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Blackjack Strategy Guide – The Best Charts and Tips

Blackjack Strategy Guide – The Best Charts and Tips

Blackjack is a popular casino game that becomes a lot more fun to play if you know what you’re doing, and that’s where blackjack strategies come in. If you want to play blackjack online at Britain Play Online Casino UK, learning about basic blackjack strategy will help you improve your odds and avoid the most common mistakes players tend to make. Our blackjack basic strategy guide will give you the best tips to play perfect strategy blackjack, how to read blackjack strategy charts, and the key rules from this strategy to level up your blackjack game.

Blackjack Terminology

Before you start learning about blackjack basic strategy, there are a number of blackjack blackjack terms you should know the meaning of. These terms are important because you’ll encounter them often if you use a blackjack sheet strategy chart, which indicates what action you should take.

  • Blackjack - If you’re dealt an Ace and a card with a value of 10, this is called a blackjack or natural blackjack. It’s the best possible hand you can get in blackjack, and it pays 3:2, the highest payout you can win in this game.
  • Hit - Asking the dealer for an additional card once the first two are dealt is referred to as ‘hitting’.
  • Stand - Standing means that you want to keep your initial cards so the dealer won’t add an extra card to your hand.
  • Double Down - This refers to doubling your initial bet in exchange for an additional card.
  • Split - Splitting your cards into two separate hands by placing an additional bet equal to your original wager on the new hand. The dealer will deal one additional card to each hand, so you’ll have two hands with two cards each.
  • Surrender - Some blackjack games allow you to surrender your cards if you’re dealt a bad hand. This returns half of your stake, and you surrender your cards. It’s important to note that not all blackjack games allow you to do this.
  • Bust - If the total value of your cards exceeds 21, you automatically lose. This is known as busting.
  • Push - A push is when your hand and the dealer’s are of equal value, resulting in a tie. This is known as a push and your bet will be refunded in this case.
  • Insurance Bet - This is an additional bet that becomes available if the dealer’s first card is an Ace. In this case, you’ll be offered the chance to take insurance, which will cost you half of your original stake. If the dealer gets a blackjack, you get a payout of 2:1, but if they don’t have blackjack, you lose the bet.

Blackjack Basic Strategy

Put simply, basic blackjack strategy is meant to be the most optimal way of playing blackjack online. This simple blackjack strategy is a detailed list of rules which explain the best course of action for each hand you’re dealt, depending on what the dealer’s upcard is. For any two cards you’re dealt and any dealer’s card, you can use a basic blackjack strategy chart to see what to do. To use it, you can calculate the total value of your hand and follow the sheet to see whether you should hit, stand, double down, or split. It’s important not to underestimate the importance of the dealer’s card if you want to master a near perfect blackjack strategy because it makes all the difference. For example, if you have a hand value of nine and the dealer has a two, you should hit, but if the dealer has a three, doubling down would be the best move to make. Basic blackjack strategy is considered the best way to play the game and will definitely give you better winning odds compared to playing blackjack randomly. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a guaranteed blackjack winning strategy. There will still be losing hands throughout the game because this game is not just about skill. If you’re dealt a weak hand, and the dealer has a strong card, the chances of winning will be very low even if you follow the blackjack strategy guide to a T. With that said, it can be somewhat overwhelming to get started with this blackjack online strategy because there are so many different combinations of cards to consider. So, we’ve summarised the most crucial rules from basic strategy. You don’t need to memorise the entire strategy card, but it will definitely be helpful to remember the following key rules:

Stand on 17+

The most important rule to remember when playing blackjack is that you always stand on 17 or higher, even if the dealer has a high card. The chances of busting if you hit are too high to risk.

Double Down on 11

A hard is 11 is one of the best blackjack hands, which is why basic strategy states you should take advantage of this hand by doubling down on it. This will give you another card, and if you get a 10, you get a total of 21. If not, you know you can’t bust on this hand.

Split 8s and Aces

Another golden rule in blackjack games is that you should always split a pair of eights or a pair of Aces, regardless of the dealer’s upcard.

Never Split 10s

One pair that should never be split, on the other hand, is a pair of 10s. A total of 20 is practically the strongest hand you can have in the game, whereas splitting the pair will give you two weak starting hands.

Hit on Ace-7 for Dealer’s 9, 10, or Ace

If you have a soft 18 (Ace and seven), it’s better to hit if the dealer has anything higher than an eight because they have a chance of getting a higher hand than yours.

Only Stand with 12 on Dealer’s 4, 5, or 6

Hitting on a 12 can be risky because if you get a 10, you bust, but basic strategy states that you should hit because this is a very weak hand against the dealer. The only exception is if the dealer has anything between a four and a six.

Stand with 13, 14, 15, or 16 on Dealer’s 2 through 6

If the dealer has a low card, which means anything between two and six (including these numbers), the best move is to stand if you have anything between 13 and 16. Although these are all weak hands, especially 13 to 15, the dealer has a good chance of busting since they must keep hitting until they reach 17.

Soft and Hard Hands in Blackjack

Something you might notice when using a blackjack strategy card is a distinction between soft and hard hands. The difference between the two types of blackjack hands is that soft hands are made up of an Ace and any other card, while hard hands don’t have an Ace. An Ace in your hand makes a very significant difference because in blackjack, the Ace card has two possible values. It can count as a one or an 11, depending on which value gives you a better score. For example, if you have an Ace and a six, this can count as a seven or a 17. It’s necessary to understand the difference between these hands when you’re playing at Britain Play’s live casino because soft hands are often played differently than hard hands, as we’ll illustrate in the following sections.

Soft Hands Hard Hands
Flexible value Fixed value
Contains an Ace card Doesn't contain an Ace card

Blackjack Strategy for Soft Hands

As mentioned above, the strategy required to play soft hands is different because you’ll need to make different decisions with this type of hand. A soft hand always gives you more flexibility when it comes to playing your hand because of the fact that the Ace doesn’t have a fixed number of points, which means that in most cases, you can afford to risk taking another card because if the value of that cards takes you total over 21, the Ace will be assigned a value of one instead. Let’s take a look at all the possible scenarios you can have and what you should do for any dealer’s card, according to a basic strategy chart:

Dealer’s card is 2 - 6 Dealer’s card is 7 - Ace
Soft 13 -15 Hit Hit
Soft 16 -18 Double Down Hit
Soft 19 - 21 Stand Stand

Blackjack Strategy for Hard Hands

Hard hands should be approached differently because, in most cases, you need to be more careful when hitting and follow basic strategy as much as possible. As a rule of thumb, if the dealer has a low card (from two to six), you can risk standing and hope that they bust. Remember, the dealer must keep drawing cards until they reach 17, so the chances of busting when they have a small card are higher. If the dealer has a high upcard and your total is between 14 and 16, you can still risk hitting because the chances are that the dealer will get a higher value anyway. The table below explains exactly how you should play any hard hand, depending on what the dealer is showing:

Hard Hand Dealer’s card is 2 - 6 Dealer’s card is 7 - Ace
4 - 8 Hit Hit
9 Double Down Hit
10 or 11 Double Down Double, but hit if dealer has an Ace or 10
12 - 16 Stand Hit
17 - 21 Stand Stand

Blackjack Strategy for Splitting Hands

Another important skill to master when you play blackjack is knowing which pairs to split and which ones to play as they are. Remember, splitting will double your initial bet, but it can be advantageous if you split the right pairs. The table below lists all the pairs which should be split, according to what the dealer is holding, and which pairs shouldn’t be split if you’re following basic strategy charts:

Pair Dealer's card is 2 - 6 Dealer’s card is 7 - Ace
2s, 3s, 6s, 7s, or 9s Split Don't split
8s or Aces Split Split
4s, 5s, or 10s Don't split Don't split

On a final note, if you prefer not to split your pairs, then the correct way to play them would be to treat them as a hard hand. For example, if you have a pair of threes, follow the usual blackjack strategies for a hard six.

Composition Blackjack Strategy

Composition blackjack strategy is a more complex version of the usual basic strategy that takes into account the composition of your hand, not just the total value. This strategy is ideal for more advanced players, so if you’re still a beginner, it’s better to play blackjack with basic strategy because this can get very complicated. This advanced blackjack strategy can slightly lower the house edge, but the difference is minor. Ultimately, it’s not a flawless strategy that can guarantee a 100% success rate. No strategy will ensure you’ll win any online casino games all the time. With that in mind, here are some useful tips for using composition-dependent basic strategy for those who might be interested in using it:

  • There are different strategies according to the number of decks used in the game. Make sure you’re choosing the correct one based on the game rules you’re playing with if you want to follow it correctly.
  • This strategy has the best odds of success if the dealer stands on any 17. There are blackjack variations where the dealers stand on soft 17 only.
  • With fewer decks in the game, your odds of winning using this strategy will be slightly improved.

Below is a quick example to illustrate the difference between following basic strategy and a composition dependent strategy in blackjack, using a hand with a value of 12 as an example:

Hand Regular Basic Strategy Composition Dependent Basic Strategy
Hard 12 Stand against dealer’s 4, 5, or 6, and hit on the dealer’s 2, 3, 7, and upwards. Stand if you have a 7-5, 8-4, or 9-3, but hit or double down if you have a 10-2.

Card Counting Strategy

The blackjack card counting strategy is something many will be familiar with because it’s often represented as that winning blackjack strategy from famous Hollywood movies. However, these representations have contributed to some misconceptions about card counting because it’s actually a lot harder than it looks. Although not illegal, card counting is a strategy that’s frowned upon in land-based casinos. If you play online blackjack, you don’t have to worry about being a subtle card counter, but unfortunately, it’s not nearly as effective. Card counting is a system of assigning a value to each card and keeping a running count to determine whether you have an advantage on the next round. To keep track of the cards, the following values should be assigned accordingly:

Cards Assigned Value
Cards 2 - 6 +1
Cards 7 – 9 0
Face Cards & Aces -1

The premise of the blackjack counting strategy is quite simple: if you have a positive count, you raise your bet, but if the count is negative, you do the opposite. Once you put it into practice, it gets more complicated than that because there are other elements to consider. For example, you need to keep track of how many decks have been used and know when to deviate from basic strategy based on your count.

How to Choose the Best Blackjack Strategy for You?

Basic strategy is not the only one that exists, although the basic strategy blackjack odds are the highest if the strategy is followed accurately. Nevertheless, if you’re exploring other strategies, here’s what you’ll want to keep in mind to choose the right strategy for yourself. The first is your level of experience in the game. If you’re a beginner still learning the basic skills of the game, we suggest choosing a simple blackjack strategy that’s easy to follow. If you’re considering using a betting strategy like the Martingale strategy, for example, make sure it fits your bankroll. Some strategies require big bets that are quite risky. Finally, think about how committed you are to learning a strategy. A blackjack strategy like card counting, for example, takes a lot of time and practice to master, so if you’re not willing to put in the practice, it’s much better to stick to a simpler system with clear instructions like using a basic blackjack strategy chart. Whichever blackjack strategy you decide to use, remember to keep our responsible gaming tips in mind and play safely. You might also want to check out our promotions page to see if there are any bonuses you might be able to use to play blackjack games, subject to applicable terms and conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Blackjack Strategy and Charts

What is the best blackjack strategy?

The best strategy for blackjack is generally considered to be the basic blackjack strategy.

How do I memorise all the blackjack charts?

The best way to memorise a blackjack basic strategy chart is to put it into practice. You can play in demo mode or try a basic strategy simulator to practice without the risk of losing money. However, it’s not actually necessary to memorise a strategy chart because you can always keep it beside you for easy reference, even if you’re playing in a land-based casino.

How to play blackjack?

To play blackjack, you first need to sign up for an account at Britain Play, then choose which one of our blackjack games you want to play. Place your stake to start the game. You can use basic strategy to help assist your decision-making in the game if you need it.

Can I use a basic betting strategy in blackjack?

Definitely. There’s more than one betting strategy blackjack method you can use, not only basic strategy, but this is the most recommended one for online casino blackjack players.

All values (Bet Levels, Maximum Wins etc.) mentioned in relation to any game are subject to change at any time.

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