Blackjack Strategy Guide
Reading Time: 7 mins
New 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: 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.
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 9 for example, you can still hit. It is impossible to bust with just two cards and one being an Ace. If you have Ace 5 (16 or 6) and you hit and get 10, you now have A 10 5 = 16, which will be hard 16 as it is now 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 can therefore 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.
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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.
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:
- 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.