Split 2’s and 3’s against dealer’s 4, 5, 6, or 7.
  • Split 6’s against dealer’s 3, 4, 5, or 6.
  • Split 7’s against dealer’s 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7.
  • Split 9’s against a dealer’s 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 8,9, but not 7.

Additional Rules

Surrender (check beforehand if this is an option)

  • Surrender a hard 16, but never a pair of 8’s against dealer’s 9, 10, or Ace.
  • Surrender a hard 15 against a dealer’s 10.

For games where the dealer hits on soft 17, consider the following adjustments:

  • Double 11 vs. dealer’s Ace.
  • Double soft 18 vs. dealer’s 2.
  • Double soft 19 vs. dealer’s 6.
  • Surrender 15, 8’s, and 17 vs. dealer’s Ace.

Remember, mastering Blackjack strategy minimizes the house edge, but it doesn’t guarantee wins. Lady Luck still has a say. However, with a cool head and a strategic approach, you’ll be a much tougher opponent at the Blackjack table.