Basic Blackjack Strategy For Beginners: Learn How to Play Like a Pro


Looking to get into blackjack? If so, start by making sure that you have the basic strategy memorized.

See, blackjack is a game of probability. No matter which hand you get, there’s always a mathematically correct way to play it. Each decision has an expected value based on millions of computer simulations.

In other words, using basic blackjack strategy means you don’t have to think about your decisions. The good news: there’s not that much you need to remember. Here’s how to get started.

Basic Rules

The simplified blackjack strategy only has ten rules to follow. Here they are:

  • Stand on a hard total (an ace can’t count as 1 or 11) of 17 or more.
  • Split aces or 8’s.
  • Don’t split 5’s and 10’s.
  • Double down on 9 if the dealer has anything from 3 to 6. Otherwise, hit.
  • Double down on 10 if the dealer has anything but an ace or 10. Otherwise, hit.
  • Double down on 11 if the dealer has anything but an ace. Otherwise, hit.
  • Hit a hard 12-16 versus the dealer’s 7 or more. Otherwise, stand.
  • Hit a hard 8 or less.
  • Stand on soft 18 (an ace can count as both 1 and 11) or more.
  • Hit soft 17 or less.

This list is a great starting point, and you can memorize it in less than an hour. That said, there are a few exceptions that we’ll cover in the next section.


With hard hands, there’s only one exception to the above list. If you have a hard total of 12, hit if the dealer has a 2 or 3 shows.

Soft totals are a little more complicated. Here’s a quick list:

  • Double down on soft 13 or 14 if the dealer has a 5 or 6. Otherwise, hit.
  • Double down on soft 15 or 16 if the dealer has a 4, 5, or 6. Otherwise, hit.
  • Double down on soft 17 if the dealer has anything from to 3 to 6. Otherwise, hit.

Finally, you need to know what to do with pairs that weren’t addressed above.

  • Split 2’s, 3’s, and 7’s if the dealer has anything from 2 to 7.
  • Split 4’s if the dealer has a 5 or 6.
  • Split 6’s if the dealer has anything from 2 to 6.
  • Split 9’s if the dealer has 2-6, an 8, or a 9. Stand if they have an ace, 7, or 10.

Other Considerations

By following the above guide, you’ll know how to play any hand you get. Here are two other tips that should prepare you for the real thing.

First, never take the insurance bet when it’s offered. This is a side bet that protects you from a dealer blackjack, but beginners shouldn’t bother with it. As long as you follow the basic strategy, you’ll be fine.

Also, if you want to start your Blackjack adventure online, pick the right site. These days, there are more than 14,000 sites that offer you to play Blackjack. The best way to stay safe online is to stick to the popular options.

More on Basic Blackjack Strategy

Keep in mind that blackjack is a game where the house will always have the edge. The above strategy helps you minimize those odds, but you’ll still be at a slight disadvantage. Still, that’s more than we can say for other casino games.

Want to know more about basic blackjack strategy? Interested in learning what it takes to become a professional player? Check out our Entertainment section!

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