Blackjack basic strategy is the most basic system that all blackjack players must master in order to become a successful player. Basic strategy is a mathematical system of charts that show you the correct mathematical play in any blackjack scenario. You need to learn these basic strategy charts inside and out to know every proper play. This is the fundamental system that blackjack strategy is based upon. By correctly using blackjack basic strategy, you can almost turn the casino’s house advantage of 7%-8% into 1%.
The system of blackjack basic strategy has been developed over several years of research and computer simulation to perfect the basic strategy charts. There are a wide variety of charts that change with slight varations, depending on the exact type of blackjack you will be playing. The two most common basic strategy charts are the single deck and multiple deck charts.
- Single Deck Blackjack Strategy Charts
- Multiple Deck Blackjack Strategy Charts
Using Basic Strategy
Using blackjack basic strategy isn’t complicated if you know how to read and understand basic strategy charts. The left vertical column of the charts is your hand and the top horizontal column is the dealer’s hand. Simply line up the columns where your hand meets the dealer’s hand to find the correct play. The abbreviations below are commonly found on basic strategy charts:
- H – Hit
- S – Stand
- D – Double if allowed, otherwise hit
- Ds – Double if allowed, otherwise stand
- P – Split
- H/P – Split if you can double after split, otherwise hit
- H/R – Surrender if allowed, otherwise hit
- P/R – Surrender if allowed, otherwise split
- S/R – Surrender if allowed, otherwise stand
Memorizing Basic Strategy
You’ll need to memorize the basic strategy charts inside and out so you can make your decision (the proper play) in a split second while sitting at a blackjack table. Newer blackjack players often find it difficult to memorize the charts. The easiest way to commit the charts to memory is to look for logical patterns in the charts that help you understand why each play is made.
When you first begin playing or if you are having trouble memorizing the strategy charts, you might consider getting a blackjack strategy card. These are convenient laminated cards, about the size of a credit card, which have the basic strategy charts on them. Most casinos will even allow you to use the cards at the table while playing. For more information, visit our blackjack strategy card page.
Winning with Basic Strategy
There is one last thing to keep in mind when it comes to blackjack basic strategy – it’s not a guaranteed winning system. There are some players who will try to discredit basic strategy because they tried using it once or twice and ended up with a losing night. Basic strategy just shows the proper mathematical decision, for everyblackjack scenario. This does not guarantee that you will always win when using it. It’s simply the foundation for all other blackjack strategies and is a must learn for any serious player.