Master basic strategy before you ever place a bet.

Once you have mastered basic strategy, the casino's edge is reduced to only .5% (half of one percent). From there, counting cards allows you to swing the odds of winning in your favor. This strategy allows you to gain a long-term winning edge over the casino, the same way casinos gain the long-term edge over novice blackjack players.

Rules of Basic Strategy


Surrender hard 16 (but not a pair of 8s) vs. dealer 9, 10, or A.
Surrender hard 15 vs. dealer 10.


Always split aces and 8s.
Never split 5s and 10s.
Split 2s and 3s against a dealer 4-7
Split 4s the dealer shows a 5 or 6.
Split 6s against a dealer 2-6.
Split 7s against a dealer 2-7.
Split 9s against a dealer 2-6 or 8-9.

Double Down

Double hard 9 vs. dealer 3-6.
Double hard 10 except against a dealer 10 or A.
Double hard 11 except against a dealer A.
Double soft 13 or 14 vs. dealer 5-6.
Double soft 15 or 16 vs. dealer 4-6.
Double soft 17 or 18 vs. dealer 3-6.

Hit or Stand

Always hit hard 11 or less.
Stand on hard 12 against a dealer 4-6, otherwise hit.
Stand on hard 13-16 against a dealer 2-6, otherwise hit.
Always stand on hard 17 or more.
Always hit soft 17 or less.
Stand on soft 18 except hit against a dealer 9, 10, or A.
Always stand on soft 19 or more.

*If Dealer Hits Soft 17

Surrender 15, a pair of 8s, and 17 vs. dealer A.
Double 11 vs. dealer A.
Double soft 18 vs. dealer 2.
Double soft 19 vs. dealer 6.