Blackjack Strategy

Enhance Your Gameplay With Our Effective Guide to Blackjack Strategy. You’ll Find Tips, Tricks, Rules, Betting Systems, and More. Increase Your Odds of Winning at This Popular Casino Game!

Unlike other well-known casino games like video slots and roulette, your luck at the blackjack table isn’t purely based on chance. Unless you’re dealt a natural blackjack, every hand you receive requires a decision to be made. This means that having at least a basic understanding of blackjack strategy is essential. We’ve developed this guide to provide you with all the information you need to confidently play blackjack. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.

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Blackjack overview

Blackjack is a simple yet captivating game, once you grasp the mechanics. Let’s swiftly go through the fundamentals.

While there are various versions of blackjack, the main goal in each game is for both the player and the dealer to reach a total of 21 points without surpassing it. The game commences with the player making an initial bet. Then, two cards are dealt to the player, placed face-up on the table. Subsequently, the dealer receives two cards as well – one face-up and the other face-down.

The player takes the first action based on the combined value of their two cards and the value of the dealer’s face-up card. The standard options are:


  • Stand: This means that you choose to keep your current cards as your final hand.
  • Hit:

  • Recommendation: request an additional card. Players can request up to three additional cards to create a hand containing five cards.
  • Double Down*:

  • Double Down: increase your initial wager by double the amount and receive another card.
  • Split:

  • Split: if you have two cards with matching values, you have the option to split them and play two separate hands. *Note: This choice may not be available in all games, so it is advisable to review the game rules before participating.
  • After the player has completed their hand, the dealer will then play their hand. The winner is determined based on who obtains a sum of 21 points or closest to it without exceeding it. In the event of both hands having the same value, it is declared a tie, or “push,” and the original wager is returned to the player.

    Why use a blackjack strategy?

    Despite the objective of blackjack being for players and dealers to reach 21, the chance of winning is not 50/50. This is because players are required to take action first and may bust before the dealer even begins their turn. This advantage is what gives the casino its edge, consequently contributing to the house edge of each game.

    However, there is some good news for players, as dealers are obligated to follow a specific set of rules. It is the combination of playing second and these pre-determined rules that ultimately establish the house edge of blackjack. By adhering to basic blackjack strategy, this edge decreases to around 0.5%. Conversely, players without a clear strategy can expect their edge to increase significantly, ranging between 2-5%.

    Aside from adhering to the regulations, the key to triumph in blackjack lies in the realm of probability, which serves as the foundation for blackjack strategy. Consider a scenario in which a game with a solitary deck of 52 cards is played. Your hand consists of a 9 and a 5, amounting to a total of 14 points. The dealer’s face-up card is a 7. Out of the 49 cards that still remain unknown, 26 of them have the potential to result in a total of 21 or less, while the other 23 cards would cause your hand to go bust. Therefore, it is the mathematical principles behind blackjack strategy that guide one’s choices, rather than mere intuition or gut instinct.

    Basic Blackjack Strategy Rules

    When it comes to this fantastic game, it is advisable to regard basic blackjack strategy as your ticket to success. This guide focuses on outlining blackjack strategy for games played with four to eight decks, although each blackjack variation has its own unique strategies that are considered optimal. For example, the optimal strategy varies slightly depending on whether you are playing with one deck or eight decks. Additionally, specific rules, such as whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17, also impact the precise optimal strategy for that particular game.


    The strategy of surrender in blackjack is exactly what it sounds like. If you believe that you have a low chance of winning the hand, you can choose to “surrender” and receive half of your original bet back.

    There are two types of surrender available in blackjack: early surrender and late surrender. Late surrender is the more common option, which means that the dealer checks for blackjack before allowing players to surrender. This can result in players losing their entire bet. On the other hand, early surrender allows players to surrender before the dealer checks for blackjack, but this option is much less common.

    Not all blackjack games offer the surrender option, but if it is available, it is generally recommended to use it in the following situations:

    • Surrender if you have a hard 16 (unless you have a pair of 8s) and the dealer has a 9, 10, or Ace.
    • Surrender if you have a hard 15 and the dealer has a 10.


    If you receive two cards that have the same value, you have the option to separatethem and create two separate hands. This will increase your chances of getting a hand with a total of 21, as you will have more cards to play with. The number of times you can split your cards will depend on the specific game you are playing, but the maximum number of splits allowed is three, which means you would end up with a total of four hands. Here are the general guidelines for when you should split:

    • Always split Aces and 8s.
    • Never split 5s or 10s.
    • Split 2s and 3s if the dealer’s face-up card is a 4, 5, 6, or 7. If you are playing a game that allows for double after splitting (DAS), then also split if the dealer’s face-up card is a 2 or 3.
    • Only split 4s if the dealer’s face-up card is a 5 or 6 and double after splitting (DAS) is allowed.
    • Split 6s if the dealer’s face-up card is a 3, 4, 5, or 6. Also split against a 2 if double after splitting (DAS) is allowed.
    • If the dealer’s up card is a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7, split 7s.
    • If the dealer’s up card is a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, or 9 (note: not 7), split 9s.

    Double Down

    Double Down, also known as doubling, allows you to increase the size of your initial bet after seeing your first two cards and committing to stand on your third card.

    Different games have their own rules for doubling. Some variants only allow it with a hand totaling 9 or 10, while others allow it with 9, 10, and 11, and some even allow it with any total. Here are the rules that cover all formats:

    • If the dealer’s up card is a 3, 4, 5, or 6, double down on a hard 9.
    • Double down on a hard 10, unless the dealer has an Ace or 10 showing.
    • Double down on a hard 11, unless the dealer has an Ace showing.
    • If the dealer’s up card is a 5 or 6, double down on a soft 13 or 14.
    • Double down with a soft 15 or 16 if the dealer’s up card is a 4, 5, or 6.
    • Double down with a soft 17 or 18 if the dealer’s up card is a 3, 4, 5, or 6.

    Hit or Stand

    If neither of the preceding options is available, you have the choice to either hit—take another card—or stand—stick with your current hand. Here’s when you should hit or stand:

  • Always hit with a hard 11 or less.
  • Stand on a hard 12 if the dealer’s up card is a 4, 5, or 6.
  • Hit on a hard 12 if the dealer’s up card is higher than 6.
  • Stand on a hard 13, 14,15 or 16 if the dealer’s up card is a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6.
  • Hit on a hard 13, 14, 15 or 16 if the dealer’s card is higher than 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6.
  • Always stand on a hard 17 or higher.
  • Always hit on a soft 17 or lower.
  • Stand on a soft 18, unless the dealer has 9, 10 or Ace.
  • Always stand on a soft 19 or higher.
  • Games rules affecting house edge

    If you are curious about the reason why each variant of blackjack has a slightly varying house edge or RTP value, even when played with the same number of decks, it’s because the specific rules of the game impact the casino’s advantage. While certain rule variations can be advantageous for the player, others give an advantage to the casino. Let’s delve into this matter.

    Rules that favour players

    Blackjack pays 2:1- Blackjack typically pays out at a rate of 3:2, so when the payout is 2:1, it is advantageous for the player.

    Double After Splitting (DAS)- If a player is allowed to double their bet after splitting, it can reduce the house edge by approximately 0.1%.

    Player’s blackjack beats dealer’s- In most cases, when the player and dealer have the same hand, it results in a tie and the bet is returned. However, in some games, if the player has a blackjack and the dealer has a 21, the player’s blackjack wins.

    Early or late surrender-

  • Early or late surrender-The surrender option is advantageous for players as it allows them to avoid playing a hand that they are unlikely to win. Instead of losing their entire bet, they only forfeit half. Although early surrender is the most advantageous, both options provide the player with a benefit.
  • Double down on three or more cards-Many blackjack games only allow players to double down on their first two cards, so finding a table where you can double down on three or more cards gives you a distinct advantage.
  • Rules that favour dealers

    Blackjack payout is reduced to 1:1 –

  • The payout for a blackjack hand is reduced to 1:1 – This is a lower payout compared to the standard blackjack payout of 3:2, which gives the casino an advantage.
  • Restrictions on doubling down cards –

  • Restrictions are placed on which cards can be doubled down on – Blackjack tables that have restrictions on doubling down cards work in the casino’s favor, as it limits player choices.
  • No splitting Aces allowed –

  • Players are not allowed to split Aces – Certain games prevent players from splitting Aces, which is advantageous to the casino as it limits players’ options.
  • Dealer hits on soft 17 –

  • The dealer is allowed to hit on a soft 17 – In most variations of blackjack, the dealer stands on soft 17. However, giving the player the opportunity to hit can increase the casino’s edge by 0.2%.
  • Blackjack Betting Systems

    In a basic search on Google for ‘how to win at blackjack’, you will encounter numerous unique blackjack betting strategies and systems. Many boast about finding the key to consistently defeating the casino. Just by conducting a Google (or Youtube) search for ‘How to win at blackjack’, you will come across countless variations of betting strategies and systems. The majority claim to have discovered the secret to consistently outsmarting the casino. However, no strategy currently available, except for card counting, which is not feasible in online blackjack games, can completely overcome the house edge.

    However, this doesn’t mean they should be completely disregarded. Some blackjack betting systems serve as effective techniques for managing your bankroll while playing blackjack for an extended period of time. The two most popular betting systems for blackjack are flat betting and progressive betting, and here’s how they differ.

    Flat betting system

    The flat betting system is the most straightforward approach to blackjack betting. Regardless of whether you win or lose, you wager the same amount of money every hand. By combining flat betting with basic blackjack strategy, you can minimize your losses over an extended period of play. This approach prevents you from getting caught up in winning streaks and from increasing your bets in an attempt to recoup previous losses.

    Progressive betting system

    Progressive betting strategies involve players changing their bets based on the result of their previous hand. Positive progression involves increasing bets after a win and decreasing bets after a loss, while negative progression involves doing the opposite. Let’s examine the rationale behind each approach.

    Positive progression blackjack betting

    The concept behind any positive progression betting method is to increase your winnings during a winning streak, while keeping your losses low by placing smaller bets when the casino has the advantage. This strategy is beneficial for managing your bankroll as it allows you to stay at the table for a longer period compared to using a flat betting strategy.

    An example of a positive progression betting system is the Paroli system, which is widely favored by players due to its simplicity. The first step is to determine the amount you want to bet on each hand, let’s say it’s £10. Every time you win, you increase your bet by this amount. However, if you lose, you go back to the initial bet of £10.

    • Hand 1: bet £10. Win. Total +£10
    • Hand 2: bet £20. Win. Total +£30
    • Hand 3: bet £30. Win. Total +£60
    • Hand 4: bet £40. Lose. Total +£20
    • Hand 5: bet £10. Win. Total +£30

    The concept is essentially the same as flat betting because the initial bet remains unchanged. However, placing larger bets on winning hands allows for potential profit during a winning streak.

    Negative progression blackjack betting

    The negative progression betting strategy operates under the belief that even if you experience a series of consecutive losses, your luck will eventually turn around. By increasing your bets until you achieve a winning hand, you incur greater risk. Additionally, a larger bankroll is necessary to attempt this system, as it is possible to lose 10 or even 20 consecutive blackjack hands.

    The Martingale system

    The Martingale system is an illustration of negative progression betting in blackjack. By following the Martingale system, a player will double their bet after each loss. The underlying theory is that, when the player eventually wins a hand, they will make a profit of one betting unit.

  • Hand 1: bet £10. Lose. Total -£10
  • Hand 2: bet £20. Lose. Total -£30
  • Hand 3: bet £40. Lose. Total -£70
  • Hand 4: bet £80. Lose. Total -£150
  • Hand 5: bet £160. Win. Total +£10
  • As you can observe, nerves of steel and a substantial bankroll are necessary if you wish to utilize the Martingale betting system. Not only does this system require a large amount of money to cover a series of losses, but table limits can also pose a challenge. Therefore, the Martingale system is most suitable for high rollers playing on high stakes blackjack tables.

    Ready to play?

    If you’ve familiarized yourself with blackjack strategy, you’re likely eager to apply some of your newfound knowledge. Unsure of where to play blackjack online? Take a look at our compilation of the finest online blackjack sites to compare and select a preferred one, then proceed to sign up. Once your casino account has been verified, you can make a deposit and begin playing. The leading blackjack casinos offer a variety of payment methods, ensuring there is an option for everyone. Furthermore, remember to claim your bonus to enhance your blackjack bankroll even more.

    Frequently asked questions

    Can adherence to a blackjack tactics ensure victory?

    Nope. Despite the fact that adhering to a fundamental blackjack tactics can steer you towards conquering the dealer, it cannot provide an ironclad guarantee of victory in every instance. Implementing blackjack tactics relies on probability rather than offering assured outcomes.

    Is the insurance bet a good way to win at blackjack?

    No. The cardinal principle when it comes to online blackjack is to steer clear of insurance bets. Insurance bets consistently carry a substantial house advantage, thereby tipping the scales in favor of the casino in the grand scheme of things. While there is a slim possibility of striking it lucky with an insurance bet, this approach is not a viable means of accruing earnings in the realm of blackjack.

    How can I be certain online blackjack games are fair?

    At, we exclusively collaborate with online casinos that possess a valid UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) license. This ensures that you can enjoy a secure and trustworthy blackjack gaming experience, no matter whether you prefer playing on your desktop or mobile device. To demonstrate their commitment to player safety and fairness, the UKGC conducts regular audits of these gambling sites. These audits verify that these casinos employ advanced technologies like Random Number Generators (RNG) to ensure fair play.

    Can I use blackjack strategy on live dealer blackjack games?

    Certainly. Whether you’re playing RNG or live dealer blackjack, it is essential to employ and implement basic blackjack strategy. Numerous live dealer blackjack tables are available for you to test your blackjack strategy, with PlayTech and Microgaming leading the way.

    What’s the difference between a hard and soft hand in blackjack?

    In the game of blackjack, a hand is considered ‘soft’ when the total score is dependent on an Ace being counted as 11. On the other hand, a ‘hard’ hand does not rely on the Ace in this way. For instance, if a hand has an Ace and a 6, it is considered a soft 17. However, if a hand has a 9 and an 8, it is classified as a hard 17.

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