Blackjack is one of the best loved card games in the world. There are many variations, so if you're new to the game see How to Play Blackjack and Pontoon.
Like any casino game, Blackjack is designed to return a profit to the dealer. However, against a reasonable skilled player this profit is very low compared to most casino games - typically less than 1%. Therefore with skill and a little bit of luck, you could come away with more than you started!
When playing, you have several options: HIT - STAND - DOUBLE DOWN or SPLIT. You might even take Insurance.
These calculations are based on EIGHT FULL DECKS mixed together.
When do I DOUBLE DOWN?
Aha! This is the question that sorts out the champions from the also-rans.
Double Down when...
Suppose you're holding an ACE and a 3, this is called a soft 14. If you hit and get 7, you've got a perfectly valid 21, but if you hit and get 8, then your ACE is worth 1, and your total becomes 12. You're still in the game!
Having an ACE is a very powerful weapon against the dealer providing you know how best to use it.
If the rules allow it, you should also Double Down as suggested by this table. (If you can't Double Down then Hit.)
Of course, these are only suggestions to help you! If everything could be accurately predicted, where's the fun?
HOW LIKELY ARE YOU TO GO BUST?
Suppose you're on 14. Any card 7 or below is good, but the six cards higher than the 7 are bad. Therefore if you hit on 14, you have a slightly better than even chance (7/13 = 54%) of improving your hand, and you are slightly less likely (6/14 = 46%) to go bust. 7 is actually the "middle number" or "median" of the card values.
Whatever your hand, you can work out your chances of going bust by considering how many cards (out of the thirteen different ranks available) are against you. For these calculations, ACE always counts as 1 and we're assuming multiple decks have been shuffled together.
If the dealer's upcard is an ACE, he has a 4/13 (31%) chance of getting a Blackjack. You might be allowed to place an extra insurance bet. This is half your stake, and if the dealer does get Blackjack, it pays 2:1 which will effectively return your whole stake on the hand. However, as the dealer's chance of Blackjack is slightly less than 1/3, over time the casino makes a profit of about 2.5% on insurance bets. Therefore insurance is not generally recommended.
WHAT IS CARD COUNTING?If you're playing with a single deck and you see the dealer's upcard is an ace, you know your own chance of receiving an ace is reduced. That's simple!
However, you will usually be playing a game where up to 8 decks are mixed together. A blank plastic card is inserted near the bottom of the deck. The shuffled cards are then stacked in a "shoe" from which they are drawn one at a time as required and then discarded. When the blank appears, all the the cards are brought back together, shuffled and then dealing starts from the top again.
Keeping track of what has been played from multiple decks requires a great deal more skill, but it can be worth it. If a lot of low cards have come out (A-9) this means that a higher than usual proportion of 10-value cards are left. This offers a slight advantage to the player, so it's time to raise your bets. By contrast, if a lot of 10 cards have come out, it's better to keep bets low or even stop playing.
Experts have developed several methods of card counting to help you beat the dealer - but be discrete. The dealers don't like it!
If you would like to boost your card counting performance you can always find an abundance of resources online that will increase your odds of success.
Craps - How to play, Chances and Payouts Blackjack - Hit, Stand, Double Down or Split? Chances of Card Hands Crown and Anchor Dice Game The Betting Guide - and how to work out the Bookie's profit! Accumulator Bets The Roulette Wheel ... and how to worry the casino! The One-Armed Bandit Slot Machine How many ways can you put a pack of cards in order? The National Lottery Odds Kjartan's Games Home Page
Craps - How to play, Chances and Payouts
Blackjack - Hit, Stand, Double Down or Split?
Chances of Card Hands
Crown and Anchor Dice Game
The Betting Guide - and how to work out the Bookie's profit!
The Roulette Wheel ... and how to worry the casino!
The One-Armed Bandit Slot Machine
How many ways can you put a pack of cards in order?
The National Lottery Odds
Kjartan's Games Home Page
Do you have to hit if you double down? ›
Double down. You can't go bust, but the dealer risks going over 21 because they have to hit until they reach 17.Can you double down after a hit? ›
You cannot double down after hitting. Hitting is to take another card. Doubling down is a move that is only allowed after the initial two cards have been dealt.Should you double down in blackjack? ›
The vast majority of Blackjack strategies will recommend always doubling down if your first two cards have a value of 11. This gives you an approximate 53.8% chance of finishing your turn with a strong hand containing a value of 18 or higher, and around a 30.4% probability of finishing it with a hand valued at 21.Should you always double down on 11? ›
Should you Always Double Down on 11? As the player and dealer aim to get as close to 21 as possible in order to win the hand, the player is in a strong position when holding 11 after two cards are dealt. If the dealer is showing a lower card than a 10, it is good strategy to double down.Do I hit on 12 to a 3? ›
No, you should hit a hard 12 against a dealer 3. The decision is close but does favor hitting statistically. If you're counting then you should stand if the true count is 2 or higher.Do you hit a 12 on a 2? ›
Traditional basic strategy (also known as “total-dependent strategy”) says to stand on hard 12 against a dealer's 4, 5, and 6 up card, and hit against a dealer's 2, 3, and 7 though Ace up card. The biggest mistake that players make when they are dealt a hard 12 occurs when the dealer's up card is a 2 or 3.When should you not double down? ›
Never double down when you're showing anything higher than an 11, as the chances of going bust are too high to risk. It's better to simply hit or stick on a lower total, and then hope that the dealer goes bust. Basically, if you're ever unsure whether to double down, stick to the safe option and keep your bet as it is.Do you split 10s against a 6? ›
As for the arithmetic, the statistical data on how often you will win when you split a pair of 10s against a dealer showing a 6 is 64% of the time. Your profit expectations for every $100 you bet while splitting those 10s will be, on average, a $56 profit.Should I double down a 7? ›
No! You should always double down if you are holding ten and the dealer is holding a card lower than a seven. However, if you have ten and the dealer also has 10 or 11, you should not double your bet. If they have 7, 8, or 9, doubling or not will be fairly even in value.Why do you not split 10s? ›
If you split the 10s one time, you stand to win 63% and lose 37% on each split hand. That's a significant decrease in the number of hands won simply because if you split, you will often end up with less than 20 on both hands.
Do you double an 11 against a 10? ›
When you double down, you risk losing double your original bet, but with 11 vs. 10, you win double your bet more often, giving you a higher average profit.Do you hit 16 vs 7? ›
You actually gain more by hitting 16 vs. 7 than you do by hitting 16 vs. 10 or Ace. That's because if you improve your 16, you win more often when the dealer starts with a lower card.When should you split and double in blackjack? ›
In a case where you have an ACE and either a 5, 6 or 7 cards, then you have a soft hand that total between 16 to 18. If a dealer shows a low-card of 2 to 6, this would be an ideal time for you to double down on your wager. Generally, doubling on a soft hand like this gives you an upper hand to double your bet.Can you split after a hit in blackjack? ›
Splitting a 10-10 hand is fine, but not a jack-queen hand, for example. After the first split, doubling down and further splitting of hands may be limited. After the first split, an ace and a ten-card may be regarded as a non-blackjack 21. After splitting aces you're generally not allowed to hit more than once.Is it better if dealer hits or stands on soft 17? ›
Dealers do not bust more often when standing on soft 17. After all, there is no risk of busting when they stand on the hand. When the dealer stands on all 17s, he busts about 29.1 percent of the time, and that increases to 29.6 if he hits soft 17. However, a dealer who stands on soft 17 can't improve the hand.Do you hit a 14 against a 7? ›
These are the easiest to remember since there are no discrepancies in the strategy based on decks and dealer rules. Hard 14 is always a stand when the dealer exposes small cards 2 through 6. The player must hit their hard 14 against all other upcards, namely 7 through ace.Do you hit a 15 against a 7? ›
Question: “When should I hit on my 15?” Sam says: “Always hit a hard 15 when the dealer's up-card is a 7 through an ace. If you stand on that 15, you will win 25.36 percent of the time and lose 74.64 percent of the time. That makes a net loss of 49.28 percent.Do you hit 13 vs 5? ›
If the dealer's card is a four, five or six it is vital you do not bust. It is common practice to hit on eight or less, but stand on anything 12 or higher. When the dealer has a three, you should hit on anything eight or below and 12, while standing on anything 13 or over.Do I hit a 15 against a 10? ›
In a double- or multi-deck game, if your 15 consists of an 8-7, hit against a dealer 10 upcard (rather than surrender). In all games, if your 16 is multi-card or the result of a pair split, stand against a dealer's 10 upcard instead of hit.Do you hit 13 against a 7? ›
When gamblers find themselves in a situation where their hand totals 13 and the dealer's upcard is from 2 through 6, they should stand. For the rest of the possibilities of the dealer's upcard, players need to hit, i.e. against stronger cards 7 through ace.
Do you hit 16 vs 10? ›
You're also likely going to bust when you decide to hit. However, you'll lose about 74% of the time, which is 3% less than standing. This means should be hitting every hand for 16 vs. 10 in blackjack because this is the action that produces better results in the long term.Do you double down on 11 against an ace? ›
When the playing rules specify that the live blackjack dealer must hit soft 17 (h17), you should double down on 11 against all dealer upcards (including against an Ace). (This is the same strategy as in a single-deck game.)Which cards should you split in blackjack? ›
However, regardless of the various situations, the common strategic wisdom in the blackjack community is to "Always split aces and eights" when dealt either pair as initial cards. This is generally the first rule of any splitting strategy.What should you double down on? ›
Getting dealt a card with a higher value still puts you close to 21 so there's a shot you could win the hand. A double down bet on a soft 16, 17, or 18 works best when the dealer is showing 3–6 in their hand.Do you split 7 against 9? ›
You should split against a dealer's upcard of 2-7. Hit against a dealer 8 and 9 upcard.Do you hit 12 on a 6? ›
14 stands against dealer 2 through 6, otherwise hit. 13 stands against dealer 2 through 6, otherwise hit. 12 stands against dealer 4 through 6, otherwise hit. 11 always doubles.Do you split 8 against a 9? ›
Other experts advise against splitting 8s against anything but a 7, or unless the dealer shows a bust card of 3, 4, 5 or 6. (In the latter case, you likely would split anything short of 9s or 10s.)Do you hit soft 17 vs 7? ›
The correct basic strategy for hitting a soft 17 is as follows: For a single-deck game, hit soft 17 when the dealer's upcard is 7 through ace. For double- and multi-deck games, hit soft 17 when the dealer's upcard is a 2 or 7 through ace.Do you double a soft 18 against a 3? ›
Player is dealt a Soft 18. Dealer's Up card is a 3. Player should Double Down. These plays are correct for blackjack games where the dealer must stand on all 17s (S17) under the house rules.Do you split 8s vs a 10? ›
Always split 8's. The mathematical possibility of being dealt a better hand than the dealer is good. Plus the odds of having one hand being good for a double down is good as well. That hand will most likely cover you if you should lose on the other hand.
Do you split 7s vs a 10? ›
Similarly, it's best to split sixes if the dealer shows a two through six, but not if they have a seven or higher. Split nines if the dealer has a two through six, an eight, or a nine, but not if they have a seven, a ten, or an ace. Finally, there are some pairs you should never split.Do you split 9s vs a 10? ›
According to basic strategy, you should split 9s against every numeric card a dealer holds, except for a 7. The reason is that if the dealer holds a seven, he stands a great chance of holding a 10 hole card and will stand on his hard 17, thus your 9-9 will win.Do you hit soft 17 vs 6? ›
A soft hand is any hand that contains an ace that is counted as 11. For example, an ace-6 is a soft 17; so is ace-3-3 and 2-2-ace-2. The basic playing strategy for, say, an ace-6 is much different than it is for a 10-7 (known as a hard 17 because It doesn't contain an ace counted as 11).Can you refuse a double or nothing? ›
After one bet of “double or nothing”, the player who did not request “double or nothing” may request “double or nothing” in the following match. It can be seen as a gentleman's agreement which grants losers of an initial bet a chance to win their money back, with minimal risk to the winner.When should you not hit in blackjack? ›
It is common practice to hit on eight or less, but stand on anything 12 or higher. When the dealer has a three, you should hit on anything eight or below and 12, while standing on anything 13 or over. If the dealer has a two it is best to hit on nine or less and stand on anything 13 or over.Do you hit or stay on 15? ›
Question: “When should I hit on my 15?” Sam says: “Always hit a hard 15 when the dealer's up-card is a 7 through an ace. If you stand on that 15, you will win 25.36 percent of the time and lose 74.64 percent of the time. That makes a net loss of 49.28 percent.Do you hit or stay on 17? ›
STANDING ON SOFT 17
That's right; you should never stand on soft 17 regardless of what the dealer's upcard is. That might seem odd since most players believe that 17 is a good enough hand on which to stand. In fact it's not because you will lose more money standing than either hitting (or doubling).
The Martingale system is not illegal, and it is not banned from usage at online casinos either. But anyone who has experience of playing at these sites will be aware stake restrictions are often introduced if you have a good run of wins.Is the martingale strategy allowed in casinos? ›
Is the Martingale system allowed in casinos? Yes, you can use the Martingale system at live casinos and when playing online. However, most roulette tables have maximum wager limits. This is to prevent players from being able to double up indefinitely.What are the rules to double or nothing? ›
Definition of double or nothing
: with the result that a gambler either wins two times as much money as he or she has already won or loses all of the money I won $20 on the first game but lost it on the second game going double or nothing.
Do I hit 16 or 7? ›
The fact is that no matter what you do with a hard 16 against a dealer's 7, you're going to lose more often than you win. If you hit, you're going to bust a little more than 61 percent of the time. If you stand, you're going to lose those 74 percent of hands when the dealer goes on to make a standing hand.Do you hit on 15 vs 7? ›
Provided that late surrender is unavailable, you should stand on hard 15 against low-value cards 2 through 6 and hit versus 7 through ace. Undoubtedly, hitting a hard total of 15 is not the easiest decision to make at the blackjack table, especially against the dealer's 10.Do you hit 16 on a 7? ›
Blackjack charts from all across the world say to hit the 16 when the dealer is showing a 7 or higher, even surrendering in some situations. If you want to beat the casino, you're going to have to do better than that. So let me share with you one of my key winning blackjack plays… Never hit your 16.Do you hit a 13 vs a 2? ›
13 stands against dealer 2 through 6, otherwise hit. 12 stands against dealer 4 through 6, otherwise hit. 11 always doubles. 10 doubles against dealer 2 through 9 otherwise hit.Do most casinos hit soft 17? ›
The best blackjack rules include the dealer standing on soft 17, but it seems most casinos hit that total.Do I hit 16 or 10? ›
You're also likely going to bust when you decide to hit. However, you'll lose about 74% of the time, which is 3% less than standing. This means should be hitting every hand for 16 vs. 10 in blackjack because this is the action that produces better results in the long term.