Basic Blackjack Strategy

There is no greater feeling than winning, winning and winning. The best thing about card games is that players have the opportunity of manipulating or predicting the outcomes. This is why most players love playing Blackjack for real money. Even though the game is dependent on luck, you will require some skills if you want to increase your odds of winning.

What is a basic strategy?

Blackjack’s basic strategy is a chart created using a computer from simulations of millions of blackjack hands. These computer simulations reveled all the mathematical probabilities of improving a blackjack hand. For instance, the strategy tells the player which decision to take for each hand.

The basic strategy will vary from one variation to the next. By using the basic strategy, a blackjack player will eliminate the 5% advantage the casino has over an unskilled player. It’s important to know that the basic strategy will only help you to increase and lower the house edge. You will not always win each time you apply the basic strategy.

There are some factors which will affect the basic strategy rules:

  • The number of decks – you cannot use a single deck strategy in a multi-deck strategy.
  • The rules present at the table.
  • The game variation.

Aura Game’s Simple strategy

For years, Aura Game has been advising newbies to always master the basic strategy before using real money. However, not all people are able to memorize the basic strategy. This is why we have presented a Simple Strategy. The house edge incurred while using Simple Strategy is 0.53% which is closer to basic strategy’s 0.4% house edge. Here is its chart:

As a newbie, you should know that:

  • A hard blackjack hand is the one which has no aces or has aces which are counted a 1, otherwise the hand is a bust.
  • A soft hand is the one with at least one ace which can also be counted as 11 without causing a bust.
  • If you have a hard 10 or 11, you should double if your points are more than the dealer.
  • If the strategy tells you to double, but you have at least 3 cards or table rules prohibit soft doubling, you should hit. Stand if you have a soft 18.
  • If the strategy tells you ‘don’t split’, any hand should be treated as a total of 8, 10 or 20.
  • If the strategy tells you to surrender at 16 versus 10, but the rules don’t allow you to take this action, then hit.

Basic Strategy Charts Layout

If it’s your first time to look into the basic strategy, you might be scared. It seems complicated but its very simple to use and understand. For instance, about a third of the hands are played the same way regardless of the dealer’s up card. The other hands can be played in one or two ways depending on the dealer’s up card.

On the basic strategy charts, Player’s hand is on the left while the Dealer’s is at the top. During the game, follow the dealer’s up card value down the column until it intersects with your hand. Here are good examples of basic strategy charts:

Hard Totals
Dealers Up Card
Hard Totals 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T A
8 H H H H H H H H H H
9 H D D D D H H H H H
10 D D D D D D D D H H
11 D D D D D D D D D H
12 H H S S S H H H H H
13 S S S S S H H H H H
14 S S S S S H H H H H
15 S S S S S H H H H H
16 S S S S S H H H H H
17-20 S S S S S S S S S S
Soft Totals
Dealers Up Card
Soft Totals 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T A
A 2 H H H D D H H H H H
A 3 H H H D D H H H H H
A 4 H H D D D H H H H H
A 5 H H D D D H H H H H
A 6 H D D D D H H H H H
A 7 S D D D D S S H H H
A 8 S S S S S S S S S S
A 9 S S S S S S S S S S
Pair Splitting
Dealers Up Card
Pairs 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T A
2 2 P * P * P P P P H H H H
3 3 P * P * P P P P H H H H
4 4 H H H P P H H H H H
5 5 D D D D D D D D H H
6 6 P* P P P P H H H H H
7 7 P P P P P P H H H H
8 8 P P P P P P P P P P
9 9 P P P P P S P P S S
10’s S S S S S S S S S S
A’s P P P P P P P P P P


  • H – Hit
  • S – Stand
  • D – Double
  • P – Split

In some cases, the choices given by the strategy charts may appear odd. This is why we have provided a Dealer Bust Probabilities chart below. It shows how the up card affects the probability of a dealer bust.

Dealer’s Uphand 17+ 18+ 19+ 20+ 21 BJ Bust
2 65% 51% 37% 24% 12% 0% 35%
3 63 49 36 24 12 0 37
4 60 47 35 23 11 0 40
5 58 46 34 22 11 0 42
6 58 41 31 20 10 0 42
7 74 37 23 15 7 0 26
8 76 63 27 14 7 0 24
9 77 65 53 18 6 0 23
10 71 60 49 38 4 8 21
A 58 45 32 19 3 31 11

Additional Tips

You should use card counting together with the basic strategy if you desire to beat the dealer at almost every hand. There is also a basic strategy engine and calculator which might come in handy while playing at online casinos.