Basic Blackjack Strategy Explained
Blackjack is a strategic game, and the basic approach lays out every move you need to make to be at the top of your game. Consider this strategy as a guide that tells you when you should ask for more cards (twist), when you should stay with the cards you have (stick), when you should double down, and when you should split a pair.
Blackjack basic strategy is the simplest approach to playing the game, and while it can't guarantee victory, it could help you play smarter. The strategy is based on statistics, and if used well, it can lower the house's advantage.
Typically, the house edge goes as high as 2.5% in a game of blackjack. However, proper use of the basic strategy could bring it down as low as 0.50%. With the tips in this article, you will be able to get the most out of your blackjack games.
The rules of blackjack are reasonably simple. All you have to do is sit down at the table and receive two cards face-up to start. The dealer also receives two cards, but one will be hidden from view.
The objective is to beat the dealer's hand without getting over 21, or to "stand" on a hand total and hope that the dealer busts or gets a lower hand than you. Aces can be worth either 1 or 11, while 2 to 10 all have their face value. Kings, Queens, and Jacks are worth 10.
Your options when it's your turn to act are to stand, take another card, and then take another card if you like. You will lose your turn and your bet if you go bust. If you decide to stand, however, the dealer will reveal their second card and play. If you win, your reward is your bet and a payout of 1:1.
Dealer rules in blackjack are a set of guidelines meant to keep physical and live casino dealers objective while they supervise games. These safeguards also make the casino credible in the eyes of patrons, who know that the dealers they're dealing with will always play by the book.
Dealers don’t place bets: they deal the cards and distribute the winnings. They stand in for the casino itself, so they're fairly neutral characters. Because of this, they are not allowed to play the game they are helping to run by putting bets on the table.
- A dealer’s ace counts as 11: For purposes of the blackjack rules, the dealer's ace is always counted as 11. A player's ace can be worth either 1 or 11, at their discretion.
- Also, if the total is a natural 21, they can ask the players if they want to make an insurance bet or not.
- A dealer stands on 17 or over: According to the rules of blackjack, the dealer must stand on a hand totalling 17 or more. In other words, the dealer's opening hand value stands.
- A dealer hits if he holds 16 or less: The dealer in blackjack is required to hit on a hand worth 16 or less. The dealer must continue drawing cards until their hand totals 17 or more.
- A dealer reveals his hand after the players: Once all players have made their moves, the dealer will turn over their down card to reveal their original hand value. What they do next is determined by the strength of their hand.
To use this blackjack strategy at Buzz Casino or when you play physically, you’ll need to note when to twist, stick, or double down. These are simple to follow with a blackjack strategy chart, but you can memorise them from the explanation below.
When to Stick
To stand or "stick" means to end your turn and hold on to your total. For instance, if you have a hand total between 17 and 20, you must stick no matter what. The reason for this is simple; there is a high chance you’ll go bust since your next card will make your hand exceed 21.
Still, it’s good to note that some hands can be split into 2 good hands. 10-10 and 9-9 are good examples of hands you can split.
Also, there are soft hands and hard hands, and these can influence your decision on whether or not to stick. An ace is malleable, as it can either be 1 or 11 (depending on what you need); hence, it’s a soft hand.
Other hands, excluding an ace, are hard.
- With 17-21 - Stick
- With 13-16 and a dealer’s 2 to 6 - Stick
- With 12 and a dealer’s 4, 5, or 6 - Stick
When to Twist
To twist or hit means to choose another card so that your total approaches or equals 21. Here are the instances when you must twist.
- With 11 points or less - Twist
- With 13-17 involving an ace counting as 11 - Twist
- With 16 or lower and a dealer’s ace - Twist
- With a soft 18 and a dealer’s A, 9, or 10 - Twist
After receiving your first two cards, you have the option of "doubling down", or increasing your bet by the same amount. There is only one more card dealt to you, and you aren’t allowed to hit.
- If your hand totals 11, 10, or 9, excluding an ace, you may double your bet.
- When your cards add up to 18, 17, or 16, you can double down.
- If the dealer holds an ace and your hand totals over 11, you should not double down.