Blackjack Basic Strategy
Written by Matt
Published date · June 22, 2022 | Last Updated · June 15, 2023 | Read Time: 4 mins
When you want to know how to master the blackjack table and learn the basic strategy of blackjack odds, this is the only place you need to be. In just a couple of minutes, we’ll guide you through the basics of blackjack, how you can play blackjack, and the key card values you need to know. From there, you’ll get insider hints and tips for your blackjack strategy practice and all the terminology you’ll need to master the game. All you have to do now is keep reading and take your game to the next level.
What is Blackjack?
Blackjack is the world’s most popular casino game and a member of the Twenty-One class of games that you may already know about. Pontoon is another member, and they’re all based around the same aim: to get closer to 21 with the value of your cards than the dealer.
The game is played with anywhere from six to eight 52-card decks; all shuffled together. The game starts when the dealer takes two cards and deals you two cards. We’ll focus on a 6-deck blackjack basic strategy for the remainder of this article, but the key points are the same for a beginner.
To make winning bets on your hand, you need to know basic blackjack strategy odds. The odds are linked to the probability of beating the dealer without going bust. Going bust is when the total value of your hand exceeds 21.
Blackjack Rules for Beginners
You want to get as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it. If you can get a higher value hand than the dealer, you will win the game, and the house loses. You take alternate goes to draw a card with the dealer, placing bets at the start of each round if you wish.
There are various blackjack games, such as pontoon, 21, face-up, perfect blackjack, and European blackjack. The main differences tend to be on the value of the aces, your ability to split, the number of decks dealt, and the role of the dealer.
Blackjack Card Values
In blackjack, all of the numbered cards will have their face value fixed at all times. For example, picture cards take a value of 10, while aces can be 1 or 11. You can change the value of your ace(s) at a later part of the game.
Basic Strategy of Blackjack for Beginners
The following 5 key points make up a solid basic blackjack strategy:
- First, stand your hand when its value is 12-16 if the dealer has 2-6.
- Then, hit if you have 12-16 had the dealer has 7-Ace.
- Next, split your aces and 8s to maximise your chances of winning.
- Double down if you have 11 and the dealer has 2-10.
- Double when you have Aces-6.
While basic strategy is good if you want to introduce the game, advanced techniques will be required to win big. Counting cards, looking for deviations and assessing dynamic olds all come into the picture here. It’s hard to put an exact number on how often a basic strategy will be effective. However, the second hit chances of winning will improve with your ability. The more you play, the more likely you are to put things into practice at the right moment.
Take a common example: deciding to hit or stay on 16. You are 5 away from 21 but only 6 away from going bust. Because 6 is in the middle of the range of 1-11 on offer, you might think it’s about 50:50 you’ll win. In truth, studies show you will only win 25% of the time if you hit on 16. If in doubt, play conservative and stick to avoid going bust and throwing it all away.
Can You Split Aces Twice in Blackjack?
When playing blackjack, players can usually only split aces once during a single game. However, some land-based Las Vegas casinos and some online casinos allow players to split aces twice, so always double-check the casino’s specific rules.
To conclude, aces can be worth either 1 or 11, depending on the total value of your hand. This means that aces are an incredibly powerful card in blackjack, regardless of whether you are playing online or in a land-based casino. Therefore, by playing aces carefully, players can greatly increase their chances of winning a blackjack game.
Blackjack Terminology You Need to Know
Every blackjack basic strategy trainer will expect you to know a few common phrases to understand the flow of the game.
‘Hit’ means you want to draw again from the deck of cards, whereas ‘Stick’ means you’re staying with your hand. ‘Fold’ means you resign, and the dealer is declared the winner, irrespective of the value of the dealer cards. Finally, if you decide to ‘Stand’, you want to hold your current cards and let the next round begin. This can be a high stakes way of putting pressure on the opposing player.
‘Doubling down’ is another common term you will hear around the blackjack table. It means you are going to double your initial bet in exchange for an extra card. Once this is done, the round automatically ends, and it’s back to the dealer.
Now you’ve had a quick introduction to blackjack; you’re ready to play. Put the beginner strategies into practice, and you’ll gradually improve your chances of winning.