Learning simple blackjack strategy is the perfect way to get acquainted with a table game that millions of people play across the globe.
This guide is for newbies to blackjack. It begins with the most basic points you need to know before moving on to how you can develop yourself as a blackjack player.
Our aim in this guide is to give you a resource to get yourself started and a building block while the ultimate goal is to take you from realms of simple blackjack strategy to advanced blackjack strategy.
Here is what we will cover in this awesome and simple blackjack strategy guide:
Understand the Simple Mechanics of Blackjack
Before you even start to play blackjack, you need to know how the game plays out and what actions you need to take. This is the very first step before even considering using a strategy.
- The dealer always deals from your right to left
- The 2 most common moves are ‘hit’ or ‘stand’
- ‘Hit’ gives you another card
- ‘Stand’ ends your hand with no new cards
- ‘Double Down’ is when you double your bet
- ‘Split’ is when you split a pair
- ‘Surrender’ is when you give up your cards
Winning in blackjack is simple. The player must beat the dealer’s total without going bust. Your hand or the dealer’s hand will bust when the total hits above 21. That is all there is to it.
- Ace is worth 1 to 11 points
- Kings, Queens, and Jacks are worth 10 points
- All other cards are worth the value printed on them
- You will receive 2 face up cards
- The dealer receives 1 face up and 1 face down card
Learn Hard and Soft hands
One point that many new blackjack players tend to stumble on is ‘hard’ Vs ‘soft’ hands. This is easily explained and after reading this section, you will have this side of the game completely sussed out.
Ace Soft Hands: Any hand with an Ace in it can count the Ace as a 1 or 11. If you have an A-9, it is still a soft hand, but you would in fact count it as a hard hand because A-9 is 20. However, if the hand is an A-5, this totals 16. It is a horrible number but fortunantly you can count the Ace as 1 so this hand totals 6.
- A-6 = soft 17 (7)
- A-2-2 = Soft 15 (5)
- A-2-3 = Soft 16 (6)
Soft Hands: Soft hands nearly always have an Ace or it is a hand that cannot bust if you draw for another card. For instance, a 2-3 totals 5. For this hand to bust over 21, it would need a 17 card. As the highest value card is 10 bar the Ace, this hand will not bust so strictly speaking this is a soft hand.
- 2-4 = Soft 6
- 9-2 = Soft 11
- 8-3 = Soft 11
Hard Hands: These hands can bust and never have an Ace. That means if you draw, there is a risk of busting out over 21 and losing your bet. Your basic strategy chart will show you how to act depending on the hard you have and the dealer’s up card.
- 9-10 = Hard 19 (3-card or above busts this hand)
- 10-4 = Hard 14 (8-card or above busts this hand)
- 3-5-7 = Jard 15 (7-card or above busts this hand)
Always Play Basic Strategy
Whether you are learning advanced blackjack strategy or basic blackjack strategy, the most important rule that every guide will teach you is to play the game using basic strategy. It tells you the correct move to make.
This is easier said than done for a newbie player. One of the first obstacles to overcome when implementing basic strategy is to choose the correct basic strategy charts.
That said, only take this with a pinch of salt because the main thing is learning the mechanics of blackjack mention in the previous section. Once you understand how the game works, then you can start to foster in the basic strategy charts.
What will you need to know to choose the correct basic strategy charts?
Choosing the correct basic strategy chart comes down to 3 key elements. Even as a new player you need to get this right.
- Does the dealer ‘hit’ or ‘stand’ on soft 17?
- What is the number of decks in play?
- Are you allowed to double after splits?
How to find the answers to these questions
Getting the answers comes with experience, but not much. You will easily grasp this side to your simple blackjack strategy in a matter of a couple of games.
- Online virtual tables will have a rules area you can read
- Live dealer tables will have a rules area
- On Live dealer tables you can also ask the dealer via real time chat
- Land-based casinos you will need to ask the dealer to quickly explain
Dealer actions are on the table and will show the following
You will need to determine whether the table you play at is H17 or S17. You will see the following wirtten on the table felt which will tell you exactly what the dealer actiosn are so you can choose the correct basic strategy chart.
Dealer stands on 17 (H17): The dealer will hit all soft 17 hands
Dealer hits on soft 17 (H17): The dealer will hit all soft 17 hands
Dealer stands on all 17s (S17): The dealer will stand on A-5, A-2-3, A-A-4
Dealer stands on soft 17 (S17): The dealer will stand on A-5, A-2-3, A-A-4
Note: If you are playing in a land-based casino, this does not give you much time to prepare a basic strategy chart, which is why we recommend newbies play online first where you can print the basic strategy table or have it available on another screen
Single Deck basic strategy charts available
- 1-Deck to 8-Deck (H17) DAS
- 1-Deck to 8-Deck (S17) DAS
- 1-Deck to 8-Deck (H17) NDAS
- 1-Deck to 8-Deck (S17) NDAS
Double Deck basic strategy charts available
- 2-Deck to 8-Deck (H17) DAS
- 2-Deck to 8-Deck (S17) DAS
- 2-Deck to 8-Deck (H17) NDAS
- 2-Deck to 8-Deck (S17) NDAS
Triple Deck basic strategy charts available
- 3-Deck to 8-Deck (H17) DAS
- 3-Deck to 8-Deck (S17) DAS
- 3-Deck to 8-Deck (H17) NDAS
- 3-Deck to 8-Deck (S17) NDAS
4 to 8 Deck basic strategy charts available
- 4-Deck to 8-Deck (H17) DAS
- 4-Deck to 8-Deck (S17) DAS
- 4-Deck to 8-Deck (H17) NDAS
- 4-Deck to 8-Deck (S17) NDAS
Playing Online Virtual Blackjack Tables
Before hitting a blackjack table in a land-based casino or heading over to the exciting online live dealer tables, start by practicing your blackjack skills on virtual tables.
No time limit: Virtual blackjack tables have no time limit. You can bet as often or as little as possible. You can also just walk away and come back whenever you feel. On live dealer tables or in a land-based casino you are under pressure because the table’s gameplay speed relies on you making fast decisions.
Basic strategy: You can print out the correct basic strategy chart and have it out in front of you. Or if you have a duel screen set up on a PC, then even better, you can save paper. Once you learn the dynamics of blackjack and how to use the basic strategy charts, you can use the same tactic on live dealer tables.
Free Demo Play: Many virtual tables have a free play mode you can use. This gives you free chips on a blackjack table that is an exact replica of the real money version of the table. This way you can learn how to play blackjack without risking any of your cash or crypto.
Huge Variety of Rules: There is no better way to come across every blackjack variant out there than playing online virtual games. There are hundreds out there to try and the more you play this variety of tables, the quicker you can move from learning simple blackjack strategy to advanced blackjack strategy.
If you want to get a feel for how live dealer blackjack tables look and feel before taking the leap over from virtual blackjack games to live tables, check out First Person Blackjack here which is a virtual version of the live dealer table games with a ‘Go Live’ button!
Start Testing Different Blackjack Variants
When you begin learning advanced blackjack strategy, you will start to avoid certain tables and favour others. The reason for this is because certain rules will tilt the house edge further in your favour while you will avoid blackjack tables with less liberal rules that tilt the house edge in favour of the house.
However, the best way to expose yourself to these different rules is by playing as many different tables as you can from the moment you start your blackjack hobby.
That means you can ignore the ‘house edge’ or ‘RTP’ and just dive into a variety of blackjack tables. Now this strategy may sound like we are telling you to throw good money away on blackjack tables with rules designed to give the house as bigger profit as possible.
Instead, try to look at this as an investment. You are investing in different tables to learn exactly why and how less than liberal rules can affect your game. Besides this, if you are playing online blackjack only, then you should be able to test all the tables using free play chips.
It will not take long before you understand how certain rules restrict your freedom to bet. Maybe you want to double down after a split but realise you cannot which could become an annoyance. It is you realising these nuances that will begin to advance you as a blackjack player.
Investing in gaining experience on a variety of blackjack tables helps you get a feel for the game and the different rules applied
Playing on a variety of blackjack tables helps you learn how restrictive rules can have a negative effect on your blackjack strategy
Play Double Exposure Blackjack
Double Exposure is a fun version of Blackjack because you get to see the dealer’s up cards immediately. There are some less than liberal rules on these tables to make up for the fact you can see the dealer’s cards, but the key word for your simple blackjack strategy is ‘instinct’.
Instinct always plays a part in every game we play. Whether it is a physical sport, a board game such as Monopoly, or an online game. The more you play, the more your instincts will hone in on certain situations.
The same applies to Blackjack Double Exposure. Although this game only pays even odds n blackjack 21 hands and uses 8 decks in most cases, it is fun and educational.
Play Blackjack Double Exposure to get a feel for the dealer’s cards
This games shows both the dealer’s up cards
Understand ‘RTP’ and ‘House Edge’
House Edge and RTP are fairly easy to understand. They tell you the likelihood of the house winning and your return. When you start to understand the different rules and variations of blackjack, you can then start to pick and choose the tables you want to play with the vest house edge and RTP.
Both concepts are based on probability and of course probability is affected by variation. It is much like flipping a coin, the coin does not consistently land 50% on one side as the percentages would suggest. It varies which is why you hear about gamblers getting hot streaks and cold streaks.
RTP: This is known as ‘Return to Player’. You will see blackjack tables that show 99.5% RTP which means the theoretical long term return you can expect is 99.5% of your bets. This is not fixed, so it does not mean that you will get exactly this percentage back.
House Edge: The house edge is the opposite of RTP. If the RTP is 99.5% then the house edge is 0.5%. Of course. It is worth bearing in mind that the only way to play blackjack according to the table’s advertised RTP is by using basic strategy.
No RTP or House Edge: On tables that do not display an RTP or House Edge, you will need to start using your advance blackjack knowledge to determine which blackjack tables have the most liberal rules and least number of decks to ensure you are playing on a high RTP and low house edge table.
Hot streaks occur when probability is running in their favour, but as the saying goes, what goes up, must come down, and the cold streak is when probability is not working in the player’s favour
Simple Blackjack Strategy With Low Stakes
As with any hobby, start slowly and try to figure out if you will enjoy playing blackjack for the long term. It is the same as any other hobby out there, do not go all out by spending hundreds or thousands until you are sure you will continue playing.
For example, you would not buy a $1,000 gold set if you are just starting out. Well, some people do, but what happens when you decide it is not for you? Maybe you simply discover that golf just isn’t the sport for you. The good news is that you can sell your gold clubs but when you play blackjack, once the money is gone, there is no getting it back.
This is just one reason why you should always start small when playing blackjack. The other reason is because you don’t know the game. Even with basic strategy there are times you will want to ignore it just to see ‘what happens’ because that is often human nature.
There is an opposite school of thought here funnily enough. Some people say that playing higher stakes keeps them in check. They will never stray from basic strategy because experiments can be costly.
Do not over commit with high minimum bets until you understand blackjack’s inner workings and all the different rules. Starting with low stakes stops you from paying a high cost for mistakes or bad decisions when you decide to experiment.
A great article to read if you are not sure which stakes you should play is our Blackjack Money Management Strategy Guide.
Do not over commit with high minimum bets until you understand blackjack’s inner workings and all the different rules
Starting with low stakes stops you from paying a high cost for mistakes or bad decisions when you decide to experiment
Habits Serious Blackjack Players Avoid
Blackjack can be one of those ‘Catch 22’ tables games. On the one hand, you want to have fun, while on the other hand you want to win. Therefore, it is up to you how you balance these 2 sides to the game.
Maybe, we could say ‘never use side bets’ because the house edge is so heavily weighted in favour of the house. Yet, you want to add some spice to your blackjack session. Much like playing the lottery, side bets in blackjack have a buzz around them and so you decide to take the risk.
In the end, if you want to become a ‘winning’ or ‘efficient’ blackjack player, then you will not take side bets. As a result, the list below is specifically for those that want to play blackjack perfectly without increasing the house edge.
- Never split 10s
- Never use side bets
- Never take insurance bets
- Never play 6-5 Blackjack tables
- Never play without basic strategy
- Never play multi-hand tables if you are learning
- Never bet more than you can afford
- Never chase your losses
- Never go into a game without a budget
- Never try to card count on virtual blackjack tables
Play Free Demo Modes At mBitcasino
Fortunately, you can play blackjack for free at mBitcasino. By playing free demo games, you can begin by practicing how blackjack plays out hand to hand. You will also be presented with the different decisions on a virtual table with no pressure whatsoever.
Blackjack Surrender: This game will teach you how to use the ‘Late Surrender’ rule. It is not often blackjack tables include it, but it is extremely useful and returns 50% of your bet for hands that you are likely to lose such as the dreaded 16 which you will learn about as your blackjack matures.
Play Blackjack surrender demo mode here…
Double Exposure: This is one of the games we mentioned in this guide. You get to see both dealer’s cards and so it is the perfect game to get a feel for cards the dealer may have. Even though you always have basic strategy handy on games when the dealer shows just 1 up card, it doesn’t hurt to try Double Exposure just for experience.
Play Blackjack Double Exposure demo mode here…
Multihand Blackjack Pro: Now we do not recommend playing multihand blackjack for real money as a beginner. However, the demo mode is perfect to learn how the dealer deals the cards to different seats when multiple seats are in action. You can play 1 hand or multiple hands to practice your simple blackjack strategy.
Play Multihand Blackjack demo mode here…
Once you practice the free games and get acquainted with some of the rules, you can then make a crypto deposit and play any of these virtual tables for low stakes bets using BTC, BCH, LTC, ETH, XRP, USDT, or DOGE cryptocurrencies.
Also, when you feel you are becoming n established blackjack player and you want to get that real life blackjack vibe, then head over to the mBitcasino live dealer table games.
Happy hunting on the blackjack tables!