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Basic Strategy Explained

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Lisa Dawson

My name is Lisa Dawson. I'm a passionate card game player with many years of expertise in the field. Enjoy my guides and articles!

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games worldwide. Its simplicity and strategic depth make it a favorite among both novice and experienced players. Understanding the basic strategy of blackjack is crucial for improving your odds of winning. In this guide, we will explain the fundamental principles of basic strategy to help you become a more effective player and increase your chances of success at the table.

Understanding Basic Strategy

Basic strategy in blackjack is a set of rules that provides the best possible move for every combination of player hand and dealer upcard. The goal is to minimize the house edge and maximize your winning potential by making statistically sound decisions. Here are the key elements of basic strategy:

Know When to Hit or Stand

The decision to hit (take another card) or stand (keep your current hand) is pivotal in blackjack. Using a basic strategy chart can help you determine the correct action based on your hand and the dealer’s upcard.


Player’s Hand Dealer’s Upcard Recommended Action
8 2-7 Hit
12 4-6 Stand
16 2-6 Stand

When to Double Down

Doubling down allows you to double your initial bet in exchange for committing to stand after receiving one more card. This can be a powerful move when used correctly.

  • If you have a total of 11, always double down if the dealer’s upcard is anything other than an Ace.
  • With a total of 10, double down if the dealer has anything other than a 10 or Ace.
  • Double down on a total of 9 if the dealer’s upcard is between 3 and 6.

When to Split Pairs

Splitting pairs allows you to turn a potentially weak hand into two separate hands, each with its own chance of winning. Knowing when to split can significantly improve your game.

  • Always split Aces and 8s.
  • Never split 5s and 10s.
  • Split 2s and 3s if the dealer’s upcard is between 4 and 7.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Even with a solid understanding of basic strategy, it’s easy to make errors. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Standing on a soft 17: Always hit on soft 17 (Ace and 6).
  • Failing to double down on favorable hands: Don’t miss out on opportunities to increase your bet when the odds are in your favor.
  • Not splitting pairs correctly: Ensure you split pairs according to basic strategy guidelines.


Mastering the basic strategy of blackjack is essential for anyone looking to enhance their gaming skills and improve their chances of winning. By following the recommendations for hitting, standing, doubling down, and splitting pairs, you can reduce the house edge and increase your profits. Remember, practice makes perfect, so spend time familiarizing yourself with these strategies, and you’ll soon see improvements in your game. Happy playing!

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