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Blackjack Tips

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Key Blackjack Tips

Remember the dealer must play according to a set of rules which the player does not:

  • The dealer will draw until they have a hand value of 17 or more
  • The dealer will stand on 17 or more

For example if the player stands on 12 and the dealer starts with a hand of 14, although the dealer already has a hand which beats the player they cannot stand on a hand worth less than 17 so they must draw. Conversely if a player has a hand worth 18 and the dealer has 17, the dealer cannot then draw more cards to beat the player's 18 hand.

Below are some of the key tips which best exploits these rules:

Blackjack Tips - Hitting

Aim to get at least 17 - 17 is a magic number in Blackjack as (under most Blackjack variants) the dealer has to hit until they get at least 17 (and stand on value 17 or higher)and cannot hit on a value 17+, often you must think of 17 as the minium value to play with. Although there are exceptions depending on what the dealer's face up card is showing.

Blackjack Tips - Standing

Stand on hard 17+ - The dealer must stop on 17 or more (lowering the chance of beating your 17+) furthermore as the dealer has to hit on anything less than 17 the dealer runs the risk of the dealer going bust.

Stand on dealer's 2-6 - As a dealer must hit on anything less than 17 when the dealer shows a low card you know the dealer runs the risk of going bust if their face down card is a ten and they were to draw another high card. In these cases it's better to stand, sit back and see if the dealer goes bust.

Blackjack Tips - Doubling

Take this option when the dealer shows a low card such as 3-6 (banking on the dealer going bust), or when your hand is particularly strong, namely 9-11.

Always double on 11 against 10 - The dealer may have a strong card but you have an even better hand, doubling is the statistically better move.

Blackjack Tips - Splitting

Always split Aces - The split gives you two promising hands with the opportunity to get Blackjacks compared with the soft 12. (However you'll usually only be able to take one card on each ace.)

Always split 8s - Fundamentally a hard 16 is an awful hand particularly if the dealer shows a 7-Ace card, this is a defensive move which is statistically more rewarding than playing hit a 16 hand (even the dealer shows Ace). Conversely if the dealer shows a 6 or less card this becomes an offensive move to increase your bet on the dealers (potentially) poor hand.

Always split 9s against a 9 - While a pair of 9s makes a strong 18 hand, when played against another 9 the dealer has the statistical advantage. This can be reduced (though not removed) by splitting your pair of 9s.

Always split 9s against a 6 - While standing on a hand of 18 is fine against a dealer's 6. Statistically you can make more money by splitting your 9s, it's simply taking advantage of the dealer's (potentially) poor hand.

4s against a 6 - If you are allowed to double after a split (Atlantic City rules) then it is worthwhile splitting your 4s against a 6 in the hope of getting a 5-7 card which then allows you to increase your stake with a double.

Never split 10s - This may be especially tempting when the dealer is showing a 6 but don't, you would be throwing away a definite great hand and exposing yourself to unnecessary risk.

Never split 5s - Throwing away starting hand of a 10 in favour of 5s is bad sense. Having a 10 also opens the opportunity to double down if the dealer shows a poor hand.

Blackjack Tips - Surrender

Some casinos will offer surrender after both you and the dealer have been dealt two cards, meaning that you forfeit half of your bet. The proper strategy for "late surrender" in multiple-deck games is:

  • Surrender 16 (but not a pair of 8s) against a dealer's upcard of 9, 10 or ace.
  • Surrender 15 against a dealer's upcard of 10.

For single-deck games the rules are the same with one exception-don't surrender your 16 against a 9.

In "early surrender"(which is very rarely offered) the player is able to surrender before the dealer checks for Blackjack. Add these rules to your basic strategy:

  • Surrender any hard hand and pair totaling 5 to 7 or 12 to 17, against an ace.
  • Surrender hard hands and pairs totaling 14 to 16 against a 10.
  • Surrender hard 16 against a 9

Blackjack Tips - Insurance

Never take insurance - It increases the house advantage by 5.8-7.5% (a sucker bet). Only a card counter can take advantage of insurance (which is impossible on online casinos). Don't do it.

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