Blackjack Player Guide

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games of all and is played by millions of players the world over. See how you can improve your Blackjack play with bet365.

The Basics

Scoring

The random nature in which cards are dealt in Blackjack means that there can never be a system that guarantees a successful outcome of any hand for a player. However, there are ways in which you can maximise your chances of taking advantage of the best odds available to the player in any given situation.

Depending upon which cards you hold and the value of the dealer's face-up card there are courses of action you can take which are considered to be statistically the most advantageous way to play.

A "hard number" is one which is made up of two cards not containing an Ace. A "soft number" is one which contains an Ace and has two potential values. For example, if you have A-5 then you have either 6 or 16, giving you more options than if you have 10-6 to make 16.

This strategy recommends that you should not split 10s, that you should look to double down when you have eleven, against anything other than a dealer's Ace, and that you stand with 12 against a dealer's 6.

This may not be the way that you usually play but it has been mathematically determined to be the best way of increasing the odds in your favour.

Hit Hit
Hit Hit with 2 cards stand with 3 or more
Split Split
DS Double Down if possible, otherwise Stand
DD Double Down if possible, otherwise Hit
STAND Stand

Hard Numbers

Dealer's Face Up Card

Soft Numbers

Dealer's Face Up Card

Pairs

Dealer's Face Up Card

Key Points

Feel free to use our special strategy guide to see how the experts think you should play the game and see how it fits in with your own tactics and approach. Remember though that no strategy guide can account for betting patterns and size of bets, so it's up to the player to determine those for themselves. Even then though there are some basics which you should always look to adhere to:

Always split Aces, except when the dealer is showing an Ace

Do not split a pair of 5s

Stand on a hard 13 through to 16 if the dealer is showing a 6 or lower

If the dealer is showing a 4, 5 or 6 you should stick on 12

You should always continue to hit until you have 17 or better if the dealer is showing a ten

Always stand once you have a hard 17 or higher. The odds of you not busting are far too low for it to be worth the risk

Always stand when you have A-8 or A-9

HINTS AND TIPS

Hard and Soft - Tricky Seventeen

A lot of players find 17 a difficult number in Blackjack. It is always sensible to stand on a hard 17, but here we demonstrate the same is not the case with a soft 17 (an ace and a six). Though 17 is a good hand, you have the chance to improve your holding without the fear of busting.

Drawing any card with a 10 value will mean you still have 17, while an Ace, 2, 3 or 4 will improve it. That leaves only a 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 to weaken your hand. As you can see, eight cards either improve or maintain the strength of your hand and only five weaken it. This means that soft 17 is sometimes a good time to Double Down.

Play your hand, not your stake

Whether you are following optimal strategy or your own system, most players agree that it’s important to make decisions based on your cards and not the value of your stake. For example, if you've been dealt 14 and the dealer is showing a 10 then the optimal strategy is to hit and take another card.

Doubling Down

Doubling Down enables the player to gain full value when they have a good situation. If a player is discouraged from making the Double Down, they are unable to gain that value.

Splitting Pairs

In contrast to the reluctance players sometimes feel to Double Down, they are often too keen to split pairs of 10 value cards. If the dealer is showing a 5 or a 6, the player tends to think they have an easy chance to win two hands.

However, why would you want to break up one of the best Blackjack hands you can be dealt, and risk making two worse hands? There are many times when you should split your paired cards but when you are dealt 20 it is a good idea to stand every time.

Final thoughts

As we have already seen, players often change their game based on factors beyond the cards, and this rarely improves their results. Another example of this occurs when players stand on a low hand and hope that the dealer busts. Such over-cautiousness is often another indication that the player cares more about the stake than they do about playing their cards.

It is vital that you concentrate on your own game, whatever strategy you are using, rather than allowing yourself to be distracted. Successful Blackjack players are always aware of the issues discussed in this article, and combine this with their knowledge of optimal strategy.

Please note:

This strategy guide is provided for information only and is intended to be used with bet365's standard single player, 3-player and 5-player Blackjack games.

Because of the random way in which cards are dealt in Blackjack, sustained winning and losing streaks are possible and using this strategy is no guarantee of any specific outcome.

Playing Optimal Strategy Blackjack is no guarantee of success but does offer the best odds over a sustained period of time.