By News Team
Last Updated: 3rd July 2020
Perfect Blackjack Strategy
Professional players and analysts believe that, unlike a casino game like roulette, blackjack should not be considered a game of random luck. So what is blackjack then? The mathematical aim is to score as close as possible to an optimum 21, and players can choose several in-play options which can influence the outcome of any hand. So there is plenty of evidence that skilful players using an effective game strategy can often tilt the odds more in their favour.
That means the best way to win at blackjack is usually to make the right calls in every blackjack game situation, which in turn will maximise your chances of securing a winning outcome.
Blackjack Strategy Chart
As an introduction to the basic blackjack strategy, let’s first quickly review three frequently used expressions for the sake of clarity:
The Deal – The dealer waits until all bets have been placed before dealing the cards. Starting clockwise from the left, players receive one card dealt face up. The dealer’s first card is also dealt face up. The second round of cards are dealt the same way, but this time the dealer’s card is presented face down.
The Hit – Players use the term hit when they request a new card. Players will hit when they think an extra card will take them nearer to 21, the optimal blackjack score.
The Stand – Players use the term stand to indicate they want to draw no further cards. This usually suggests the player is fairly sure they already possess cards which will beat the dealer’s hand. Knowing when to stand and when to hit lies at the heart of any basic blackjack strategy – remember, once any hand exceeds 21 it is ‘bust’ and no longer in-play for that round.
The following chart summarises a basic blackjack strategy. What is blackjack strategy? It is essentially the understanding of what decisions you need to make to give you the best possible chance of winning.
Basic Blackjack Strategy Chart
The chart layout tracks the two most important game features: On the extreme left column, you will find the total for your hand, while the dealer’s own (face) up card is recorded across horizontally from the top down. Checking the chart positions both down and across, where those two rows and columns meet is where you’ll discover the best strategic option for that particular game moment.
Chart calculations are based on statistical calculations and present you with the smartest mathematical choice. However, while this represents high-quality data analysis, it carries no absolute guarantee of success. After all, if such chart predictions were never wrong, casinos would simply withdraw the game from their website. So players must accept that the chart will not entirely eliminate the element of chance.
To help explain more of the chart options, here is a definition of what is meant by the ‘split pairs’ and ‘double down’ options:
Split pairs: When a player is dealt a hand with two cards of the same value (e.g. two sixes) they can decide to play them as two individual hands. If so, the original bet now applies just to one of the pair, and the player must bet the same amount again on the other card. The hand to the left is played first with the player hitting or standing one or more times as they choose; then the other card is similarly brought into play. Each hand is always treated as a separate event. If an ace pair is split, the player then receives only one more card for each ace and is not allowed to draw any more cards.
Doubling down: When receiving a two-card hand scoring 9, 10, or 11, a player can opt to double their wager. If so, the player places another bet equal to their original bet and can then receive just one further card. This extra card must remain face down until all bets are settled at the end of the round. But if a hand contains a pair of fives, the player has three choices: (1) split the pair, (2) double down, or (3) opt to continue playing the hand as normal.
Here are some further tips and tricks you should remember to inform your basic blackjack strategy:
- The 10’s rule – If you think about it, ten-cards are extremely common in a blackjack deck. So it’s very reasonable to conclude every upcoming card, and the dealer’s hole (face-down) card, will have a value of 10.
- Don’t split your 10’s – If your hand already totals 20, that’s a tough score to beat. So choosing to split those two ten-cards will drastically reduce your chances of producing a winning hand.
- Hit on soft 17 – You won’t go bust with a score of soft 17. In fact, there is a reasonable chance of ending up with 21. So deciding to stand on soft 17 is a very poor strategy.
- Be wary of a hard 17 – A score of 17 is fairly low, but it’s remarkably easy to go bust. Statistically speaking, unless your dealer’s visible up card is between 3 and 6, you have only a slight chance of a win on a hard 17 hand.
- A 16 is a very poor total – You can’t salvage a win on 16, unless the dealer actually goes bust. The best thing is to ‘hit and hope’ that you turn up a 5 which would be your dream option.
- Don’t split on 4’s or 5’s – If you split here, you will be stuck with very low totals. However, hitting as an alternative will take you to a safer area altogether, where you still won’t go bust.
- Split on Aces and 8’s – A soft 2 is a woeful total. So you’re better off having two separate attempts at landing a blackjack. And don’t forget, 16 is yet another awful total. So split your eight-cards knowing you won’t go bust with your first hit.
- Doubling down carries a risk – Because you’ll only receive one further card, this can be a tricky move. Only double down when you’re feeling lucky and hold:
- a total of 11, while the dealer’s up card is anything other than an Ace or a face card.
- a total of 10, while the dealer’s up card is anything other than an Ace, a face card, or a 10.
- a total of 9, while the dealer’s up card is anything between 3 and 7.
How to register at William Hill
When you register for a William Hill online casino account, just click on the ‘sign up to William Hill’ label. Then you will be prompted to enter your personal information on the registration page. Finally, click to confirm everything is correct, add your deposit and you’re ready to start betting. In William Hill you will find a big range of live blackjack games to play.