Blackjack Strategy

One of the great things about casino blackjack (and one of the reasons it's so popular) is because unlike any other games in the casino, the rules of blackjack make it such that there is an optimal way to play.  Because there are quite a few decisions involved in the game of blackjack the house advantage actually fluctuates according to the skill used by the player.  Because of this, if you are at all serious about blackjack it's definitely worth your while to learn the proper strategy for play since it gives the house the lowest possible odds against taking your money.  On this page we've provided info of how to use basic blackjack strategy when playing to maximize your hands and lower the house edge as much as possible.

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Why Use Basic Strategy?

As mentioned in our introduction, using basic strategy while playing blackjack is a no brainer since it gives you the best possible odds of reducing the house edge and increasing your chances of winning.  Before we look at basic strategy, we are going to examine the house edge in blackjack to help you understand why using basic strategy every time you play is the best choice as a player.  Since the game of blackjack is comprised of a number of players decisions and the dealer must play according to fixed rules, using some complex math it's possible to use an optimal strategy against the dealer while playing.

Generally speaking, the house edge in a blackjack game where all participants are using basic strategy is around 0.5%.  What this means is that for every $100 that passes through the blackjack tables the casino expects to receive around $0.50 in profits from the game.  While this does not necessarily mean that each player will experience this percentage, this is the statistical average over millions of hands that the casino is expected to win and believe me when I say this adds up to enormous casino profits over time.

So now that we know that using basic blackjack strategy will reduce the house edge to around 0.5%, what about people who disregard the strategy.  In this case if you play without basic strategy you could be looking at a house advantage of up to 2.5% or $2.50 for every $100 bet, a staggering 5 times the first amount.  Because of this it's easy to see why basic strategy is important - so let's learn how to use it.

How To Use Basic Strategy

The general premise of basic strategy in blackjack is that it teaches you what to do (hit, stand, split or double) according to what hand you are dealt in comparison with the dealer's up card.  The system is designed to give you the best chance of winning the hand and is totally legal and allowed by casinos as it will never fully hinder their advantage.  While memorizing all of the basic strategy rules can be a bit tough at first it's a good idea to commit to memory - below is a diagram that outlines basic strategy rules.

Basic Strategy

As you can see in the chart above every possible player/dealer hand scenario has been identified along with the corresponding move that the player should make in each situation.  Although this can be very hard to adapt to at first especially if you are losing, following this chart will always give you the lowest house edge against the casino and biggest chances of winning while playing a session of casino blackjack.

It's also important to note that you are 100% allowed to have a strategy card at the table with you while you are playing and this is actually encouraged for new players since it takes a while to memorize the exact decisions that should be made for each hand.  If you are ever in a situation where you aren't sure what to do simply ask the dealer who will tell you or call the pit boss over who can look up the right play.