Basic Blackjack strategy is designed to be used against the baseline rules of the game. With Blackjack basic strategy the number of decks used in a Blackjack game have no bearing on the situation. Each recommended play does not in any way guarantee that you will win, but offers the highest odds of winning with any particular Blackjack hand.
Understanding basic strategy can make the difference between winning and losing, and Blackjack is the only casino table game where players can employ skill to affect the outcome of their play against the house.
The foremost important and prevalent decision a Blackjack player has to make is whether to hit or to stand on their hand. There are a few straightforward rules for both hard and soft hands in Blackjack.
For hard hands in Blackjack, if the player’s cards amount to 12 or higher, there are three rules:
- Hit if the player hand totals 12 through 16 and the dealer has a seven or higher;
- Stand on any hand totaling 17 or higher;
- Stand if the player cards total 12 through 16 and the dealer has two through six.
For soft hands there are only two rules:
- Always draw to soft 17 or less;
- Only draw on soft 18 if the dealer has an eight, nine or ten.
Doubling down is the main method by which a player can eliminate the Blackjack house edge so it is very important to remember when to utilize this option.
For hard hands, there are three basic rules:
- Double down when the player’s cards total 11 and the dealer has a ten or less;
- Double down when the player’s cards total 10 and the dealer has a nine or less;
- Double down when the player’s cards total nine and the dealer has a four, five or six.
For soft hands, there are also three basic rules:
- Double down with a soft 13 and soft 14 when the dealer has a five or six;
- Double down with a soft 15 and soft 16 when the dealer has a four, five or six;
- Double down with a soft 17 and soft 18 when the dealer has three through six.
There are six easy rules that apply to splitting pairs in basic blackjack strategy:
- Always split a pair of aces or eights. A pair of aces totals either two or twelve but when you split them each card is worth eleven. When you split eights you are breaking up 16 which is the worst hand to have;
- Never split fours, fives or tens;
- Split twos and threes only when the dealer has four through seven;
- Split sixes when the dealer has three through six;
- Split sevens when the dealer has three through seven;
- Split nines when the dealer has two through six, eight or nine.