Blackjack Strategy

Being a relatively simple game to play, it’s understandable when players jump head first onto the blackjack table in the hope of outscoring the dealer. However, there’s more to the game than what meets the eye, notably in relation to additional betting possibilities which arise after the initial deal.




How a Blackjack Game is Played

A game of blackjack is contested by individual players against the dealer, independent of anyone else seated at the table. The aim of the game is to beat the dealer’s hand in a race to 21 without exceeding this value. A blackjack hand is played out as follows:


  • The player and dealer are dealt two cards each, however just one of the dealer’s cards will be visible.


  • Players can ‘Hit’ or ‘Stand’ to either be drawn another card or keep their current total.


  • Once all players have acted, the dealer will reveal their hidden card. They will keep drawing until their total value equals 17+ or they go bust. 


  • Whichever remaining hand closest to 21 is the winner. A tie (Push) results in a stake refund. 


Blackjack Betting Strategy 

Because the onus is on the player to act, it pays to know various strategies to increase the chances of winning. Naturally, if you’re dealt a value of 11 or below, the obvious action is to take another card. This is not only to move closer towards the target value of 21, but also because it’s impossible to go bust by doing so. Likewise, being drawn a value of 16 or higher and the natural inclination is to Stand.

It’s often card values between 12 and 15 which bring the most jeopardy, especially if drawn against a strong dealer upcard. If you’re unsure of how to play them, blackjack strategy charts are available online which display the recommended action. One example is that they advise the player to Hit when drawn a 13 against the dealer’s 7. 

Because the most likely card to be drawn in Blackjack is worth 10, keep this in mind when at the table. This also applies to the dealer as they must keep drawing cards until a value of 17 or more is reached. For example, should their first card be worth a 5 or 6, many players will choose to Stand even on a 12 or 13 in the hope the dealer will go bust. 


In-Game Blackjack Decisions

Blackjack presents additional betting possibilities depending on the initial deal. They can be used to increase your winnings or act as protection if the odds are against you.



Upon being dealt two cards of the same value, you can ‘split’ your cards into two separate hands. The game now continues as normal on each hand, apart from split Aces where only one card is drawn thereafter.

Consider if splitting could leave you in a worse position than before in relation to the dealer’s upcard. Splitting Aces is a common action, although splitting 10’s is only recommended in certain situations. Blackjack strategy charts will show the full run down. 


Doubling Down

Players can ‘double down’ in order to win twice their bet where one additional card is dealt only. In most Live Blackjack games, you can select this option on any value of cards.  

This action is only recommended after being dealt a favourable hand worth 9, 10 or 11 – especially if the dealer’s card is a 5 or 6. However, opinions differ on where else to double down and much depends on your current bankroll. 



Players can purchase ‘insurance’ should the dealer be drawn the dreaded Ace. This acts as protection against a 10-value being their hidden card, thus resulting in an unbeatable ‘blackjack’. Costing half your stake, the payout covers your entire bet should they reveal a 10, J, Q or K. 

Most strategists advise against taking the insurance because, should the dealer not reveal a blackjack, you’re still in an unfavourable position and have essentially just paid more for a losing hand. However, much depends on your current bankroll and style of play. 


Additional Blackjack Strategy

There’s further considerations to make in order to win at blackjack online. These include:

  • Card Counting – It isn’t illegal to try and count cards whilst playing at a Live Casino because it can’t possibly be detected. However, doing so successfully is practically impossible because most blackjack games use 8 decks of cards. Despite this, keeping an eye on obvious patterns – lots of 10-value cards already appearing on the table for example – could influence your next call. 


  • Seat Position – Where you decide to sit on the table itself will help with the above tactic. Choosing the last seat position, i.e. the furthest seat to the dealer’s right, means you get to act last. This way, you’ll see more of the cards that are drawn to other players and can make a more informed decision, statistically speaking, if the next card will be low or high.


  • Side Bets – Modern Blackjack variations include side bets which take place independently of the main game. They include ‘Any Pair’, ‘21+3’ and ‘Bust It’ which offer big multiplier wins. Because these side bets are less likely to be successful, it’s not recommended to play them on a regular basis. Instead, a good ploy is to try them out after you’ve made profit from the main Blackjack game. 


  • Bet Behind – If the Blackjack table is full up, you can bet behind an already seated player. This is a risky strategy as your fate is now completely in their hands. However, if you have spotted a certain player is on a good run, it could be a chance to jump on the back of their winning streak. 


All in all, Blackjack is one of the best online casino games to play because the expected return to player (RTP) average is relatively high. However, despite the house edge always being a factor, using the above tips and memorising strategy charts will help in certain situations. A good final tip is to first play on animated 2D blackjack table games which permit smaller stakes and remove the pressure of being in the live environment. 

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