Casino Strategy

Blackjack Strategies: The Basics for Beginners (Part One)

There are six core components to the game of Blackjack and its strategy. In this first part, we're going to cover the following: hitting and standing, doubling down and splitting.

Hitting and Standing
This decision is the heart of your Blackjack strategy and it's more complex than many players realize. You have to remember that the dealer always has to take a hit if they're holding a hand lower than 17, which means that you won't make money as often if you're holding less than that because you're working on the assumption that the dealer is going to bust.

Instead, you'll want to look at it like this: if you're holding 16 or lower in your hand, and you see the dealer is holding any card greater than an 8, you need to take a hit. Whenever the dealer holds any of these cards, his chances of busting are very low. Unless you clear the barrier that is 17, your chances of winning are concurrently poor. Blackjack strategy charts can help you learn your way around this sort of thing and are worth studying.

You should consider standing when you have 12 or higher but the dealer only has 4, 5 or 6. A dealer busts 40% of the time when he has these three cards.

Doubling Down
Double down each and every time you get a good chance to do so, but you have to make sure that it is a good chance to do so. The simple, dumb rule from the movie Swingers is actually your best friend in a time like this: always double down on any hand that totals 11. You can hit any card and continue safely; if you end up with any of the 16 different cards in the deck that make a 10, you've got 21.

You should also double down when you're holding a 10 and you see a 9 or lower in the dealer’s cards. If you end up with a 9, and you've got a soft hand (one with an ace) between 13 and 17 while a dealer’s got a 4, 5, or 6, you should do the same thing. Otherwise, stick to your guns and don't bother.

The one rule you'll want to keep closest to your heart is that you never split any cards with 10s or 5s, and that includes face cards. The reverse of this is the aces and 8s rule, where you'll always want to split.

There are other times in which splitting is a good idea, but that's highly dependent on the cards that the dealer has.


This article is intended to help you build your strategy for the free play games found on