Blackjack Winning Strategies

The Basics: Blackjack Winning Strategies

In order to have a winning edge in blackjack you need to master a few things.  In this article I will discuss ways on how to win in blackjack.

The entire concept is determining the cards placed on the table at which you should pay more attention to your cards (hand) and the dealer’s face-up card. Instead of adopting the advanced techniques, you can simply learn the basic strategy to get you started and eventually progress to your way up the ladder.

The basic is to look at your hand and the dealer’s hand.  One thing you need to understand is that blackjack is a game at which players get to play against the dealer.  A player with a hand higher than the dealer’s hand and not exceeding 21 wins.

Hence, by making a comparison of your hand and the dealer’s face-up card, you should be in a position to weigh the two;

  • Is the dealer in a position of holding a blackjack?
  • When should I stand or increase my hand count?

The above questions are very important when it comes to making a betting decision on the blackjack table. I will try to briefly give answers to the above questions and these answers should help you to achieve a winning edge in blackjack.

As a blackjack novice, do not be misled to think that it is a mandatory to master card counting techniques in order to win at blackjack.  Card counting techniques are a part of the advanced strategies at which you can simply start off with the basics and they should not be linked to the basics.

Is the dealer in a position of holding a blackjack?

Given that the dealer’s face-up card is a 10, you would need to look at your hand to see if you also have a 10. Having one card as a 10 is an added advantage and holding two 10s becomes advantageous. Hence, the only chance left is for the dealer not to hold an ace and if it’s not an Ace what betting actions can you do on the table?

Therefore, if you anticipate that the dealer will not reveal a blackjack, there are only three betting options you can do – double down, surrender or stand.

You should only double down when your hand count is below 11. This can be debated, ‘why should I double down instead of making Hits?’  In such a situation, a player should avoid making hits because you are at most likely to bust since you will be tempted to reach a hand value that is very high because the dealer has already scared you with a 10. But with the double down, you only double your bet and automatically stand and the likely hood of getting a bust is negative and the only risk is losing your doubled bet. However, the tables may also turn, if the dealer reveals a hand that is not soft 17, s/he is more likely to bust.

The best strategy when a dealer reveals a face card of a 10 is to only double down when your hand value is below 11, Surrender if your hand value is in the range of 13 and 14 and automatically stand when you have a hand value in the range of 15-20.

Should I increase my hand count?

This situation should only arise when the dealer’s face-up card is below 10. There is a greater chance for you to attain a hand value higher than the dealer’s hand value because the dealer is only allowed to target reaching soft 17.

You should only increase your hand value if you have a hand with values below 15. If your two initial cards add up to 15, do not attempt to make a hit anticipating getting a better hand value because you are most likely to bust.  A hand value of 15 in blackjack is considered good and strong enough to beat the dealer’s hand.

Please note: These are basic guidelines in winning at blackjack and after mastering the basics you can proceed to advanced techniques such as the card counting systems. However, with these basics, you should be able to attain a significant percentage of an advantage over the dealer. By mastering the basics, you will surely have an added advantage over the house.


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