Basic strategy will minimize the casino’s advantage in land-based and in online casino blackjack. Below is a “universal” basic strategy, modified very slightly for simplicity. There are more precise variations that require you to change according to the different rules of each casino https://playcanadacasino.com/blackjack-online/. However for online blackjack, this is more trouble than it is worth because the improvement in results is not very significant. Print this universal strategy sheet and follow it whenever playing Blackjack at an online casino.
When to hit :
- Hit hard 8 or less – always
- Hit hard 9 – if dealer shows 2, 7, 8, 9, 10 or A
- Hit hard 10 – if dealer shows 10 or A
- Hit hard 11 – if dealer show A
- Hit hard 12 – if dealer shows 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, or A
- Hit hard 13, 14, 15 or 16 – if dealer shows 7, 8, 9, 10, A
- (Exception – Stand/surrender with 7+7 against 10 in one-deck games.)
When to split :
- Split 2’s & 3’s – if dealer shows 4-7
- Split 6’s – if dealer shows 3-6
- Split 7’s – if dealer shows 3-7
- (Stand/surrender with 7’s against 10 in one-deck games.)
- Split 8’s – always
- Split 9’s – if dealer shows 2-9, X-not-7.
- (Split 9’s vs. 2 through 9, except not vs. 7.)
- Never split 4’s, 5’s, or 10’s.
- Spilt A’s – always
Always split Aces and 8’s, unless surrender is allowed. Then surrender with 8’s against a dealer showing a 10.
Hitting a soft hand:
Always hit a soft hand until you can score 18 or better, unless the strategy tells you to double down. If the dealer shows 9, 10, or A, then hit until you have 19 or better.
Soft 17 is not worth keeping, it beats nothing except a dealer bust. The risk of hitting is you may draw 8 or 9—for a “hard” total of 15 or 16—which you are likely to bust. Nonetheless, you cannot win every hand. In the long run this is well worth the risk.
When to surrender:
Surrender with hard 15 if the dealer shows a 10.
Surrender with hard 16 if the dealer shows 9, 10 or A.
If surrender is not allowed, hit or split according to basic strategy.
Surrender or stand with 7+7 against 10 in one-deck games.
Otherwise, never surrender.
When to surrender:
- Surrender with hard 15 if the dealer shows a 10.
- Surrender with hard 16 if the dealer shows 9, 10 or A.
- If surrender is not allowed, hit or split according to basic strategy.
- Surrender or stand with 7+7 against 10 in one-deck games.
- Otherwise, never surrender.
When to double down:
- Double with 9—if dealer shows 3-6
- Double with 10—if dealer shows 2-9
- Double with 11—if dealer shows 2-10
Doubling down with a soft hand:
- Soft-double with A2, A3 against 5, 6.
- Soft-double with A4, A5 against 4, 5, 6.
- Soft-double with A6, A7 against 3, 4, 5, 6.
Soft-doubling may seem precarious, because you are only allowed one more card. Often this will be a 10, sticking you with a worthless score such as “soft 15,” etc. However, computer simulations prove that in the long run, when the dealer is weak, soft-doubling makes a lot of extra money for the player. The strategy is easy to remember if you note that (a) it relates to sets of two pairs, and (b) the two soft pairs A4, A5, include 4 and work against a dealer’s weakest cards down to 4. So just remember, “A4, A5 against 4,5,6,” and the rest is easy. The next lower set of soft-doubling hands—A2, A3—is weaker for the player, so we remove the doubling down against 4 where the dealer is not quite so weak. The next higher set—A6, A7—is stronger for the player, and so we add the doubling down against 3.
When to buy insurance:
Never. Insurance is a sucker bet. The house advantage for insurance is similar to the house advantage for a slot machine—so it defeats your purpose of playing Blackjack.
Notice that about 1/3 of the deck is face cards and 10’s. So if you assume the dealer’s hole card is a 10-count, and draw or stand accordingly, then usually, this results in a pretty good “basic strategy.” Also notice that the dealer is weakest when he shows a 6, because he must hit and is very likely to bust. With 4 or 5 showing the dealer also is weak, but slightly less likely to bust.
Other, more complex strategies can be used for the seasoned veteran of the Blackjack table, but it is of importance to realize that none of the more advance methods of determining when to make certain plays or moves, can be used without a base knowledge of the basics.