Blackjack Basic Strategy

The basic blackjack strategy involves looking at your hand, looking at your dealer's up card, and determining the chances of a bust by you or your dealer.

The Odds

Before getting into basic strategy details, it would be vital for you to know more about the odds. As with every casino game, blackjack has a house edge. So, if you played exactly the way the dealer does, you can eliminate that house edge and you would win just as much as the dealer would. However, since the dealer doesn't play until after you, you will still lose if you both bust. Considering the blackjack payout, this will work out to around a 5.5% house edge, which means that playing blackjack for several hours can make you lose around 5.5% of your bankroll.

Now, how does the basic blackjack strategy work, then? Well, it basically revolves around the mere fact that most cards (16 from 52) inside the deck are worth 10.

With this in mind, players of the basic strategy will always assume that the second card of the dealer would have a value of 10, even if it isn't a lot of the time. This means that the hand of the dealer can either result in a bust or a great hand, depending on the up card of the dealer.

To Hit or to Stand

To be more specific, follow these easy rules on hitting and standing:

  • If you have a hand of 11 or below, always hit. Since it isn't possible to bust with these hands, extra cards will always help you out.
  • If you have a 17 or higher, while the dealer doesn't show 7 or up, always stand since your chances of busting with a hit would be extremely high.
  • With a hand of 12 up to 16, with the dealer showing a face-up card with high chances of busting, always stand. Even though this hand is weak, it will win after the dealer ends up busting.
  • With a hand of 12 up to 16, with the dealer showing a 7 or up, always hit because, unless you improve your hand, the dealer has higher chances of beating it. There is a busting risk, yes, but this risk has to be taken here.

Even though basic strategies of blackjack can get far more complicated than this, these rules are considered to be the main core of the majority of strategies used today.

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