Blackjack Basic Strategy

The Basic Strategy of blackjack is the most statistically efficient set of actions that a player can make in a game. There are charts that cover every possible action in every conceivable playing situation, but most of the actions can be remembered without memorizing entire charts. When one plays blackjack and makes the right move very single time, the house advantage can be brought to lower than one percent. A one percent house advantage essentially means that for every 100 hands you can expect to lose approximately the value of one of your average bets. A few mistakes per hour can greatly increase the house’s advantage, so it is important to stick as close to the Basic Strategy as possible, despite any “intuitive” or emotional hunches you might have; trust the math. The following tips and strategies are for standard games with between four and eight decks of cards.

Insuring and Surrendering

Unless you are counting cards, do not insure your hands against ace up cards. The four instances in which you should surrender if you are allowed are when you have 16 against a nine, ten or ace, and when you have 15 against a ten.

Hitting or Standing

Whether or not you should hit or stand is as dependent upon your own total as it is upon the dealer’s up card. Since you must always assume that the dealer has a ten as the hole card, you should act accordingly. Stand with any hand that has the potential to bust—go over a total of 21—if a dealer shows an up card that is a six or lower, with the exception of 12, which you must hit against the up cards two and three. Double 11 against everything except an ace. Double 10 against everything but a ten or an ace. Double a total of nine against anything under a seven, with the exception of twos. Always stand on a hard total between 17 and 20. Unless you are doubling, any total under 17 should always be hit against an up card higher than a seven.


You can split, and sometimes re-split, any two cards that are of the same value—but aces can only be split once. Some splits are made to protect you from losses, and some are made to maximize profits. When you should split and when you should hit or double is dependent on your card combination and the dealer’s up card. Eights and aces must always be split, since 16 is a very weak hand and each of the aces has the chance of being turned into a 21. Tens and fives are never split, since twenty is already a strong hand and a ten can be hit or doubled. Pairs of two and three should always be split up to seven. Split everything but tens and fives against anything between two and six, with the exception of four, which only splits against five and six.

Soft Totals

A soft total is a card combination with an ace that counts as both a one and an eleven. Use the rules for hitting and standing on all of the soft totals that do not double. A8 and A9 are never hit, since they are already 19 and 20, respectively. A6 and A7 double against up cards from three to six. A4 and A5 double against four, five and six. A2 and A3 double against five and six.

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Author Kingsino Staff
Date August 21 2012
Tags Blackjack, Basic Strategy, Guide