Blackjack Strategy How To Beat The Dealer

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Blackjack is a game that involves both luck and skill. While we can't control the cards we're dealt or change the house edge, we can choose how to play. Even a basic blackjack strategy can greatly improve our chances of winning.

There's no perfect strategy that guarantees wins 100% of the time. However, using certain techniques properly makes a significant difference. Despite our best efforts, there will be times when luck is not on our side. Let's explore how to minimize losing streaks and maximize winnings.

Blackjack Strategy How To Beat The Dealer

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Blackjack Rules and Variations

Blackjack, also known as twenty-one and pontoon, originated in France in the 1700s. It remains one of the most popular casino games worldwide. The goal is to beat the dealer's hand by getting closer to 21 without going over.

There are single and multi-deck versions. Before we get into strategies for winning, let's look at some common variations and their specific rules:

●   European Blackjack: The classic single-deck game where the dealer stands on any 17

●   American Blackjack: Played with two decks; dealer gets one face-up and one face-down card and hits on soft 17

●   Spanish Blackjack: Uses eight decks; dealer stands on soft 17

●   Atlantic City Blackjack: Played with eight decks; dealer hits on soft 17

●   Vegas Strip Blackjack: Uses four decks and follows Las Vegas rules; dealer hits on soft 17

Blackjack Strategy How To Beat The Dealer

Basic Blackjack Strategies

Here are some of the most popular tactics and strategies for blackjack:

1. Blackjack Strategy Charts

Basic strategy charts can help guide better decisions. The most well-known is the chart created by Edward Thorp in his 1960s bestseller "Beat the Dealer." It indicates the optimal move based on your hand and the dealer's upcard.

The chart has the dealer's upcard across the top and your hand running down the side. Find where your hand and the dealer's upcard intersect to see the recommended action. Studying these charts helps ingrain profitable moves.

2. Card Counting

Card counting involves tracking dealt cards to determine which remain in the deck, especially in single-deck games. This allows making informed betting and playing choices to lower the house edge.

While legal, card counting is frowned upon by casinos. The easiest system to learn is Harvey Dubner's 1963 Hi-Lo method for assigning point values to cards. Players keep a "running count" and "true count." The running count is high cards minus low cards. With multiple decks, divide this by the number of decks left to get the true count.

The higher the true count, the better for the player. Card counters bet more when the count is favorable.

3. Splitting Pairs

When dealt two cards of equal rank, they can be split into two hands by placing a second bet and playing each hand separately. Usually only one extra card is allowed on split aces.

Splitting pairs boosts winning odds in favorable situations while minimizing losses when behind. Always split eights. Do the same with aces to increase 21 chances. Never split fives or tens – keep these strong existing hands. Consider splitting sevens against dealers showing two through seven. An online chart assists with decisions.

4. Doubling Down

Doubling the initial bet to receive just one extra card can generate substantial profits. Ideal hands to double down on are 11 or less as drawing a 10-point card often results in a strong total. Consider the dealer's upcard too – weak ones like five or six are preferable. Doubling down favors fewer decks and soft hands where hitting the ace avoids busting.

5. Insurance Bets

When the dealer shows an ace, players can make a side insurance bet that pays 2:1 if the dealer gets blackjack. Though deemed risky by some, this bet will win over time. Using card counting to estimate when the deck favors you, place insurance bets more freely if the count exceeds +4.

6. Surrender

Surrender allows sacrificing half your bet to fold a poor hand, reducing potential losses over many hands. Early surrender occurs before the dealer checks for blackjack. If offered, surrender weak starting hands like hard 15 or 16 against strong dealer upcards like nine through ace.

7. Hit or Stand

Carefully choose whether to hit (draw a card) or stand (keep current cards) to get closer to 21 without going over. Always stand on 17 or more. Conversely, with 11 or less always hit. In the middle, typically stand on 12-16 versus dealer six or lower; otherwise, hit. Charts help guide new players until they develop a feel for ideal decisions.

Final Thoughts

Mastering blackjack requires both skill and luck. Use these tips for online tournaments and cash games. We recommend practicing extensively before high-stakes games. Learn more strategies to further reduce the house edge. The more knowledgeable you become, the better your chances are of beating the dealer. Good luck at the tables!


What is the best blackjack strategy?

Blackjack Strategy How To Beat The Dealer

While there is no single "best" approach, basic strategies like hitting on soft 16 or less, standing on 17 or more, and always splitting aces and eights boost your odds significantly. As you gain experience, continue learning optimal moves for various hands against different dealer upcards.

Should you hit or stand on 16?

With 16 versus dealer seven or higher, hit. Versus six or lower, stand.

Is card counting illegal?

No, counting cards is legal in the US as an advantage strategy. However, casinos discourage it through countermeasures like barring suspected card counters or raising minimum bets. There is nothing illegal about learning this popular technique and using it when playing blackjack.

Why not split tens?

Splitting tens turns one strong hand into two weaker ones, especially risky if the dealer shows a ten. Taking the guaranteed strong 20 is preferable to splitting.

List of Top Tips

●   Use basic strategy charts

●   Count cards (when possible)

●   Split pairs wisely

●   Double down on 11 or less

●   Consider insurance when appropriate

●   Surrender bad starting hands if offered

●   Carefully choose to hit or stand

Table Comparing Blackjack Variations


Decks Used

Dealer Hits Soft 17?










Atlantic City



Vegas Strip



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