10 of the Best Blackjack Strategies

By  //  April 14, 2022

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Learning how to play blackjack is as far as most players go. They don’t bother to look into strategies and definitely don’t consider the long-term gameplay. If you are serious about blackjack, you need to start thinking about strategies and learning what to use in which situation.

1. Stick With A Hard 11

A hard 11 is when your first dealt cards add up to 11. When you aim to reach 21, this middle ground number can make a lot of players’ heads spin. However, we are looking at the odds and not playing with our gut. 

In this situation, you are unlikely to win on a hit. Doubling down is the smart option.

2. Split A Pair Of Aces And 8s

When you have two cards that are the same number/picture, you can split them. This means creating two new hands, each one with the repeated card. You need to bet more to allow the second hand to participate, but by splitting your cards you’ll have a higher chance of winning.

Two aces might sound like an auto-win, but as the card is so lucrative, you can use its flexibility to win on two hands instead. 8s on the other hand put you at a hard 16, which isn’t a strong number to play with. Splitting them gives you higher odds of reaching 21 on a different hand.

3. Avoid Splitting 10s and 5s

Although 10s and Aces have a similarly high score outcome, 10s are not as flexible. Whereas Aces can be an 11 or 1, 10s are just 10. You will be unlikely to get a better result should you split your 10s, so the best option is to stick with your hard 20.

Two 5s however create a low hand. Splitting 5s would give you a maximum of 16 on the next turn which is another low number. Instead, you will have more chances of reaching a high score by hitting with two 5s.

4. Hit A 12 Against A 2 or 3 Upcard

If you have a low hand such as a 12, but you notice the dealer’s upcard is 2 or 3, you can easily fall into a panic. The hole card could be anything, and your low hand might not beat the dealer. Schrödinger’s card can make you stress into thinking your 12 could beat the dealer.

However, you should ignore the dealer’s hand and focus on your own. You have a high likelihood of staying in the game if you hit. 

5. Always Hit On A Soft 18 If The Dealer Has A High Upcard

A soft 18 is an ace and 7 combination. A lot of players will mistake a soft 18 with a surefire win, but if the dealer has a 9, 10, or Ace, you shouldn’t be so sure. The great thing about an Ace card is its flexibility. If you get a picture card, you can turn a soft 18 into a hard 18 and not lose anything. If you get an ace, 2, or 3, you will get a higher hand. Any other card will lower your hand but not make you bust.

Because the dealer has a high upcard, you need to risk losing your high hand while knowing the hit won’t make you bust. This could push you into a win.

6. If The Dealer’s Upcard Is 9 Or Less, Double Down On Your 10

If you hold two 10s, you should double down automatically. But if you only have one 10, check the dealer’s upcard. Knowing they have a 9 or less puts you in the best position for a win. Double down!

7. Dealer’s Soft 17 Rule? Follow This Strategy

Some dealers play by the Soft 17 rule. This means when the dealer has a soft 17, they must hit and cannot stand.

In these instances, you should change your tactics to follow a new odds outcome. If you get a hard 11 and the dealer’s upcard is an Ace, double down. Seeing an Ace means they will likely have to hit, so you have more room to play.

If the dealer has a 6 and you have a soft 19, you should hit. And lastly, if the dealer has a 2 and you have a soft 17 you should hit. This is because you have a higher chance of winning due to the dealer’s restrictions.

8. Dealer Has A 5 Or 6? Double Down On Soft 13s – Soft 18s

No matter which version of Blackjack you are playing, seeing a 5 or a 6 on the dealer’s upcard means you have wiggle room on some soft hands. Soft 13s through to soft 18s have the flexibility to give you higher numbers against 5s and 6s, keeping you safe and upping your odds.

9. Dealer Has A 7? Stand With Your Pair of 9s

Because of picture cards, it is four times more likely that the dealer has a 10 in their hole card. This makes their most likely total is 17. With two 9s you will beat the dealer’s highest potential card.

10. Dealer Has A 9, 10, Or Ace? Surrender Your Hard 16

Hard 16s are one of the worst hands to be dealt, especially against high dealer upcards. The likelihood of you winning is low as the deal’s most probable hole card is 10. To save your money, you should surrender.

Summary

The more you play, the easier it will be to remember these strategies. Keep them in your mind when the table gets tricky.