Blackjack Strategy Guide

Introduction To Blackjack

If you are new to blackjack, click the link below to read our introduction to the game.

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games and you will be using it quite often to complete offers.

Blackjack has the lowest house edge of any casino game.

With blackjack, you have decisions on what actions to take, and these affect the RTP.

Our blackjack strategy will show you exactly what actions to take.

And it’s very easy to learn!

Once you place your bet, you receive two cards and the dealer receives one card. The goal is to beat the dealer by getting as close to 21 as possible. You can receive more cards by Hitting, or stick to the cards you have by Standing.

An ace counts as 1 or 11, Jacks, Queens and Kings all count as 10. The numbered cards count for their value (so a 2 is worth 2 for example).

Blackjack is when you have an Ace and any card counting as 10. When this happens, you win 2.5x of your stake, unless the dealer also has Blackjack, in which case you get your stake back

If you go over 21, you have bust and lose the hand. If the dealer beats you by getting blackjack, or closer to 21, without going bust, you’ll lose.

If you beat the dealer or the dealer goes bust – you win back your stake x2. If you draw, its called push and you get your stake back.

Once the cards are dealt, you have 5 options:

  • Hit: Take another card. Afterwards you will have the option again to either hit or stand. If you go over 21 you will be bust and your hand will lose.
  • Double: If you click double, your stake will be doubled. You will receive only 1 more card and then the dealer will reveal their hand.
  • Stand: Don’t take any more cards. The dealer will now reveal their hand.
  • Split: If you have a pair (two of the same number, such as two 6s) then you can split. Your stake will double and you will now play each card as a separate hand. If you split Aces (AA) then you only get one card, but any other pair you can play like normal.
  • Insurance: You have this option if the dealer has an ace. You should never take this as the odds are significantly in the casino’s favour.

So how do you decide when to hit, stand, double or split? It all depends on the cards you hold, and the dealer’s card

Our blackjack strategy tables below will show you exactly which decisions to make.

The Blackjack Tables

These tables will show you the optimal Blackjack strategy for when you’re playing blackjack online.  To use the strategy, you first identify what table you should use:

Table 1 (Left Hand Side): Your hand is Hard
This means that you have any two cards without an Ace.

Table 2 (Top Right): Your hand is Soft
This means you have any two cards, one of which is an Ace. The term soft means you cannot bust if you hit. If you have Ace 5, you cannot bust by hitting, because your hand could be worth 16 or 6. But if you hit and get a 10, you now have 16, and this will be a hard hand because it is possible to bust on your next action.

Table 3 (Bottom Right): Your hand is Paired
This means you have two of the same cards, so 2-2, 3-3, 4-4 etc, and could split your hand (double your initial stake, and play 2 separate hands, one with each of the cards).

Once you have established which table you should use, you can now look at the appropriate row and column on the table for your hand and the dealers hand. This will tell you which action to take.

Common Questions And Additional Resources

If the dealer is dealt an ace, you may be offered insurance.  This is where you pay extra money, but get your stake back if the dealer has blackjack.  This reduces the RTP of the game, so you should always decline insurance.

Push just means that you and the dealer tied, because your hands were both worth the same amount.  When this happens, you just get your stake back.

To help build up your confidence playing blackjack, we’ve made a quiz to test your knowledge.  Take the Quiz here!

You can also practice playing Blackjack with fake money here!

There are lots of different variations of blackjack, many of which have different rules, strategies and RTPs.   In order to ensure that we are following the correct strategy, and using easy to play, high RTP games, we want to try and stick to Classic or European variations of blackjack.  These games will often have different titles, but can be called things like:

  • Blackjack
  • Premium Blackjack
  • Classic Blackjack
  • Multihand Blackjack
  • Single Deck Blackjack – the optimal strategy is slightly different for this game, but using our strategy will not significantly impact the RTP
  • Single Hand Blackjack
  • All Bets Blackjack – fine as long as you avoid all side bets.

And avoid games such as:

  • Cashback Blackjack
  • Blackjack Surrender
  • Blackjack Switch – this is a high RTP blackjack game but requires a very different strategy that is quite complicated, so we’d recommend avoiding it
  • Progressive Blackjack

Many blackjack games have the option to place ‘side bets’.   You can read Ladbrokes’ explanation of how side bets work here, but the important things to know about side bets is that they can be very high variance, and the house edge can range anywhere from about 3% to about 17%.  This is compared to a house edge of about 0.5% for regular blackjack!   Given their high variance and low RTP, we strongly recommend avoiding using any side bets when playing blackjack.

Below is an example of a hand that would use each of the 3 blackjack tables.

Example 1 – hard hand.
Your cards: 4-5.   Dealers card: 6
Your hand is a hard 9 so you will be using the table on the left-hand side. Go across from 9 and stop where it meets 6. This lands on , meaning you should double if allowed, otherwise hit.

Example 2 – soft hand.
Your cards: Ace-6
Dealers card: 5
Your hand is a soft 17 because Ace is 11, add 6 = 17. But it’s soft, because if you bust then the Ace will automatically become a 1 instead of 11 meaning you can’t actually bust. You will be using the table in the top right for this, as it’s soft. Go across from A6 and stop where it meets 5. This lands on , meaning you should double if allowed, otherwise hit.

Lets say you just hit because the software doesn’t allow you to double, and you get drawn a 6. You had 17 so are now on 23 so bust, right? Well because the ace can be a 1 or 11, you automatically opt for it to be 1. So your hand is now 1 + 6 + 6 = 13.

Your ace is already worth 1 so your hand is now a hard hand, as you can now bust on the next draw (any 9, 10, J, Q, K or A). So for your next move you will use table 1. Go across from 13 as you now have hard 13, and stop where it meets the dealer’s 5. It now says  which means you should stand. So you’ve used both tables in this example and are finally standing on hard 13 against the dealer’s 6.

Example 3 – paired hand.
Your cards: 4-4
Dealers card: 10
Your hand is a paired hand because both cards are the same. Go across from 4-4 to where it meets 10 and it will say  meaning you should hit. If it were to say  then you’d split the pair into 2 separate hands and be dealt 1 more card to pair with each 4. You would then play each hand separately, however you have to double your overall stake (so if you bet £1 originally, it’s now £1 each hand so £2 total).

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Any Questions?

As always, if you have any questions whatsoever, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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