Learning how to play blackjack using a basic strategy card is relatively easy given the willingness to do so. Basic strategy is the optimal set of rules to follow for playing blackjack. Using simple basic strategy you will cut the house advantage for blackjack to about 0.50%. A simple blackjack strategy card is often used for memorization and as a reference at the tables when allowed by the casino.
You should use a blackjack strategy card to make decisions on playing each hand in the following order:
- Pair Splitting
- Double Down (look for soft hands first)
- Standing (look for soft hands first)
2 rules for insurance:
- NEVER take Insurance
- NEVER take Even Money when you have a blackjack, it is the same as insurance
6 rules for pair splitting:
- Always SPLIT A’s and 8’s
- NEVER split 4’s, 5’s, or T’s
- SPLIT 2’s and 3’s vs. dealer 4 thru 7
- SPLIT 9’s vs dealer 9 or less, except STAND vs dealer 7
- SPLIT 7’s vs dealer 7 or less
- SPLIT 6’s vs dealer 6 or less, except HIT vs dealer 2
The table below each set of rules is the relevant section of the blackjack strategy card. You read these tables by looking at the column for the dealer upcard and the row for your hand total.
3 rules for doubling down on soft hands:
A soft hand includes an ace valued as “11” such as a hand consisting of Ace+6, or Ace+2+4, but not Ace+Six+Ten. Another way to think of a soft hand, is that it is a hand that you can’t bust by taking a hit.
- DOUBLE A7 thru A2 vs. dealer 5 or 6
- DOUBLE A7 thru A4 vs. dealer 4
- DOUBLE A7 thru A6 vs. dealer 3
For simplification, the table above only lists A6, A7, A8, and A9. However the 6, 7, 8, and 9 represent any cards that total to these values. For example A6 represents A6, AA5, A24, A33, etc.
2 rules for doubling down on hard hands:
- DOUBLE 11 and 10 when you have at least one less than the dealer
- DOUBLE 9 vs. dealer 3 thru 6
3 rules for standing on soft hands:
- Always HIT on soft 17 or less
- Always STAND on soft 18 or higher, except
- HIT on soft 18 vs. dealer 9, 10, or A
3 rules for standing on hard hands:
- Always STAND on 17 or higher
- STAND on 12 or higher vs. dealer 6 or below, except
- HIT 12 vs. dealer 2 or 3
The blackjack basic strategy card below combines all the blackjack basic strategy rules you have learned.
Here is a link to the best printed set of blackjack basic strategy cards available to buy. They are great for those times when you need a quick reminder of the best strategy for a given hand while you are at the blackjack table.