Blackjack Strategy Guide

As you’d see in any online reputable table games guide, there’s an optimal way to play every hand in Blackjack casino games, online or live, for real money. Blackjack experts used computers to figure the best play out over 50 years ago, and the results were published in various Blackjack casino gamebooks and online, such as Edward Thorp’s Beat the Dealer. Today, you can find these “basic” Blackjack casino game strategies all over the place – you can even buy a Blackjack strategy card at the casino gift shop and bring it with you to the casino table. But these strategies need to be tweaked depending on which Blackjack casino game you’re playing. How many Blackjack play decks are in the shoe? Does the play Dealer hit or stand on soft 17? These Blackjack play rules have to be accounted for if you’re going to make the perfect play every time when playing for real money.

For online beginner Blackjack casino game players, memorizing a simpler Blackjack strategy that will be perfect most of the time can be worth the marginal cost of a slightly higher casino house edge. If you’re relatively new to Blackjack casino games, you can get most of the way to pro-level with a near-optimal Blackjack strategy, and it’ll help prevent you from making costly online mistakes trying to implement a more complex casino game plan when you play Blackjack online. We’ll start this online Blackjack casino game strategy for beginners' guide with the two most common play decisions you’ll make at the casino table: hitting and standing. Then we’ll move on to explain the best times to surrender, split, and double down, before concluding with some wise words regarding the insurance side bet. Equipped with this play information, you’ll be able to hit the Blackjack casino game tables with the swagger of a seasoned Blackjack player in no time online or live for real money.

Know When To Hit Or Stand In Blackjack

A lot of the play decisions you make in Blackjack will depend on the casino Dealer’s up-card, but we can simplify things by taking certain actions no matter what that up-card is. For example, if you’re holding something worse than hard 12 or soft 18, you should hit (and sometimes double) every time. If you’ve got something better than hard 16 or soft 18, you should stand. These are the basic play parameters for hitting or standing at the Blackjack table.

The stuff in between gets a little more complicated. Now we have to consider the online casino Dealer’s up-card in deciding what to do, but we can make things a bit easier by dividing those up-cards into low (Deuce through Six) and high (Seven through Ace) categories. Low up-cards are very good for you because they force the casino Dealer to draw at least two cards, making it more likely for him to go bust. Stand if you’re holding anything between hard 12 to hard 16 inclusive when the casino Dealer shows a low up-card.

A high casino Dealer up-card is much less valuable to you. If the online Blackjack Dealer shows one of these cards, go ahead and hit when you’ve got something between hard 12 and hard 16. There will also be times when surrendering is better than hitting or standing against a high Blackjack Dealer up-card, as we’ll see in the next section.

Surrender Blackjack Strategy

Not all online Blackjack casino games include the play option to surrender hands, which is essentially forfeiting the round after being dealt your initial two-card hand. For example, you won’t find this play option in our Single or Double Deck Blackjack casino games. The benefit of surrender is that half of your bet is returned to you, so if you feel that you have no chance of winning, losing half of your bet is better than losing the full amount.

At Cafe Casino's online games selection, our online six-deck Blackjack games (both classic and new) include the surrender option. For this reason, the advice we propose for surrendering is optimal for this version (including the Dealer hitting on soft 17) of Blackjack. The recommendations change when you play different online versions of Blackjack, so you should make sure to always use a strategy chart that reflects the rules of the game you’re playing.

As mentioned in the hit and stand section, when the Blackjack Dealer has a high up-card, he has a good chance of beating you. The toughest Blackjack Dealer up-card to beat is Ace, then Ten, and then Nine. Surrender is the best option when you have a weak hand, which includes scores of 16 (the weakest), 15 (second weakest), and 17 (third weakest). Even a pair of Eights should be surrendered against an Ace up-card when possible—which is an exception to the rule when it comes to pair splitting strategy.

Pair Splitting Strategy

Every time you’re dealt a pair right off the bat, you get the play option to split that pair into two individual hands during games for real money. Each split card is dealt a second card, and then you play out each hand as you normally would—except for if you split Aces. Typically, split Aces get just one more card, and then you are forced to stand. The game rules state the limits on split Aces, so always check them before playing.

Two pairs that should never be split are Fives and Tens. A score of 10 from a pair of Fives is much more valuable than rebuilding from Five, which could potentially be downgraded to a score of 15 should you land a Ten. As for two Tens, they combine for a score of 20, which is pretty much a slam dunk, so you shouldn’t risk losing it for the potential of landing more Tens. A pair of Fours are also generally not split—unless you can double after the split, in which case you should do so against Five and Six Dealer up-cards only.

Conversely, hands that should always be split are Eights and Aces. Two Eights combine for a score of 16, which is too weak to be competitive but also has a high risk of busting. When one restarts from Eight, one can potentially land a Ten and trade in that weak score of 16 for a strong score of 18. Meanwhile, a pair of Aces (for a score of 12) is far more useful when split, as one could potentially land a perfect score of 21—twice. Keep in mind, if one does get that 21 from a split Ace, it doesn’t count as a Blackjack, so you're paid even-money instead of 3:2 when playing Blackjack games online for real money.

In general, any pairs lower than Eights is split when the Blackjack Dealer has a low up-card of Seven or Six and below. If the Blackjack Dealer has a high up-card, you should hit instead of split.

Doubling Down Strategy

When you’re dealt a play hand that begs for one more Blackjack card in order to turn into a winner, you should almost always double down by placing a second wager equal to your initial one on the table when you play these online games for real money. For example, say you’re dealt a score of 11; roughly one third of the deck comprises Tens, so you have pretty good odds for landing that sweet score of 21. Why not get a bigger payout by doubling your initial wager?

Nothing beats a score of 11 as the ideal candidate for a double down, but there are other opportunities to employ this valuable tool. A score of 10 is almost as good as 11—unless the Blackjack Dealer’s up-card is 10 or Ace. A Nine is also a good double down option when the Blackjack Dealer’s up-card is anything between a Three and Six. There are also many opportunities to double down with soft scores; so many that you should consult with a strategy card to see all of them all when you play Blackjack games for real money online with Cafe Casino.

Insurance Strategy

Any time the Blackjack Dealer’s up-card is an Ace, he could potentially have the player beat with a natural. Unless the player is playing one of the games called European Blackjack, the Blackjack Dealer will peak at his hole card before the player gets a chance to hit or stand. Before the Blackjack Dealer peeks at his hole card, the player get the opportunity to break-even by taking insurance as a side bet when they play Blackjack games for real money online or live. Insurance costs half of whatever the player's initial bet was and pays 2:1 if the Blackjack Dealer does indeed have Blackjack. It sounds like a good bet, but if the player crunches the numbers for the real money payout and probability, the player would come to the conclusion that it’s a losing bet in the long run during games. The only time you’ll see professional Blackjack players taking insurance is when they’re confident that the remaining shoe has a lot of 10-value cards, and this can be deduced only through card counting. The best bet for the average online recreational Blackjack player is to say no to insurance and hope that the Dealer’s hole card is anything but a Ten.

There are a few play hands this simple strategy doesn’t cover, so a Blackjack strategy card will help fill in the blanks, from online or at the gift store. But if you can get these plays down pat and understand the theory behind the suggested moves, you’ll hold your own at the online Blackjack table games with minimal brainpower required.