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Blackjack Tips and Strategies

A successful game strategy can only exist if your opponent lacks the ability to make decisions about the existing hand. For example, when you play poker, you cannot make decisions based solely on your hand or the community cards dealt.

Your opponents can make any decision they want and you have no way of knowing if they actually have a strong hand or not. Thus, your strategic decisions are based on the assumption of the quality of your opponent's cards.

The basic blackjack strategy works because the dealer you are playing against has no room for judgment on how the game is played. You are always dealt with a face-up card and must follow strict rules known to you. This way you always know what the croupier will do.

Why Strategies are Essential?

Strategies are a combination of dozens of solutions to the various outcomes calculated using advanced computer simulations. Therefore, they are simply a' cheat sheet' to play at the table, regardless of your own individual feelings.

In the absence of a Blackjack Strategy, you only give the casino more chances of taking your money because it is hardly possible to calculate a situation precisely in the spur of a moment on the table. There are also other techniques before you invest money in blackjack.

Be aware, that strategies have value over time, which includes the longer you play, the closer you get to the best possible house edge, so don't expect to play just a few hands and make money right away. Each game has a different approach, so do not use a single-deck strategy for a six-deck game, etc.

Blackjack Strategy Table

There is a great invention that blackjack players appreciate very much. This is called the Blackjack strategy table. The table first appeared in 1958 after years of successful blackjack research. The Blackjack strategy table was invented a decade after card counting – the most famous and effective method in the history of blackjack.
Let’s take a closer look at the basic blackjack strategy table:

Blackjack Strategy Table

S = Stand
H = Hit
P = Split
DD = Double Down
H/P = Split, but only if a player is allowed to double down. Otherwise: Hit.
H/R = Surrender if this is allowed. Otherwise: Hit.

There are several Blackjack tables created specifically for “soft” and “hard” hands or for pair splitting. The table above helps players make the right decisions when playing online blackjack.

It is easy to understand the table when you understand the blackjack game itself. The left column refers to the player’s hand, while the horizontal column refers to the dealer’s hand. To know what to do when playing online blackjack, the player can simply combine the columns – at the intersection the suggested action becomes visible.

Players should keep in mind that this table cannot guarantee that they will win. It simply helps to make decisions. Since this table is very helpful, it is worth learning it by heart to increase your chances of winning when playing online blackjack!

Double Down Strategy

One of the best moves available to Blackjack players is Doubling Down. Double Down means doubling the original bet after seeing your first two cards. You then have to pick up another card to complete your hand.

The decision to play “Double Down” can only be made by the player in the round of play after receiving his two playing cards as the first move. For example, you play blackjack with a single deck or multiple decks of cards, and you have been dealt a 6 and a 5, so you now have a total of 11 on your hand, versus an open 4 at the dealer. In this case, it is wise to use the doubling down strategy, as you have a 30% chance to get a ten with a third card, giving you a total value of 21.

To have a successful blackjack game round, it is important that you apply the correct doubling down strategy.

When should I use the double down strategy?

To make things easier, here is a summary of the Blackjack Doubling strategy. We suggest you memorize them and follow them through your game to increase your chances of winning.

  • In a single deck of cards throughout the hand 11 – Double Down against any card shown by the dealer.
  • With multiple card games throughout the hand 11 – Double Down against any card the dealer shows, unless there is an ace face up.
  • If your hand is worth 10 – Double Down against the dealer’s cards, in the case of 2 to 9 (for single and multiple card games).
  • A total hand worth 9 – Double Down against the dealer’s cards, in the case of 3 to 6 in multiple card games and 2 to 6 in a single card game.
  • In case your hand is worth 8 – never double in multiple card games. In a simple card game, only double against the dealer if there is a 5 or 6.

Note: Check if the casino you want to play at or the blackjack variant you are playing allows doubling down strategy.

Blackjack Strategies With Cards Count

The other strategies presented in the following section are based on the strategy of card counting. This means that you must always keep an eye on which cards have already been removed from play and which are still in the pile. In contrast to the basic strategy, the following strategies can only be used in online casinos to a limited extent. They do not work if a new (virtual) card set is inserted after each hand. And they won’t work even if you don’t have any information about when the cards are exchanged.

Note: Card counting is not allowed in many casinos and may result in you being blacklisted. If you are on such a list it can happen that several online casinos deny you access. So you MUST inform yourself about the casino’s policies when you force such strategies.

Hi-Lo Blackjack Counting System

The Hi-Lo counting system is probably the best-known card counting system in blackjack. The reason for this is that it is relatively simple and easy for beginners to understand and implement. The basic idea of the Hi-Lo system is to assign a numerical value to each card. This looks like this:

Card values 2 to 6 Value: +1
Card values 7 to 9 Value: 0
Card values 10 to A: -1

The player now adds the values with each card drawn. A high count is more likely to get a high card because there are not as many low numbers in the deck. Conversely, if the counter value is low, the probability of a low next card increases.

Uston SS card counting system

The Uston SS card counting system is based on the same idea as the Hi-Lo system but it is more difficult for beginners to learn, as it works with six different value groups, unlike the Hi-Lo system. These look like this:

  • Card values 2, 4, 6 Value: 2
  • Card value 5 Value: 3
  • Card value 7 Value: 1
  • Card value 8 Value: 0
  • Card value 9 Value: -1
  • Card value 10 to A Value: -2

The principle and the corresponding actions work the same way as in the Hi-Lo system.

More BlackJack strategies

Hand 1 Hand 2

We assume that the player’s hand (hand 1) consists of a 10 and a 6, the dealer’s face-up card is the 10 and the hole card is next to it. The chance of winning if you take another card is 23.5.

In this case, if you choose not to draw another card, the probability of winning is still 23 out of 100 times. So it makes no real difference how you decide with this hand.

However, if you look at the cards that have already been played, you can see that they no longer represent a danger and that the probability of winning in the event of a “hit” is therefore 0.5 times higher. And that’s why cards that have already been removed from the deck should always be kept in view.

The 45 rule

Now there is also the case in blackjack where you have formed a 16 of three cards. It gets even more difficult when you have to bet against a 10. If you make a hit on 16 and only get 2 points, you still lose the hand. You want a 4 or 5 card to get as close to or even hit 21 as possible.

But if the 16th hand already contains 4 or 5 cards, you have already received the important cards you need for a higher score. Winning this hand is unlikely. In this case, it is better to stop than to pull. However, this so-called “45 rule” only applies if the dealer shows an open 10. If the dealer has another card, the rule does not apply.

The Dr. Pepper Rule

What to do if the dealer has a 4, you got a 12 yourself? In this case, the probability of winning on hold is 40 to 100 and on a hit is 39 3/4.

However, you only get a 12 if you get one of the following combinations: 10/2, 9/3, 8/4 and 7/5; it’s a big difference whether the 12 is made up of a 10 and a 2 or a 7 and a 5; with a 7/5 hand, you risk getting a 10 and busting. So when making this decision, it is very important to check which cards have already been played and whether any remaining cards could be dangerous.

The Dr. Pepper rule says that you should draw against a 4 on a 10/2, but no more cards on any other 12.

Now that you know the rules and strategy, why not visit one of our best blackjack casinos?

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