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Blackjack Basic Strategy

Blackjack basic strategy is the set of rules that tells you the correct way to play your hand when you have no knowledge of the remaining cards. Basic strategy tells you when to hit, stand double, split or surrender by factoring two things - your card and the dealer's upcard. Undoubtedly, in the long run basic strategy should help you to win more and lose less.

Blackjack basic strategy is very related to our coverage of blackjack game theory, so if you haven't yet seen it, be sure to read the useful content there. A good basic blackjack strategy will always give you the best house edge possible. Below we've outlined a very simple blackjack strategy that you can use if you so desire. Although it's as basic as they come, it is still a very good game plan that would see you being well ahead of the vast majority of gamblers playing blackjack today.

A good basic blackjack strategy

Hard hands

  • 9 or lower - HIT
  • 10 or 11 - DOUBLE DOWN IF YOUR TOTAL IS MORE THAN DEALER; OTHERWISE HIT
  • 12 through 16 - HIT WHEN DEALER'S UPCARD IS 7 OR HIGHER; STAND OTHERWISE
  • 17 or higher - STAND

Soft Hands

  • 13-18 - DOUBLE DOWN WHEN DEALER'S UPCARD IS 5 OR 6
  • 17 or lower - HIT
  • 18 - HIT WHEN DEALER'S UPCARD IS 6 OR LESS; STAND WHEN DEALER'S UPCARD IS 7 OR MORE
  • 19 or higher - STAND

Pairs

  • Always split a pair of aces or 8s
  • Never split 10s, 4s or 5s
  • Split all other pairs when dealer's upcard is 6 or less

Never take insurance.

Since the advent of the modern computer, blackjack basic strategy has been seriously redefined and analyzed in order to determine which player-decisions would be most profitable for every combination of an initial hand vs. dealer up card that exists. So mathematically, it's a fact that it is in your favor to at least follow basic strategy in order to milk the game for all its worth and to your full benefit.
 

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