Basic Blackjack Strategy. Charts and How to Use Them %%page%%

basic strategy charts blackjack

The Basic Rules of Blackjack

To join a blackjack table and enjoy the experience you just need to know the basics and have a little bit of practice to gain confidence. This game is super simple for beginners to learn but leaves plenty of room for improvement. Mastering a basic blackjack strategy or basic strategy blackjack is a key achievement at the beginning of anyone’s blackjack journey.

Beating the house is the ultimate goal and players do that by accumulating more points than a dealer has. The challenge is the total can’t exceed 21. That’s the dilemma players face. Sometimes they are unsure whether they should risk getting another card to improve the hand or stop before it’s too late.

Dealer is in charge of all card handling. Every participant at the table gets 2 cards. But one of the dealer’s cards is face down, making the situation less favorable for gamblers. During the game, players just need to know a few words to explain their decisions.

  • Hit/Stand. Two cards that every participant receives at the beginning aren’t the only cards they can have. In some cases, getting more cards is the best option. If you need an extra card, simply say/click Hit. A dealer will give you another card and wait for your next decision. When you are satisfied with your hand, say Stand.
  • Double Down. This option is an integral part of every blackjack variant. When you Double, that means you want to double the stake and take only one extra card. The opportunity comes only once after two initial cards are released. After a player Hits at least once, there’s no more Double Down option for that hand. It’s also impossible to take another card after Doubling Down. So, only make this decision knowing that it is final.
  • Split Pairs. When two cards have the same face value, the option to Split can be used. One hand is split into two separate and played one by one just like any regular hand. It’s possible to Hit/Stand or Double and in some cases Split again.

Once all players at the table are fine with what they have or go bust, a dealer reveals its face-down card. Some game variants are played with all dealer cards visible from the beginning. But less favorable rules get introduced as well to balance this out.

Does Blackjack Strategy Really Work

Blackjack is a game in which player decisions play a major role and strategies can make a real difference. Not all of them, however, will have a positive effect. In the early stage of your blackjack journey, you should know only one strategy, which is truly proven to be effective and is based on pure math and not false assumptions.

But even the best strategy won’t make you win on average more than 99.5% theoretical return. The reason why blackjack is considered to be a source of income for some players is that in physical casinos there’s a chance to count cards and get an edge over the house because card counters keep track of all cards and know when the chances of winning/losing change.

Blackjack Strategy Chart

One way to play the blackjack optimal strategy is to memorize all the scenarios and decisions to make. But there’s an easier solution. Learn to use a blackjack basic strategy chart that explains all the moves to be taken in all of the possible situations. It’s very easy to use and allows applying the basic strategy even by complete beginners. The chart will also give plenty of time to effortlessly memorize the strategy.

How to Read blackjack charts

Below is one of the versions of the strategy chart blackjack. There are many of them but the main difference is usually in the styling while the content is the same. Since different blackjack versions have specific rules, you’ll find different tables if there’s an additional rule.

basic blackjack strategy

At the top of the table, users locate a dealer’s card. At the left side of the table is a player’s total. Look at the top line and find there a dealer’s card value. Then locate your total in the first vertical row of the table. Find the point of their intersection and it will say what to do in this situation according to the basic strategy. For instance, dealer’s got 7 against your 14. At their intersection, you’ll see H, which stands for Hit.

Another example is a dealer’s 5 and a player’s 12. That’s a confusing scenario as 12 isn’t a favorite hand and many players will want to hit, but the table says Stand, because the scenario is unfavorable for the dealer as well.

There are a couple more things to know about blackjack. Soft hand is when Ace is present. This type of hand is called Soft, because Ace can give 1 or 11 points, and this characteristic changes many things in the strategy. Hard hands are those that don’t have an Ace and their value is fixed. So, blackjack rules chart will give a separate set of instructions depending on whether the hand is Soft or Hard.

Single Deck

The most common version is a six-pack blackjack. But some game variants are played with a single deck. Because the number of cards in a shoe is important, the basic strategy is adjusted depending on the number of decks. The rules of the single deck variant are the same as those of multi-deck versions with the only difference being that 52 cards are used. That makes it easier to remember which cards come out and which cards are left and decision making becomes easier.

The chart reads the same way as described above. Look up the dealer’s card at the top and your hand at the left. The chart is largely similar to the common six-deck chart but they disagree on what to do when players have 8 or 9 and a dealer has less than 7. As a single deck gives more confidence, instead of Hitting, players should Double Down when they have 8 against the dealer’s 5 and 6.

single deck basic strategysingle deck strategy

4- to 8-Deck

The chart that is generally used is designed for multi-deck (4-8) games. One rule that you need to know and that should be mentioned in the chart description is whether the dealer Stands/Hits on Soft 17. The difference is in how situations are managed when the dealer has A against player’s 15 and 17. In the case of Stand on Soft 17 rule, players are advised to surrender if possible because the chances of the dealer beating the player increase when the rule is to do the opposite.

multi deck basic blackjack strategy4-8 deck basic strategy

Some charts are more sophisticated and include a variety of additional scenarios. For instance, they say what to do if surrender or split and double are possible and what to do if these options aren’t available. For instance, Rh in the chart below says that players should surrender or hit otherwise. The surrender type of blackjack allows players to quit in case the game isn’t in their favor.

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The RTP in this case is 99.62%. The cost of escaping bad situations is 50% of the bet. That might sound discouraging, especially knowing that it’s possible to improve the hand. But the surrender option is available only after two initial cards are dealt. In some situations, it’s better to save at least half the money.

What Is Blackjack Basic Strategy

Intuition isn’t your best friend when it comes to making the most optimal decisions in blackjack. You might seem that what you do is right, but in the long run, it’s a losing game. Basic blackjack strategy allows making the best decisions at all times. This strategy isn’t biased and is based purely on math. When implementing it, players get the highest possible RTP, or in other words, minimize the house edge.

The basic strategy is simple and effective. It says what to do in every possible scenario. It’s usually presented in the form of a table. Once you learn how to use it, you don’t need to remember anything.

Can I/Should I Surrender

Being able to quit is a great option and is used in the basic strategy. Players should surrender when the dealer has a high card (9, 10 or A) while they have a total of 15 and 16. In case a dealer hits on Soft 17, players are recommended to surrender when they have 17. Look at the table provided earlier, R stands for surrender.

Can I/Should I Split

Instructions to split are usually presented in a separate table. There are many splitting rules and it’s easier to use the table instead of memorizing them. Again, the rules will vary slightly depending on whether the dealer Stands or Hits on Soft 17. You might be playing different blackjack versions so you should know that whenever you see Rh, it means Surrender and if not allowed, Hit. Rs and Rp stand for Surrender or Stand and Surrender or Split, respectively.

Can I/Should I Double

There are also different rules for doubling and more sophisticated basic strategy tables will have all these situations covered. In the table presented on this page, Dh and Ds stand for Double or Hit and Double or Stand. That means if doubling isn’t possible, then you hit/stand.

Should I Hit or Should I Stand

Hitting and Standing are straightforward. H stands for Hit and S stands for Stand. Use the table to know when a certain decision should be made. You generally want to hit when having a low-value hand against a high-value dealer’s card.

Advanced Blackjack Strategy

The basic strategy is simplified to make it more convenient to use and remember. It fails to recognize some situations when advanced considerations must be made. But it is still great for the majority of blackjack enthusiasts. Those who want to take one step closer to being a professional should consider advanced blackjack strategy charts, which is more complicated, but more accurate.

Strategy Guide

The biggest difference is that the basic strategy does consider the cards player’s hand is made up of. For instance, when the dealer has 10 against the player’s 15, the basic strategy recommends hitting. But it completely disregards the number and values of the cards. If it’s made up of low-value cards such as 5, 4, 3, 3 then the risk of going bust increases because there are fewer cards that will make you win. In this case, the advanced strategy recommends to Stand. Some other differences are described below.

  • Insurance is also dealt with differently. One of the pillars of the basic strategy is insurance is always bad. But when you move on to the advanced level there are few exceptions to this rule that can be applied by card counters. When a deck is favorable, you should consider taking insurance against the dealer’s Ace. A favorable deck means more low-value cards (2-6) are out compared to high-value cards (those that are worth 10). +1 is added to the count every time cards 2-6 leave the shoe, and when the count is +4 or higher, insurance is a good idea, because the chances of a face-down card worth 10 increase.
  • Another move that contradicts the basic strategy is recommended for advanced players, and it too is possible if the player counts cards. In situations when there’s a pair of 10s, the rule is to Stand. But when card counters know that the deck has many 10s, splitting against the dealer’s 5 or 6 is justified because the dealer is more likely to bust.

These are just some differences between basic and advanced blackjack strategies. There are more of them that you can start exploring once the basics have been mastered.

How to Learn These Strategies

If you are a novice player, it might be intimidating to learn lots of rules. What you can do is learn how to use a basic strategy table and look up the moves there. Over time it’s easy to remember most of the rules. Practicing blackjack in a demo mode is a great option. This can be a great starting point if the goal is to master the basic strategy to then play offline.

Tips for Memorizing

Some techniques help to memorize the basic strategy. For instance, you can look at the table and start with the lines recommending the same move. It’s always Hit when a player has 4-8, regardless of what the dealer has. Or you should always Stand on 17+. This way you’ll easily remember part of the strategy.

Another method is to memorize every line. For instance, when players get a hard 9, they Hit on dealers 2 and 7 to A and Double on 3 to 6. It’s easy to memorize lines one by one instead of trying to memorize all rules at once.

There are pieces of software that are designed to teach blackjack players the basic strategy. Use them for practicing. Unlike regular demo mode in online casinos, these programs will tell you if you make a right or wrong decision.

How to Use a Blackjack Strategy

For beginners, there’s nothing better than implementing the basic strategy. All decisions should be made according to it, even those that seem to contradict your intuition. Stick to the defined rules to minimize the theoretical house edge. The more you deviate from the rules, the less effective the strategy becomes.

You might want to claim bonuses, to make your deposit last longer when you play blackjack. But this game isn’t the most bonus-friendly. The problem is blackjack usually doesn’t contribute to bonus wagering. Meaning if you play this game, you’ll never clear bonus credits to turn them into cash and bonuses become useless unless you wager them in slots.

  • Pick the Betting Strategy that Suits Your Bankroll. Do not expect magical results from the basic or the most advanced strategy. You’ll lose and win just like every player does. The fact that it’s the optimal set of rules, doesn’t make it a guaranteed winning strategy. So, get ready for losses and have your bankroll management in place. Decide in advance how much to spend in a session and per round.
  • One Strategy Does Not Fit All. Multiple blackjack variants usually require small basic strategy adjustments. It’s not that a single set of rules will be great for all of them. For instance, single-deck and multi-deck versions each have their own basic strategy. Another significant rule to keep in mind is what the dealer should do on Soft 17, Hit or Stand. So, be careful and always look at what basic strategy chart you are using.
  • Memorize It Perfectly. When playing offline memorizing the strategy is a must because you don’t want to be the one who disrupts the game by slow responses. For online blackjack, memorizing isn’t necessary since you can always have a chart to use as a guide. But it’s always faster if you remember everything.

Why Follow a Blackjack Betting Strategy

Because it’s effective and will help you win on average more than you would otherwise win. Other strategies aren’t based on math, such as Martingale. It’s a popular roulette system that is sometimes used in blackjack. It does not improve the chances of winning and only puts your money at more risk.

One single benefit that the basic blackjack strategy offers is the maximum possible theoretical RTP. The house will have only a tiny edge of 0.5%, which is ridiculously low in the world of gambling. But the major issue is not all players will enjoy following strict rules without making personal decisions that influence the outcome. Even though the average return must be higher, for some players it’s less fun.

How to Play Baccarat and Win 2022 Rules, Odds and Tips

how to play baccarat

So How Does Baccarat Work

Baccarat is a game that may look intimidating at first but is actually simple. Even complete beginners can confidently enjoy it as a dealer is the one who takes care of everything. What gamblers need is just to decide which hand they place a wager, so you shouldn’t worry about how to play baccarat even if you a complete beginner.

Game Play

This game has some common features with blackjack, but at the same time is very different. The goal is to guess a winning hand. It’s either a banker or a player. These are just the names of the hands, and participants can choose to bet on either one of them.

The gameplay is simple and allows players to relax and enjoy the experience. Apart from deciding on the hand, all they need to think of is how much to bet. From then on the dealer follows a predetermined set of rules to determine the winning hand. That’s nothing either side can do. In addition to a banker/player bet, there’s generally the third option, which is a Tie. This Tie scenario does occur but is relatively rare and the bet is considered a bad choice.

The hand that has a total that is closest to 9, wins. 2-9 cards carry the same face value; 10-K have zero value and A gives 1 point. Unlike blackjack, it’s impossible to go bust because when the total exceeds 9, the first digit is dropped. For instance, the total of 5 and 8 is 13, after dropping the first digit, the total becomes 3.

In the beginning, both banker and player get two cards each, and more may be dealt. But it’s not a player or a dealer who decides to hit or stand. There are specific rules that dictate further decisions.

The Important Rules to Know

As there’s nothing the player can do after the bet is placed, there’s no need to memorize rules as the game will develop on its own. But it’s good to know some key rules as some of them give a deeper understanding of the baccarat and how to play it.

  • A player’s bet pays 1 to 1. A banker’s bet pays 19 to 20. One of the things beginner players may want to know is why that 5% commission is charged when they win with a banker bet. That’s because the banker has a positional advantage since the hand is played knowing the player’s final total. This way the chances of losing decrease.
  • A total of 8 or 9 is called “natural” and it automatically wins if the other hand has less. But if these totals do not show up initially, a player will get an extra card if the total is anywhere from 0 to 5, and no more cards are given when the total is 6 or 7.
  • The banker draws depending on the player’s total. If there’s a need to improve the hand, the banker is given an extra card. There are multiple rules to when a banker draws and stands in response to a certain player’s third card and these rules are explained in the chart below.

how to play baccarat

What the player gets when drawing affects the banker’s move. Look up the number of points collected from the draw at the top of the table. Banker’s current total is on the left. Where the two lines intersect it’s what the banker should do. S stands for Stand and D stands for Draw. Remember that it’s not about the player’s total but the player’s third card.

Suppose a player gets an extra card that gives 4 points. Banker’s hand totals to 5. The chart shows that a banker will draw. If instead a banker has 6, the rule is to stand.

The bacarrat Odds

Baccarat can be played using a different number of decks. Unlike other games, there will be a tiny difference in the odds as the number of decks changes. So, it’s acceptable to ignore this factor and concentrate on the hand, which is the key element that influences the odds. The chances of the banker’s hand winning is 45.8% and the player’s hand winning – 44.6%. What seems to be an insignificant advantage is important. The other 9.6% are the chances of Tie.

When it comes to the house edge, it’s 1.06% for the banker against 1.24% for the player. Even considering the less favorable 1.24% casino edge, it’s better than most other casino games can offer. So, both hands would be a good choice. But choosing a Tie is definitely a bad decision because even though it pays 8 to 1, the house edge is 14.36%, which is crazy high.

If you bet on any of the hands and it’s a Tie, there’s nothing to lose as you get your money back. So, if you can’t lose when it’s a Tie, it’s better to just ignore this bet.

How to Play Baccarat

This is one of the easiest games because there are just a few betting choices and everything is taken care of by the dealer. But it’s still a casino game meaning players need to be aware of risks and come up with a game plan. Decide before you join a table how big your bets are going to be and either you’ll bet on the banker or player hand or a Tie.

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There’s no need for a detailed plan with multiple scenarios. But to have fun and do it responsibly, make sure you set some boundaries and stick to them. When ready to execute your plan, place a bet and wait for the outcome. The round will unfold the following way:

  • After wagers are placed, two cards are dealt for each of the hands.
  • Based on the draw rules for baccarat and the player’s hand total, there will be an extra card given or no more cards.
  • When it’s the banker’s turn, there are other sets of rules to decide the next move. The first set of rules of baccarat is applied to when a player doesn’t draw the third card and the second set of rules for the situations when the third card is drawn by the player.
  • Then the totals are compared and the hand closest to 9 wins.

Baccarat Betting Systems and Strategies

Many systems can be and are applied to baccarat. But none of them can ensure positive outcomes and many will just make the gambling riskier. Players use Martingale that originally is used in roulette, Fibonacci and D’Alembert are also used to play baccarat. But what you really need is a simple game plan and control over what you do in response to certain situations.

Bankroll management strategy is the single most important of all. Playing responsibly and walking away when the fun stops might be difficult, but is crucial. Many strategies assume bets pay 1 to 1 and in this regard betting the player hand is the option. But the banker generally is a better option as it offers the lowest house edge.

  • Bet on the Player. The chances of the player’s hand winning are 44.6%. So, it’s a nice choice. The house edge is 1.24% and the payout is 1 to 1. As mentioned, it’s more convenient to use this bet when applying specific betting systems as they require the 1 to 1 payout. That’s why even though it gives the house a higher edge than the bet on the banker, it’s often recommended for strategies.
  • Bet on the Banker. If you want to have statistically better chances of winning, that’s the bet you need. Banker’s hand has a slight edge over the player’s hand and that’s all you need to theoretically win more often. However, casinos usually take a 5% commission to balance out the difference in chances. There are no-commission game variants, but they always make up the difference by introducing some less favorable rules. The house edge in the case of the bet on the banker is 1.06%, which is one of the lowest in the casino.
  • Bet on a Tie. This is the worst choice in baccarat. The casino has an edge of 14.36%, which is too high and even the 8 to 1 payout doesn’t make it worth taking the risk. So, avoid this bet. If you think there’ll be a Tie, just bet on any of the two hands instead of chasing higher payouts that are unlikely to land.

Learn All about Baccarat Strategy

The odds can’t get any better than 45.8% and the house edge any lower than 1.06%. That’s why no matter what strategy is implemented, a simple strategy to stick to the banker will be the most optimal. There are strategies that you can apply to baccarat to make gambling a bit more fun, but that’s not to benefit financially from them.

Different Versions of Baccarat

Despite being a simple game, baccarat has many variations. The presentation may be different, but the basic rules stay the same. To spice up the gameplay, many content developers introduce side bets with unlikely scenarios but that offer nice payouts.

Punto Banco

This is the most common version of the game that you can find online and offline. Everything is standardized and players only decide what bet they want to place. The rest is done for them. The game unfolds according to the predetermined set of rules so that everyone will know what will happen once the cards are dealt.

Chemin De Fer

This version is significantly different from the punto banco in the way that players are much more involved in the process. They don’t just bet and passively watch how things unfold but participate. One player becomes a banker and challenges other participants. He/she is in charge of dealing cards and decides how much he/she wants to bet. Others then place their bets on the opposing hand. If a banker loses he/she must pay every winning bet and the role of the dealer goes to the next player.


Chemin de fer and midi baccarat are both types of games that are exclusive to offline casinos because of the procedures involved. Midi-baccarat was created as a mix between big and mini versions. The key difference is in the pace of the game. Big tables are usually slow and mini versions are super fast. Midi is somewhere in between.

The pace is controlled by the rules of who can handle the cards. The mini version is fast because the dealer takes care of all the card handling. As the pace is very fast, lower table limits are usually applied to mini tables. In midi baccarat players are allowed some freedom and can turn cards up. This will slow down the game, but the limits are higher than at midi tables.

Tips on How to Play Baccarat and Win

There are strategies some players will be tempted to implement as they hope for a better return. But basically, baccarat already offers the most optimum course of action. Betting on the banker gives one of the lowest house edges in gambling. What’s more important is that no skill is required from the player to reach that minimum casino edge. Below are some recommendations to win more often in baccarat.

  • Ignore the Tie bet. When you hear Tie is a bad choice in this game, that’s absolutely true and that’s because this bet gives the casino a massive 14.36% edge. 8 to 1 payout won’t make up for taking this huge risk.
  • Choose the banker every time. That’s the advice that should make your balance last longer as a banker’s hand gives the house the lowest edge, which is 1.06%. This might not be the most exciting way to play as the actions are limited to one choice but it surely is the most lucrative.
  • Avoid the side bets. Some baccarat variations present multiple side betting opportunities. One of the most popular options is the Banker/Player pair. The hand should have two cards of the same rank. Perfect Pair is a more advanced option when a pair should consist of two equally ranked cards of the same suit. This one pays 25 to 1, but as you might have guessed, the chances of landing these combinations are low.

Check the number of decks. The fewer decks the more chances of the banker winning and vice versa. So, this knowledge should help you pick the right game when given a choice.


The same baccarat that is played offline has transitioned to online casinos. It’s the punto banco version that is usually offered by gambling sites.

Bets are placed on either a banker, a player, or on a tie. Each hand receives cards and the one with the total closest to 9 wins.

This is the bet that has the lowest house edge. Therefore, it’s the safest way to bet. The Player bet isn’t that bad, though, but you should definitely avoid a tie.

Absolutely not. The most common version of baccarat is completely standardized and the dealer handles all the cards. Other than choosing a hand to bet, players don’t do anything and can jump right into the action after learning the basics.

As there are no decisions that players make to influence the outcome, they just need to guess which hand will win.