Winning at blackjack

Black jack is one of the easiest games to consistently win at in a casino over time. This is due to the fact that black jack offers the house one of the lowest edges in the casino. In fact, when playing single deck black jack the house's edge is a mere 0.17% which can be compared to roulette where the house's overall edge is almost 5% i.e. almost 25 times bigger. What these numbers mean is that for every USD100 gambled the house will win almost USD5 when playing roulette while they will only win 17 cents when playing black jack. This makes it a lot easier to walk away from the black jack table a winner; all it takes is a little bit of luck or an extra edge like and counting cards and using a good betting system to become a winning player.

The first thing you need to do if you want to win at black jack is to learn the optimal strategy of when to take a card and when to stand. To do this you should memorize the optimal betting strategies and always follow them (unless you are an advanced player counting cards). Below you can find a table of how to play at a black jack table with the most common rule set. The optimal strategy for you might be different if your gambling establishment uses different rules. Even seemingly small changes in rules can have a huge impact on optimal back jack strategy.

The table below should be read as:

S = Stand
H = Hit
Dh = Double (if you are not allowed to double you should hit)
Ds = Double (if you are not allowed to double you should stand)
SP = Split
SU = Surrender (surrender is almost never offered at online casinos or in US casinos but should be used for the very worst hands when allowed)

Insurance should never be purchased as that will increase the bank's edge.

 

Player hand

Dealer's face-up card

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

A

Hard totals (excluding pairs)

17-20

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

16

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

SU

SU

SU

15

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

H

SU

H

13-14

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

12

H

H

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

11

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

H

10

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

H

H

9

H

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

H

H

H

H

H

5-8

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

Soft totals

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

A

A,8 A,9

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

A,7

S

Ds

Ds

Ds

Ds

S

S

H

H

H

A,6

H

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

H

H

H

H

H

A,4 A,5

H

H

Dh

Dh

Dh

H

H

H

H

H

A,2 A,3

H

H

H

Dh

Dh

H

H

H

H

H

Pairs

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

A

A,A

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

10,10

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

9,9

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

S

SP

SP

S

S

8,8

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

7,7

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

H

H

H

H

6,6

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

H

H

H

H

H

5,5

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

H

H

4,4

H

H

H

SP

SP

H

H

H

H

H

2,2 3,3

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

SP

H

H

H

H

 

Knowing the perfect black jack strategy and following is however not enough to eliminate the bank's edge. It will just minimize it and give you an optimal chance to win money.

To increase your chances to win at black jack even further you should read our articles about counting cards and visit our black jack books page where you can find good books about counting cards. The page about black jack systems is also worth a visit so you can see which systems to use and which systems that should be avoided.