Blackjack Strategy

Play Blackjack Like a Pro and Win Real Money

Our guide is beginner-friendly with tips that'll help you learn how to improve your gameplay. Find the best UK blackjack tables and start playing like a pro today!

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What will you learn from our Blackjack basic strategy guide?

If you’re new to blackjack or wish to brush up on your Blackjack skills, you might want to read our guide on how to play one of the most revered table games in the industry. 

In this guide, you’ll be taught all the rules you need to know in order to participate in fun and, sometimes, rewarding Blackjack games. 

4 important tips before you start

  1. Get to know all the blackjack rules, blackjack odds, best blackjack bets and best blackjack payouts
  1. Choose a blackjack variant smartly
  1. Plan your budget – how much are you prepared to win or lose
  1. Don’t forget about the time you’re willing to spend on a game

Basic Blackjack Strategy 

Our basic Blackjack strategy will teach you the ins and outs of Blackjack in a simple yet informative way.

When playing Blackjack, the goal is to ultimately reach a value of 21 with your playing cards, without going over (bust). If you do happen to go over 21, the dealer wins, regardless of their hand.

In a game of Blackjack, face cards have a value of 10, whereas Aces are worth 1 or 11.

In a traditional game of Blackjack, which is the Blackjack game we’ll be focusing our text on, each player starts with two cards, with one of the dealer’s cards remaining hidden until the end.

How to Play Blackjack Hands – Hit or Stand?

In a Blackjack game, the term “Hit” refers to the act of a player picking up another card with the goal being to get to 21 or as close to 21 as possible. 

If this action causes a player to exceed 21, to go bust in other words, the player will lose the game.  

When the term “Stand” is used in Blackjack, it refers to when a player decides not to pick up another card for fear of going bust (exceeding 21).  

Deciding on when it’s appropriate to hit or stand in a Blackjack game can be very tricky, but a good idea is to hit against the dealer’s hand if your hand totals 8, for example. 

The table below shows some examples of when it can be a good idea to either “Hit” or “Stand”. 

Example:

Blackjack Simple Strategy Chart

This table example only applies to Blackjack games where the following is the case:  

Double Down 

Doubling Down basically means doubling your bet, and this commonly occurs once you’ve been dealt two cards. 

Once you “Double Down”, you receive an additional card in a face-off with the dealer which, in essence, will determine the winner.

The “Double Down”-option is advised when your hand has a better value or the cards in your hand are higher than that of the dealer. 

Example:

Blackjack Double Down Chart

Split Pairs 

Split Pairs” in a game of Blackjack refers to when a player’s first two cards have the same value and they choose to separate the cards into two individual hands while doubling their bet.

The best time to choose to “Split Pairs” is when you are dealt two Aces, for example, so your chances of beating the dealer are doubled. However, if you don’t choose to “Split”, each card will be given its own value by default – usually 1 and 11. 


The table below shows different scenarios where the “Split Pairs”-option is a reasonable move.

Example:

Blackjack Splitting Pairs Strategy Guide

The Soft 17 Rule

A Soft 17 is a blackjack hand worth 17 but it includes an Ace, which can be counted as either 1 or 11. Any hand that includes an Ace is considered ‘soft’, right up until the Ace can only be counted as a 1 to keep the hand in the game. So, if you had a 9, 10 and an Ace, your hand would be considered hard because your Ace can only be counted as 1 without busting your hand.

Dealers have to either stand on Soft 17 (or higher) or hit, which means they can only stand on Hard 17 or more. If the dealer stands on Soft 17, you’re playing a Soft 17 game. If not, you’re playing a Hard 17 game. You can tell which rule a game uses because it is always written on the table, near the odds.

When to surrender?

The term “Surrender” describes when you decide to give up your hand so you get to keep half of your original bet. 

It’s good to consider the “Surrender” option if the dealer has a hand with a higher value than you. For example, if the dealer has an Ace, and your hand totals between 12 to 17, and you don’t have an Ace. 

Advanced Blackjack Strategy 

A Blackjack advanced strategy is utilised mostly by Blackjack experts who, at this point, know their way around a game of Blackjack and can most likely refer to themselves as pros.

In contrast to a basic Blackjack Strategy, an Advanced Blackjack strategy goes more in-depth and covers themes such as card counting and shuffle strategies, etc.

What exactly is blackjack card counting and does it actually work in your favour?

What card counting entails in the wonderful world of Blackjack, is basically to keep track of all the cards which are dealt during a game of Blackjack, so as to make a calculated guess about how you should move forward with your bets. 

Through card counting, you may be able to guess what card comes next and therefore have a better chance of beating the dealer.

However, it is not an act admired by many casinos.

How to count cards?

As mentioned, there exist a number of systems for card counting, and some involve, and here are some examples:

Essentially, the number you have should be divided by the decks present in the shoe.

Similar to the Zen counting system, a player will need to guess how many decks are present in the shoe.

With the Knockout (KO) counting system, you will be left with a deck of 4 after counting. 

What you do here is you add one point to every card with the values 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 and subtract points from Aces and 10s. Using the KO system, you essentially bet more with a positive count and less with a negative count. 

Keep in mind that face cards don’t get counted.

Which blackjack Strategy should you choose?

By now, you should know that there is a sea of different Blackjack games, all of them with different advantages and thrills. 

Which Blackjack strategy you choose to use depends entirely on things like your budget, whether you’re just starting out or have a bit of experience playing already. 

Classic Blackjack is the most commonly played Blackjack for beginners, and it’s also the best place to start. 

The best blackjack strategy to try when you’re new to casino

When you’re new to casino gameplay, it’s best to stick with the most common Blackjack strategy, which in this case is the Basic Blackjack strategy, just to be on the safe side. 

When you’ve learned the ins and outs of this type of Blackjack, you should be ready to proceed to a more advanced level of playing. 

Here are a few other examples of Blackjack variants that may pique your interest and that work as great starting points when you’re new to the Blackjack game: 

There are plenty more Blackjack variants, and the tip is really to scour around to find one that perfectly fits your taste.

The best blackjack strategy to play if you’re a pro

If you’re more familiar with Blackjack and you know your way around it, you could go for variants like Blackjack Switch where you can switch cards between the two hands you are dealt.

There is a catch here though, as with most things, and that is that the payout rates are lower.

Most wins recorded in Blackjack  

Some of the biggest Blackjack wins recorded to date have taken place in the UK. However, here is a list of some of the most impressive wins recorded to date: 

General blackjack beginner mistake easy to avoid

When you’re a beginner there are plenty of traps you should avoid setting for yourself, one of them being to avoid setting your stakes too high. 

As a beginner, you should make sure you are well aware of the rules within any Blackjack game you choose to play and be on the lookout for ones where you can practice for free to get a hang of things before you advance to playing with real money.

Frequently asked questions

It is advised that you work your way up in a game of Blackjack and, therefore, starting out with the beginner Blackjack strategy and easing your way into a more advanced level is much better.
When you are completely new to Blackjack, the safest bet is to play the classic Blackjack games. Have a look at our text to find one that may be a good fit for you.
How much money you spend playing Blackjack is entirely up to you, but we do advise taking precautions and also not playing above your means. If you would like advice on how to play safely, visit our Responsible Gambling page to read up on our tips.