Basic Strategy – Learn how to win at blackjack

Blackjack is the world’s favourite casino game among online casino players. Basic strategy gives a bigger probability to beat the casino making extra winnings.

The first step to becoming a skilful blackjack player is to learn the basic strategy. It may sound very simple, but it has some stuff that you need to memorize to get the game in your favour.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this article:

Before we start

  • Make sure that you know what is the difference between Hit, Stand, Double or Surrender, otherwise check how to play blackjack first.
  • You know the card values.
  • A dealer stands when the hand total is 17 or more.

It is essential to know and understand the different strategies at blackjack.  A good blackjack strategy can be deadly.

What is the Blackjack Basic Strategy?

Basic strategy is a mathematical strategy that you need to keep playing. Over time, it will maximize your winning odds and minimize the money that you lose therefore reduce the house advantage. It is a set of choices based on statistics that you need to make when comparing your hand and the dealer’s upcard. Most of the time the choice that you will do is either HIT or STAND, however, sometimes there is a chance for a DOUBLE or a SURRENDER.

Using the basic strategy there is no guarantee that you will win each and every time, however, you can be certain that you are more likely to win.


If you have a hand with a hard total of 12 and the dealer’s upcard is 4, you need to Stand. Why? Since your total hand is low and the dealer’s upcard is also low, statistically there is a higher probability that the dealer will bust and lose the game. In Blackjack, you do not need always to be as close to 21 to win. The main goal is to beat the dealer and not getting 21.

The basic strategy can be split into smaller strategies, that needs to follow each other until you arrive to decide between to go for a HIT or a STAND.

Surrender Strategy

This strategy at first sounds a bit negative and might give you the wrong impression, but how we already know playing Blackjack is a set of multiple quick games. Going for a SURRENDER option, when available is quite smart and can save some money from losing all your bet.

Surrender is when you consider your first two cards to be too low against the dealer’s upcard and you decide to quit your game. This will make you lose half your wager instead of losing all the bet.

We have marked in our blackjack cheat sheets, down below when it is ideal to Surrender. Do not think going for surrender is something wrong, in the long run, the money that you have saved from being lost might make you win double in the next turn.

Pair Splitting Strategy

Pair splitting is a strategy, if played correctly at the right time, which reduces the casino’s advantage, but it is also a money making option for the casino.

Pair splitting is available when the dealer deals to you two cards of the same value. This option will split your hand into two separate hands. So if you have two cards of value 2, you either play as a total value of 4 or else you draw to additional cards. Also you will have to play another bet with the same value of the first bet.

Something important. Never split a 10,10. NEVER.

Doubling Down Strategy

When this option is available and offered by the dealer, it means you can double your bet in return for an extra drawn card. You should consider doubling on a total of hard 8, 9, 10, 11 or else if you have an Ace and a 2 which makes a soft 13.

Hit or Stand Strategy

If you follow the strategy tables further down, you will notice that most of the options are either HIT or STAND, and the most strategy that is difficult to memorize.

The best advice for learning when to HIT or STAND is to practice a lot. We recommend to play and practice this free play Classic blackjack game by Relax Gaming and use the charts provided in this article. The game has assisted options to tell you when is best to Hit, Stand or Double.

If at this stage you feel a bit confused, we made it simpler for you. Our Basic strategy charts is an easy way how to visualise the statistical options that you have to follow perfectly when playing Blackjack. Ideally practice them until you start memorizing them.

We have divided the full Blackjack strategy chart into different strategy tables that match the above strategies.

How to use the basic strategy charts

In every basic strategy chart or table, you will find a set of keys that are listed and explained at the bottom of each table. Each key has a different colour to make it easy to distinguish between the choices. On each table’s left-hand side there is the total value of your hand, whilst on top it is the value of the dealer’s upcard.

If you notice carefully the options on the charts, you will see that the greater your hand is and the lower the dealer’s upcard is, it is more common that you will Stand. That is why the lower-left corner has more STAND (S in Red colour).

Just remember that if the dealer has a very small upcard, you have a probability that the dealer will bust and you will win the game. To give an example of this, following the table below, you will see that on value 12 in your hand (which is a low total) you have to Stand against the dealer’s hand between 4 to 6. This is the reason that the dealer might bust.

blackjack strategy card hard totals
Blackjack Strategy table for 4/6/8 Decks

Blackjack is quite simple and you cannot be greedy to try and get closer to 21 at all costs.

We have created for you two different charts, one chart showing the strategy when playing with a Single Deck and another chart for when you are playing blackjack with 4/6/8 decks.

Single Deck Basic Strategy Chart

If the casino offers blackjack with a single deck, always go for this option. A single deck blackjack is like the holy grail of cards. It has a the lowest house edge of all games.

When you have a low house edge, it gives you better chances to win.

Blackjack Strategy Chart Single Deck
Single Deck Blackjack basic strategy chart

Multi 4/6/8 Decks Basic Strategy Chart

The chart for the multi-decks covers blackjack that is played with 4 decks, 6 decks or 8 decks. Casinos started to opt for more decks in blackjack to increase their house edge.

Good blackjack players started to take advantage of the system especially when card counting was easier with a single blackjack. This has made the casinos to act and protect their winnings.

The below blackjack basic strategy chart is very similar and more popular to the single deck chart since today casinos offer more games with multi-deck especially online casinos.

Multi Deck Basic strategy card


The basic strategy is the best efficient way to play blackjack, that when played perfectly you are able to reduce the house edge to less than 1%. A lot of players play basic strategy, however the vast majority will make silly mistakes due to casino pressure.

If you are a beginner, starting playing blackjack at an online casino will help you play at your own pace. This will help you focus more and do less mistakes with less pressure from other players and the casino environment.

Follow the provided basic strategy charts, depending if the game has a single deck or multi deck and you will definitely experience better chances of winning against the dealer.

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