If you learn nothing else, at least learn how to play blackjack according to basic strategy. Basic strategy tells you the best mathematical way to play any hand you’re dealt.
BLACKJACK STRATEGY CHARTS (Click on the links below to jump to specific strategy chart):
- Blackjack Basic Strategy Chart
- Single Deck Basic Strategy Chart
- Double Deck Basic Strategy Chart
- 4-8 Multi-Deck Strategy Chart
- Download Blackjack Strategy Charts in PDF / PNG formats
This takes the guesswork out of whether you should hit, stand, double, split or surrender. Using basic strategy will typically lower the house edge down to just .5% or less depending on the specific table rules and number of decks being used.
Using basic strategy alone isn’t enough to give you an edge over the house, but it will at least have you losing at a slower rate than most players. That’s a start!
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I’ve broken this page into the following sections – Click on the links below to jump to that section:
- What is Basic Strategy in Blackjack?
- Blackjack Strategy Operations
- What Blackjack Charts Are
- How to Memorize Blackjack Charts
- Basic Strategy Charts (Broken into Single, Double and Multi-Deck)
- Key Takeaways
Millions of people play blackjack, be it in land-based or online casinos. The game has simple rules to attract casual gamblers and multi-layered gameplay to gather the most experienced players.
Many beginners make the mistake of assuming that the goal is to get as close to 21 without going over. While this is technically accurate, the main objective of blackjack is to beat the dealer while also trying to score a blackjack. To do that, players often need to make difficult decisions that can make or break a gambling session.
Once you have a good enough grasp on the basic blackjack rules, the next step is to learn and understand how to successfully increase your chances of winning.
Seasoned players already know most steps by heart, but those just starting their blackjack journey might need help. That’s where blackjack charts come in. Read the following guide to learn about blackjack chart variations and how to use them to your advantage.
Blackjack Basic Strategy Chart
Before going into further details about the blackjack charts, variations, and rules, we should explain the concept of a basic blackjack strategy. Even the most experienced and successful players started their journey by nailing the basic strategy and expanding their knowledge through regular practice.
The basic strategy uses statistical probabilities to calculate the most optimal move in any circumstance based on the dealer’s starting card and your cards. The main objective while using a basic strategy is not only to maximize your winnings through doubling down but to win as often as possible.
Note: If the multi-deck game you’re playing has the dealer “hitting on Soft 17”, then you would double A,8 vs 6 and double A,7 vs 2.
Using a basic strategy will also reduce your chances of busting and, in some cases, minimize your expected losses by choosing not to double down or surrender. As with any casino game, the house will always have a slight edge, including blackjack being played with standard rules, but by using basic strategy in blackjack, the house edge will be reduced significantly.
It’s worth mentioning that the basic strategy does not consider cards previously used in hands or other players’ cards which would obviously affect subsequent cards. However, this does not pose a problem when playing blackjack online, as the cards are always shuffled after each round.
Taking a look at the essential blackjack strategy guide, you will start to notice general patterns on where exactly to stand and hit. For instance, you will always hit when your hand value is below 11 and always stand when your hand value is 17 or higher unless you have a soft hand.
The ideal way to quickly learn basic strategy is to pay attention to the borderline hands instead of learning all the possible hands off by heart. For instance, when a dealer displays a 7, the strategy recommended for most player hands will change drastically as opposed to the dealer displaying a 6.
What is Basic Strategy in Blackjack?
Basic strategy is essentially the best way in which you can play blackjack. It’s formulated using statistical probabilities in order to calculate the most optimal move in any circumstance based on the dealer’s starting card and your cards. The main objective while using basic strategy is not only to maximise your winnings through doubling down, but to win as often as possible as well.
Using basic strategy will also ensure your chances of busting is reduced, and in some cases, minimise your expected losses by choosing not to double down or by surrendering. As with any casino game, the house will always have a slight edge, including blackjack being played with standard rules, but by using basic strategy in blackjack the house edge will be reduced significantly.
It’s worth mentioning that basic strategy does not consider cards that were previously used in hands or other player’s cards which would obviously have an affect on subsequent cards. However, this does not pose a problem when playing blackjack online as the cards are always shuffled after each round.
While playing blackjack with 6 decks of playing cards for instance, you will notice that there are 312 cards in total with 24 of each card value. Therefore, unless you consider the odds of 1 card that has managed to appear more than 15 times in a hand, its negligible.
The permutations and statistical calculations forming the basis of the basic blackjack strategy table won’t be included in this article.
The table is considered a robust guide and trying to explain how every decision is calculated is quite irrelevant as the end result will basically remain the same. If you consider yourself a newcomer to the world of online blackjack, we highly recommend keeping this handy for quick reference.
You can either print it out or keep it open on your desktop while you play. You will soon notice that the more you play, the less you’ll need our guide to make the optimal decision, regardless of the situation. You will eventually be able to play blackjack, while using basic strategy, without taking a peek at the blackjack pairs chart.
Taking a look at the basic blackjack strategy guide, you will start to notice general patterns on where exactly to stand and hit. For instance, you will always hit when your hand value is below 11 and will always stand when your hand value is 17 or higher, unless you have a soft hand.
The most ideal way to quickly learn basic strategy is to pay attention on the borderline hands as oppose to learning all the possible hands off by heart. For instance, when a dealer displays a 7 the strategy recommended for most player hands will chance drastically as oppose to the dealer displaying a 6.
Blackjack Strategy Operations
The basic blackjack strategy chart will outline the best possible decision for those that don’t count cards. It goes without saying that the cards which constitute a hand, without the inclusion of an Ace, will have an impact on the chances of making a correct decision in certain scenarios. However, this is only applicable in a handful of scenarios where the blackjack variation uses one deck of playing cards. With that said, this is irrelevant when playing blackjack online. This type of strategy is known as composition-dependent instead of total-dependent as it doesn’t deviate from the basic blackjack strategy, regardless of what is displayed in your hand.
Besides hitting or standing, you’ll have several other operations you can include in your gameplay. Check them out below.
Always remember to split when you have a pair of Aces. Even though you will only receive one additional card on both your Aces, always keep in mind that 11 is an excellent starting point even if you are limited to only one card. It remains the best option to take with a pair of Aces. In addition, the same steps can be taken when you receive a pair of 8’s. For all other scenarios when it comes to splitting your hand, please refer to the above basic blackjack strategy chart.
Simply put, never consider taking insurance in any variation of blackjack you decide to play. It’s far more profitable to risk losing your original wager in the long term than protecting it against a dealer that hits blackjack.
The best way to reduce the house edge while playing blackjack is to always consider doubling-down. By deciding to double down, while you are in an extremely strong position with a great hand, you can easily capitalise on such situations and essentially swing the power controlled by the dealer away from them and into your favor. A golden rule when it comes to this betting option is to always double down when you have 11 in your hand, unless when you’re up against a dealer with an Ace. You should also double down when you have a hand total of 10, such as 5-5, unless the dealer is sitting on 10 or has an Ace.
In addition, you should consider doubling down when you have a hand total of 9 and the dealer displays 6, 5, 4, or 3. As previously explained, you will find tables that will restrict you from doubling down on 11, 10, and 9, but for blackjack variations where doubling down is allowed on other hands, both late and early, there are several situations with soft hands where it is highly recommended to consider doubling down. Lastly, as indicated on the basic blackjack strategy chart, if you are unable to double down due to the blackjack variation you are playing, you should hit except for 4 scenarios where its highly recommended to rather stand. This includes when you display a soft 18 and the dealer displays a 6, 5, 4, or 3.
If you have a good understanding of the different betting options in blackjack, you should be well aware that surrender will allow you to avoid an unfavourable position where standing or hitting isn’t preferable. In these unexcepted scenarios, you can surrender your hand and sacrifice half of your initial wager which will ultimately result in losing significantly less in the long term. It’s worth mentioning, however, that the only time basic blackjack strategy will recommend that you surrender is when you have a hand value displaying a hard 15 and the dealer displays a 10 or when you have a hand value displaying hard 16 and the dealer displays an Ace, 10, or a 9. Should surrender not be permitted at the blackjack variation you are playing, its highly recommended that you hit.
Most blackjack variations, both in land-based casinos and online, will allow you the option to partake in a wide range of unique side bets that function separately on their own but alongside your current hand. Please be aware that you will need to place an additional wager on your blackjack hand if you wish to partake in any of the offered side bets. In most blackjack variations that are two extremely common side bets that will always be featured, including Luck Lucky and Perfect Pairs, but there are countless other side bets that are available with new side bets being created every single day. With the basic blackjack strategy, its not recommended to pay attention to any of the side bets in blackjack. They rarely offer any value to you and the house edge of most side bets is far higher than the normal game of blackjack.
What Are Blackjack Charts
Besides learning the basic rules, using blackjack strategy charts might be the most powerful tool in your battle against the dealer. Essentially, blackjack charts are tables that display the basic blackjack strategy. Through multiple rows and columns, you’ll find the best steps to take to maximize your gameplay and increase the winning odds.
These charts tell you exactly whether you need to hit, stand, double down, split, or surrender based on your hand and the dealer’s upcard. However, you should know that you can’t apply only one chart to all games — blackjack strategies depend on the number of decks used.
The basic blackjack strategies cover all possible steps in single, double, and multi-deck games. Although you likely won’t lose your entire bankroll by using an 8-deck basic blackjack chart in a double-deck game, you won’t maximize your winning opportunities. That’s why it’s essential to learn the difference and memorize the steps before entering a game.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll explain how to read and use blackjack charts, explain each strategy based on the game variation, and provide useful tips to help you stay on top of your game.
How to Read Blackjack Strategy Charts
As mentioned, blackjack strategy charts list the possible steps you can take based on the cards you and the dealer hold. Once you understand the basic rules, you’ll easily read and memorize the chart, regardless of the game variation.
Typically, the top of the chart lists the various options for the dealer’s upcard. The vertical column on the left will display your total hand value. You’ll have to identify the point of intersection between the two and see whether to hit, stand, split, or double down.
While most casinos allow blackjack charts, they prefer it if players don’t consult them. Therefore, memorizing a chart would not only ensure smoother gameplay but get you on the casino’s good side, as well.
What You Need to Know Before Memorizing Blackjack Charts
Blackjack players rely on various factors, including skill, knowledge, and experience. While charts and other tools might help you in the beginning, they can never ensure a win. That’s why it’s essential to use this as a foundation and build your style of play.
Here’s what you should know before learning blackjack charts by heart:
- Basic strategy won’t be enough in the long run — As mentioned, knowing the basic strategy will only take you so far. If you want to improve your profits and winning odds, you’ll have to advance your strategy and find other ways to beat the house edge.
- Charts change based on the game variation you play — The basic chart you learn will develop as you uncover new game versions and their rules. You’ll have to adjust the chart, add or remove several fields, and create a new layout as you master the game.
- You have to memorize the chart perfectly — Blackjack is a fast-paced game. If you want to take your skills to a new level and improve your strategy, you’ll have to memorize every single scenario and integrate it into your gameplay.
It takes time and dedication to become a highly skilled blackjack player. Practicing regularly will help you learn the ropes and every game detail. After mastering the charts, making difficult blackjack decisions will come naturally.
Basic Blackjack Charts
Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to introduce you to three blackjack charts you can use for different games. We’ll discuss single, double, and multi-deck blackjack charts. Let’s begin.
Single Deck Basic Strategy Chart
As the name states, single-deck blackjack uses only one deck of 52 cards. This version has a lower house edge (0.16%) than others, making it a favorite among beginners and casual players.
The chart below covers the version where the dealer hits on Soft 17, and players can’t double down after splitting. The left vertical edge displays your hand, while the top of the chart shows the dealer’s upcard. In the chart, A stands for ace.
Single-Deck Blackjack Strategy Tips
While following the table is simple, knowing several tricks will help you stay on top of your game. For instance, you’ll have more options to split if doubling after splitting is allowed. Most players want to take the opportunity to double down, and they will play more aggressively if that option is available.
At the same time, single-deck blackjack has the lowest house edge of all the variations. The percentage is particularly low in games where the dealer hits on Soft 17 (0.19%), and resplitting aces is allowed (0.16%).
Keep in mind that not all single-deck blackjack variants pay the same. While most pay 3:2, some games have 6:5 odds, meaning the house edge grows (by 1.4%). You should always choose a game with a 3:2 payout, whether you’re playing in land-based or online casinos.
Finally, try to find a single-deck game where the dealer stands on Soft 17, and doubling after splitting is allowed. Most land-based casinos don’t feature this variant simply because players would have an edge. However, you might find such a variant in top online casinos that cater to US players.
Double Deck Basic Strategy Chart
Unlike standard blackjack, which uses 4–6 decks, double-deck needs only two. In this chart, the dealer stands on Soft 17, and doubling down is allowed. As with the previous chart, the left vertical shows your hand total while the top displays the dealer’s upcard.
Note: If the multi-deck game you’re playing has the dealer “hitting on Soft 17”, then you would double A,8 vs 6, double A,7 vs 2 and double A,3 vs 4.
Double-Deck Blackjack Strategy Tips
Similarly to single-deck games, double-deck blackjack in most casinos pays 6:5, giving the house a greater edge. However, some venues and online gambling sites still offer titles that pay 3:2 — you’ll just have to dig a little to find them.
The house edge in 3:2 double-deck blackjack varies based on the rules. For instance, the lowest house edge (0.14%) appears in variants where the dealer stands on Soft 17, and doubling after splitting and resplitting aces/late surrender is allowed. The highest house edge (0.54%) is seen in blackjack variants where the dealer hits on Soft 17, and players can’t double down after splitting. Check the house edge and payouts before entering the game because it will influence your decision on which strategy to implement.
Here are several tips that are useful when playing double-deck blackjack:
- A pair of 5s acts as a hard 10 hand in the chart.
- Always stand on a pair of 10s.
- If there’s no splitting, take the pair as a hard hand. However, a pair of aces is a soft hand in this scenario.
- If re-splitting aces isn’t allowed but drawing after splitting is, double down if the dealer’s upcard is 5 or 6 — otherwise, hit.
Multi-Deck Blackjack Strategy Charts (4–8 Decks)
Most casinos feature multi-deck blackjack as standard. Typically, the game uses six decks, but you’ll also find variations with four or eight. Compared to single and double-deck blackjack, this version features more ten-value cards you can hit, thus creating more options to score a blackjack. However, the house edge is higher in multi-deck blackjack, which is why most casinos prefer it to single and double-deck variants.
The chart below displays a strategy for blackjack where the dealer stands on Soft 17.
Multi-Deck Blackjack Strategy Tips
Most land-based casinos offer shoe-dealt blackjack with six decks, but you’ll also find eight-deck options often. Four-deck variants are less common nowadays. As with other versions, try to find a blackjack that pays 3:2 instead of 6:5.
The house edge also varies considerably based on the number of decks. The lowest house edge in four-deck blackjack can be found when the dealer stands on Soft 17, and doubling after splitting is allowed (0.35%). However, a six-deck game with the same rules (resplitting and late surrender) has a lower edge (0.26%). Eight-deck blackjack, where the dealer hits on Soft 17 and players can double after splitting (0.65%), has the highest house edge.
Follow the tips below to enhance your multi-deck blackjack gameplay:
- Memorize one multi-deck strategy, for example, the one where the dealer stands on Soft 17 because the cost of making an error in this game is much higher. That way, you’ll cut your losses significantly.
- If you have a limit on splitting and re-splitting, look at your hand as a hard total, except when you have a pair of aces.
- If you can’t re-split a pair of aces but drawing to split aces is allowed, double against a 6; otherwise, hit.
- Standing on a stiff hand (value between 12 and 16) doesn’t work well with multi-deck blackjack because the odds of getting a low-value card are higher.
- Remember, the dealer is more likely to land a blackjack in a multi-deck game.
Resources : Download Blackjack Strategy Charts (PDF/PNG)
- Basic Strategy PDF / PNG
- Double Deck Strategy PDF / PNG
- Single Deck Strategy PDF / PNG
- 4-8 Deck Strategy PNG
Blackjack Strategy Risk
If you decide to follow the basic blackjack strategy provided in our article and you avoid deviating from its path, the return to player, with standard blackjack rules, will be 99.63%. This is an extremely high RTP and is considered to be the highest in a casino setting, both land-based and online, hence why blackjack is such an immensely popular card game. However, even though the return to player for blackjack is extremely high, it does feature a low variance as the highest payout for a single hand is limited to only 3 to 2 when you get blackjack. For instance, when compared to slot machines where players can sometimes walk away with thousands, players at blackjack tables are highly unlikely to walk away with such a large amount in a single session.
Always keep in mind that using basic strategy in blackjack won’t guarantee winning loads of money. In fact, even if you decide the follow this article religiously, the return to player will always be under 100%. In addition, its important that you follow it even if you run through a few bad hands. Those that play with basic strategy will continuously outperform players that make decisions based on instinct over the long term. Furthermore, always use basic strategy on every decision you make instead of only using it on the initial card drawn that most players tend to make.
- Blackjack Basic Strategy Chart
- What is Basic Strategy in Blackjack?
- Blackjack Strategy Operations
- What Are Blackjack Charts
- How to Read Blackjack Strategy Charts
- What You Need to Know Before Memorizing Blackjack Charts
- Basic Blackjack Charts
- Resources : Download Blackjack Strategy Charts (PDF/PNG)
- Blackjack Strategy Risk
- Number of Decks
- Blackjack Strategy Charts — Key Takeaways
Number of Decks
It’s always a good option to first do some research on the number of decks used in the blackjack variation you want to play before sitting down as it will affect the house edge, even if its just slightly.
Below, we included the number of decks used as well as the house edge in percentages:
- Single deck of playing cards: 0.17%
- Double deck of playing cards: 0.46%
- Four decks of playing cards: 0.60%
- Six decks of playing cards: 0.64%
- Eight decks of playing cards: 0.65%
As you will notice, the differences between the number of decks used is rather small but you will agree that the less decks of playing cards are used, the better it will be for you. You will also come to find that eight decks and double decks are rarely available online with four decks and six decks being the most common. You will also find some casinos offering single deck blackjack variations, but you will usually be limited to only one hand and the playing cards will be shuffled after each hand.
Therefore, the advantage can only be found with exceptional hands where a large number of a particular card will appear several times which is an important factor when it comes to decision making.
Blackjack Strategy Charts — Key Takeaways
We’ve covered the essential strategy rules of single, double, and multi-deck blackjack. However, while the basic strategy serves as a great foundation, it won’t be enough in the long run. If you’re serious about playing blackjack, you’ll have to practice, improve your skills, and create a unique strategy that works for your style of play.
Let’s finish our guide with key elements:
- Never play blackjack with 6:5 payouts — always pick the version with 3:2 payouts.
- The basic blackjack strategy is rule-dependent, meaning you’ll have to adapt it based on the game you play.
- You have to learn the basic strategy down to a T.
- Never use insurance — it’s a sucker bet that rarely works in your favor.
- Single-deck blackjack where the dealer hits Soft 17 and doubling after splitting is allowed has the lowest house edge (0.16%).
- Always split aces and 8s.
- Never split a pair of 10s.
- Always double down on a hard 11.
- Check the rules and payouts before starting a gambling session.
- No charts or strategies guarantee a win.
The basic blackjack strategy involves various moves, such as standing when your hand value is 12–16 when the dealer has 2–6 and hitting if your hand is 12–16 when the dealer has 7–ace. Additionally, you should always double on an 11 versus a dealer’s 2–1 and split aces and 8s.
A blackjack chart helps you decide what to do based on the dealer’s upcard. Once you see which card the dealer holds, you can follow the chart to see whether to hit, stand, split, double down or surrender. However, before memorizing the entire chart, you’ll have to understand basic blackjack rules.
Yes, land-based casinos have no rules that prohibit the use of blackjack charts. So, if you have trouble memorizing the chart, you can bring it with you. However, looking at the chart before making every decision is somewhat frowned upon, especially in a fast-paced game like blackjack. Make sure you only consult the chart if you find yourself in a pickle and need assistance to carry out the desired strategy.
Splitting in blackjack is allowed when you have a pair of same-value cards. As a general rule, players should always split aces and 8s, but avoid splitting 10s, 4s, and 5s. In several instances, deciding whether or not to split depends on the dealer’s upcard.
Surrender is a simple side option in blackjack that lets you keep half of your wager after seeing your first two cards and the dealer’s upcard. However, the basic blackjack strategy advises surrender only in several particular instances. You should surrender if you have a hard 15 and the dealer shows a 10 or if your hand displays a hard 16 while the dealer has a 9, 19, or an ace.
Choosing whether to hit or stand depends on several factors, including the dealer’s upcard. For instance, if the dealer has a 10-value card, you should stand on anything 17 or higher. However, if the dealer has a four, five, or six, you should stand on anything 12 or higher.
Having a pair of tens is already a strong hand, and splitting it could result in a bust. It’s highly unlikely you’ll get a blackjack if you split tens.
You should never use the insurance wager. Losing your original wager is still more profitable than protecting it against a dealer who scores a blackjack. Although the bets pay out nicely, the odds of winning are miserable (2:1).
A basic strategy chart is a guide that shows you the best way to play your hand in blackjack based on the dealer’s upcard. A card counting chart helps you keep track of the cards that have been played in a gambling session.
While a blackjack chart can help you make the mathematically correct decision in any given situation, it does not guarantee you will win money. In addition, using a chart may be considered cheating by some casinos.