What is Basic Strategy in Blackjack and How Is It Used?

If you’ve been following our blackjack strategies and guides, you will know we talk a lot about this strategy called basic strategy. It was developed in the 1960s by an IBM computer expert, and still remains one of the best ways to play blackjack. Simply put, basic strategy outlines the best way to play each and every hand you can possibly face in blackjack, helping you cut the house edge down to around 0.5% – now that’s a house edge well worth playing against.

Learning basic strategy can take a bit of time, but with practice you can pick it up in a matter of hours and perfect it within a month. All you have to do is dedicate the time. So, are you ready to learn basic strategy with BitStarz Casino?

When to Hit

When it comes to hitting in blackjack, you might think it’s a good idea in a number of situations, but as defined by math and basic strategy, it could be a really bad idea. It all depends on what cards you have and the dealer is showing, so try to take as much of this guide in as possible for your best chance at landing the perfect hit. Obviously, due to the next card being random, there is still a chance this can end badly.

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These are the hands you should hit on:

  • Hard 11 or less
  • Hard 12 against a dealer 2,3 or 7-ace
  • Soft 17 or less
  • Soft 18 when dealer has 9, 10 or ace

When to Stand

Standing in blackjack can be a scary option. Especially if you don’t have a high value hand. That being said, according to basic strategy, you can still win with a hand of 6 if the dealer busts – it’s all about playing to the dealer’s whole card.

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These are the hands you should stand on:

  • Hard 12 against a dealer 4-6
  • Hard 13-16 against a dealer 2-6
  • Hard 17 or higher
  • Soft 18 when dealer has 8 or less
  • Soft 19 or higher

When to Double

Doubling down in blackjack is a great way to bag yourself some extra cash and really clean out the casino, but it’s all about timing. Basic strategy can help you pick the most opportune moments to stand, helping you really turn up the heat and bring home the bacon.

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These are the hands you should double down on:

  • Hard 9 against a dealer 3-6
  • Hard 10 unless dealer shows a 10 or ace
  • Hard 11 unless dealer shows an ace
  • Soft 13 or 14 against a dealer 5 or 6
  • Soft 15 or 16 against a dealer 4-6
  • Soft 17 or 18 against a dealer 3-6

When to Split

Why play one hand when you can play two or even more, if the table allows for it. Splitting can turn a potentially poor hand into two very good ones, giving you an even better chance to beat the casino and walk away with a big bag of cash.

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These are the hands you should split:

  • Aces
  • 8s
  • 2s and 3s against a dealer 4-7 – also against a 2 or 3 if double after split (DAS) is allowed
  • 4s if DAS is available when dealer shows a 5 or 6
  • 6s against a dealer 3-6 and against 2s if DAS is available
  • 7s against a dealer 2-7
  • 9s against a dealer 2-6 or 8 or 9

When to Surrender

Not all casinos and blackjack games will allow surrendering, but if you can play at a table that offers it, you can save yourself a small fortune by giving in. The surrender bet is your last resort if your hand is terrible – think about a hard 16.

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These are the hands that you should surrender:

  • Hard 16, unless it’s double 8s, against a dealer 9, 10 or ace
  • Hard 15 against a dealer 10

There you have it, that’s basic strategy in a nutshell. Learning all of this to the level you don’t need to look at this guide can take a little while, but if you dedicate a few hours every day for a few weeks, you will be a basic strategy master. Now, go out there and use basic strategy in blackjack to rumble the casino and walk out with pockets filled with cash!