Hobbies Card Games & Gambling Basic Strategy for Blackjack Share PINTEREST Email Print Duncan Nicholls / Simon Webb102284502 Card Games & Gambling Blackjack Gambling Strategies & Tips Casinos Sports Gambling Poker By Al Moe Al W. Moe is an award-winning author and historian of Nevada casinos. He is a graduate of the University of Nevada-Reno Gaming Management Program. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Al Moe Updated January 28, 2019 Increase your wins at blackjack by learning the mathematically proven rules called basic strategy. By following these rules you can reduce the house edge to as low as half of a percent, making blackjack one of the five best casino bets! Each casino has their own set of rules, and basic strategy varies slightly by how many decks are in use. If you have a choice and all the tables have the same rules, choose a single deck, which has slightly better odds for the player. Multiple deck (shoe) games and continuous shufflers would be chosen next. If the six-deck shoes offer better rules such as re-splitting aces and double down on any two cards, that would be a good choice. Don't expect to win very often if the casino pays 6 to 5 on a blackjack instead of the standard 7.5 to 5. That's a deal breaker as far as I am concerned. Basic Strategy You can play basic strategy by using the formula shown below. It is simplified for all blackjack game styles except European no-peak and games that offer surrender. You can still use it for those games, but learning surrender rules will improve your wins. To follow the rules, simply look at your first two cards and then look at the dealer's upcard and follow the rules. Regardless of what the dealer has up, you will always split, double down, or hit until you get at least a hard 12. If you are new at the game, you should learn how to play blackjack first. Start with your first two cards and check the list: Hard Hand 12: Stand against a dealer upcard of 4, 5 or 6, otherwise hit13: Stand against a dealer upcard of 2 through 6, otherwise hit14: Stand against a dealer upcard of 2 through 6, otherwise hit15: Stand against a dealer upcard of 2 through 6, otherwise hit16: Stand against a dealer upcard of 2 through 6, otherwise hit17: Stand on 17 or higher unless you have a split or soft hand Hard Doubles 9: double against a dealer upcard of 3 through 6, otherwise hit10: double against a dealer upcard of 2 through 9, otherwise hit11: double against a dealer upcard of 2 through 10, otherwise hit Pair Splits 2/2: Split against a dealer upcard of 2 through 7, otherwise hit3/3: Split against a dealer upcard of 2 through 7, otherwise hit4/4: Hit5/5: Use doubling rules as a ten6/6: Split against a dealer upcard of 2 through 6, otherwise hit7/7: Split against a dealer upcard of 2 through 7, otherwise hit8/8: Always split9/9: Always split except against a dealer upcard of 7, 10 or ace10/10: Never splitA/A: Always split Soft Hands A2/A3: Double down against a dealer upcard of 5 or 6, otherwise hitA4/A5: Double down against a dealer upcard of 4, 5, or 6, otherwise hitA6: Double against a dealer upcard of 3, 4, 5 or 6, otherwise hitA7: Double against a dealer upcard of 3, 4, 5 or 6. Stand against 2, 7 or 8. Hit against a 9, ten or ace. If you can learn these rules and resist the urge to vary from them because you have a "hunch" (casinos love hunch betters!), you will do very well.