Blackjack Strategy

Blackjack strategy undeniably takes time to master. Like all skill-based games, you’ll need to invest time to memorize hands, charts, and optimum play. Yet, because blackjack is a negative expectation game which means the casino has an advantage over you. Therefore, to become profitable, you’ll need to practice and invest time. But it could pay off in the end, especially if you play online.

In fact, by playing with a perfect blackjack strategy and a casino bonus, you can significantly tip the odds in your favor. What’s more, you could turn a game you enjoy into a lucrative hobby. On blackjack.me, we want to help you take your skills further. Because to play blackjack profitably, you’ll need more than a basic strategy card you can find below on this page. Knowing about game concepts such as deviations and true count conversions could pay off. But dont worry! Our Blackjack strategy page have you covered.

You must master the basic blackjack strategy fundaments, which are…

To sum up, the blackjack strategy guide calculates the probability of around 250 hands based on the dealer’s face-up card, and you should memorize it. In other words, the likelihood to make 21 with a combination of cards while keeping in mind the dealer’s 10 possible up cards. Essentially, the basic blackjack strategy defines hands in 3 ways, hard hands, soft hands, and pairs. Plus, it takes into account your cards versus the dealer’s cards. From there, it recommends playing soft hands more aggressively because you have higher odds of busting than with your hard hands.

Plus, a hard hand always stands with a hard 17+, hit with 8 or less. It stands if the 2 cards’ value is between 12-16 and the dealer’s total between 2-6. It recommends splitting pairs 2s through 7s. Always split aces and 8s and never split pairs of 5s and 10s.blackjack strategy

Understanding the thought process behind every hand

Sure mastering the basic blackjack strategy is essential, and so is the following thought process and the rules.

The first questions you should always ask yourself when getting cards are:

  • 1) Would it be best to surrender a hand and cut your losses? If the casino you are playing at allows surrender and basic blackjack strategy gives you unfavorable winning odds. Then this would be the optimum play.
  • 2) The second important question you should ask yourself is to split or not to split. If the answer is no, then you should consider doubling down.
  • 3) You should, of course, only double down when basic blackjack strategy indicates it because it means you are very likely to win this hand. But not all casino allows it so ask before putting more money on the table.
  • 4) Think about your other options. Is it best to hit or to stand? For that, it’d be best to refer to the basic blackjack strategy chart before taking into account deviations.

Dealers probability to bust

dealers probability to bust

Players probability to bust

players probability to bust

Understanding deviations is essential to take your blackjack strategy further

Because blackjack deviations are built on basic blackjack strategy, it goes without saying that you should master the fundaments of the game before proceeding further so, while the below section could be enticing to jump to right away. However, there no point in jumping ahead if you don’t know the basic strategy by heart. This means playing correctly 100% of the time. And when you do, well, you can apply the more advanced blackjack strategy knowledge, and the 2 types of deviations explain in more detail below here. This way, you could become even more profitable, hopefully.

The 2 types of deviations you can apply to your blackjack strategy

First, there are betting deviations. It means that you’ll adapt your wager according to how the true count changes because, of course, a changing true count means the house edge changes too. In other words, when you have the edge, you’ll bet more, and when the house has the advantage, you’ll bet less. It’s explained in the paragraphs that follow, in case you wondered.

Then there’s playing deviation. It indicates that you’ll play against the basic blackjack strategy because the card composition changed simultaneously as the true count. For instance, you’d typically hit with a 12 against a 2. But, if the true count is higher than 3. It would be better for you to stand. But let’s look at how you’ll apply this count with one of the most popular blackjack strategy the hi and low count.

Hi-low blackjack strategy – the legal way to count cards

To count cards legally, you’ll need to keep track of the 10 value cards. And each time one of these cards is dealt, you’ll add a value of -1. In essence, the negative count represents the negative advantage for players because the fewer 10 value cards that remain in the shoe, the less favorable it is for players.

You’ll also need to keep track of the numbers of low cards, so 2 to 6. And you’ll assign a positive value of 1+ to those cards. Because as you know these cards are good for the dealer. So the fewer left in the shoe, the more favorable it is for you. Lastly, neutral cards 7, 8, and 9 have no value. Because a blackjack game goes quickly, you could train your mind to adjust the count one card at a time. But you’re better off learning the meaningful pair system.counting cards in blackjack

How does the meaningful pair system works?

To sum up, the meaningful pair system assigns a value to 2 cards or more instead of an individual card. Then it transfers it to the entire table. Using it will not only improve your speed. But it’ll also reduce the amount of calculation you have to do. So you’ll have a better count and a more proper blackjack strategy.

Here’s an example of how it works:

Suppose you’re sitting with 3 other players and get Q and 3. Instead of assigning a value of -1 and +1, you’d give this hand a value of zero. But you have to consider the other cards at the table like A and 6 or A and 3. Those would have a value of zero. If the last player standing at the table gets Q and J. Then you’d assign a count of -2, to the hand and the entire round before the decision starts.

Then you’d continue with individual counts. So if Q, 3, hit and gets a 6, the count would be -1. If ace and 6 hits and get 10, then the count is -2, and if A, 3 hits and get a Q, the count would be -3. This is called the running count, and you’ll convert it into a true count, as explained below.

How do you convert the running count into the true count?

Well, it’s pretty simple. You’ll need to estimate the number of decks remaining in the shoe. And you’ll divide the running count by the number of decks left. So if the true count is 9 and there 4.5 decks left in the shoe, then the true count would be 2. And naturally, the higher the true count is, the higher advantage you’ll have as a player. So you should bet as little as possible when you don’t have an edge. And, of course, bet more when the odds are in your favor.

Basic strategy in American Blackjack

basic strategy for american blackjack

Basic strategy in European Blackjack

basic strategy for european blackjack

Knowing how much you should bet is an essential part of an optimal blackjack strategy

Ok, so now you know how to calculate and keep track of the true count. What’s left to teach you are how it’ll affect how much money you’ll bet so how the playing deviation affects the betting deviations. Because as you know, the higher the true count is, the more favorable the cards are likely to be. So to know how much you should wager, it’s simple. You should take the true count (example +2) then deduct 1 betting unit (example, $25). So 2- 1 is 1, so you should bet 1 unit per hand, so $25. Alternatively, let’s say the running count is +20, and there 5 decks left in the shoe. So that gives you a true count of +4. Then you’d subtract 1 betting unit to get the optimal bets which would be 3 in this case. So you’d wager $75 per hand.

What about edge sorting – how does that work, and is it legal at a blackjack table?

While marking cards at a blackjack table could get you thrown out of a casino in some states or provinces. It’s worth knowing that edge sorting is a legal part of a good blackjack strategy. But what is it exactly? Well, it’s essentially spotting irregularities on cards in between deck changes. And naturally, it’s only possible to do this in brick and mortar casinos or at a live casino blackjack table.

Practice makes perfect

By now, you understand the many elements to take into account to win at blackjack. And remember that the blackjack strategy mentioned above is based on mathematical probability and only scratched the surfaces. So, you should never play blackjack with the hope to pocket many big wins right away. You’re always best to have long goals in mind and practice and then practice some more. You won’t become a blackjack pro from one day to another. But if you put time into learning basic and advanced blackjack strategy, turning blackjack into a lucrative hobby could be very likely. And to put the new blackjack strategy, you’ve learned in practice today. You can visit any operators mentioned on Blackjack.me.