The following blackjack strategy chart explains the exact move you should make in each situation at the blackjack table. This chart should be followed consistently because it is based on the math behind blackjack. Mathematicians have studied blackjack to such a point that it is considered a “solved game.” In other words, we know with a certainty the best possible move in every possible situation.
It can sometimes be tempting to deviate from perfect blackjack strategy when things go poorly at the casino. If your card tells you to hit on 16 vs. a dealer 7, then you should do exactly that even if you’ve busted the last five times in a row. The temptation to deviate is so strong that it is one of the main reasons casinos don’t care if you use a strategy card at the table.
Optimal blackjack strategy can change depending on the house rules of the casino at which you play. The blackjack strategy chart listed here assumes the following rules:
- Dealer stands on soft 17
- 4-8 Decks
- Double after split
- Late surrender
Many casinos also tell their dealers to hit on soft 17. In that case, you should make the following adjustments to this strategy chart:
- Double hard 11 when dealer has an Ace
- Double Ace-7 when dealer has a 2
- Double Ace-8 when dealer has a 6
- Surrender 15, 17 and 8-8 when dealer has an Ace
How to Use These Strategy Cards
These blackjack strategy charts list the dealer’s total along the top and your own hand total along the left side. After you receive your first two cards and add up your total, look for that total along the left side of the chart. Then, note the dealer’s up-card and look for that value along the top of the chart. The mathematically correct move is listed in the box where that column and row intersects.
There are three different categories of hands, and each one has its own chart.
Most hands are considered “hard hands.” That is, they are not a pair and they do not contain an Ace. The hands K-7, 6-9 and 8-J can all be considered hard hands.
Hands that contain an Ace are called “soft hands.” Hands such as A-2, A-K and A-7 can all be considered soft hands.
A “pair” is a hand that contains two cards of the same value. The hands 2-2, K-J and A-A are all pairs.
You should now be able to categorize each hand and find the correct play every time. Let’s say, for example, that you are dealt A-7 and the dealer is showing an 8. Since there is an Ace in your hand, you will want to use the “soft totals” chart. Look for the row that contains A-7 and then slide across until you are in the intersection of A-7 and dealer’s up-card of 8. The strategy chart says that the best play here is to stand.
You can use this chart for every single possible starting hand. You can also use this chart to look up multiple totals. For example, if you start out with a 2-3 and then hit and catch a 6, you can use the chart again with your new total of 11.
Remember: Even with perfect strategy, blackjack still has a small house advantage. The strategy explained here significantly lowers the advantage but it does not completely eliminate it. In any single session, it is entirely possible to win a bunch of money or lose a bunch. So don’t gamble your rent money.