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Revealing 5 of the Most Advanced Blackjack Strategies

Jamie Wall
Written by Jamie Wall

Advanced blackjack strategies in 2024 offering UK players optimal approaches and a no-bust blackjack tactic—all aiming for precision and strategic advantage.

Whether you play in a real casino or your favourite online casino, you can rest assured that one of the most popular casino games you will encounter will be blackjack. At its heart, blackjack is an incredibly simple game to play. With the ultimate objective centred around hitting 21, blackjack pits the player’s cards against the dealer’s. Due to its popularity, it isn’t surprising that players have developed many advanced blackjack strategies that have been used to give them an edge over the house. In this guide, we will reveal some of the best blackjack strategies in the hope that you will try out some of them the next time you play.

How to Play Blackjack: Revealing 5 of the Best Advanced Blackjack Strategies

One of the reasons blackjack has become so popular globally is how easy it is to play. The rules of the game are largely universal, and because the game pits the player against the dealer, the house edge is just over 3%.

An incredibly social game, blackjack allows players to steadily build their bankroll at a relaxed and leisurely pace. If you want to find out more about some of the more basic strategies, you can do that by clicking here. However, in this article, we will focus on some of the more advanced strategies that you can employ in your blackjack play.

Standing

A successful American businessman and a keen blackjack player, Charlie Ergen once said:

‘Blackjack is very scientific. There’s always a right answer and a wrong answer. Do you take a card, increase your bet, bet big or bet small. There’s absolutely a right and wrong answer.’

Ergen is right. Decisions are always constant in blackjack, and one of the most important is knowing when to stand.

Standing in blackjack is where you are happy with the cards you have received and don’t want to pull another card for fear of busting or handing an advantage over to the dealer. Blackjack dealer rules will always determine that it’s the players who call first; because of this, standing at the right moment can often be critical when trying to make long-term profits.

When you play blackjack, there are no restrictions on standing. You can stand at any moment you feel is right, but some opportunities are more optimum than others.

One of the best features of blackjack is that every card is dealt face up, including your two-hole cards and one card from the dealer. Depending on what card the dealer pulls can determine what action you take.

The table below provides an overview of some of the most favourable times to stand and take your chance:

Dealer’s card What you should do Dealer’s chance of going bust
2 or 3 There is a good chance the dealer could bust. The general rule here is that if you have anything over 13, you should stand. This tactic can also be referred to as ‘No Bust blackjack.’ 36%
4, 5 or 6 A 4, 5, or 6 are the worst cards a dealer can deal themselves. These card ranges are the perfect time to stand. If you have anything over 11— stand and hope the dealer busts. 42%
7, 8 or 9 If the dealer pulls a 7, 8, or 9, there is a chance that with their second card, they could get close to 21. Here the odds shift in their favour, and it’s advised that you should only stand when you hold 16 or more. 25%
10, J, Q or K The same logic applies to the above scenario. If the dealer pulls a picture card, there is a real chance of them securing a high hand. You will need to take more chances and ideally only stand on 16 or higher. 21%
ACE This is the worst-case scenario, as not only could the dealer score a high-value hand, but they could also secure blackjack. Here you will need to take more risk. The general rule when the dealer has an Ace is to play until you hit at least 17. 12%
  • Pros of this blackjack betting strategy:
  • You can’t win if you bust. By standing, you at least have a chance of winning by making the dealer reveal their cards. There will be times when standing will result in a loss, but there will also be occasions when the dealer doesn’t quite hit the cards they want to hit, and by standing, they could bust.
  • A third of the deck is in your favour—any 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 that the dealer pulls should mean that the odds of a hand victory are greatly in your favour. Whilst you won’t win every time, it’s good to know that using standing as an advanced blackjack strategy could pay off.
  • Cons of this blackjack betting strategy:
  • Dealers can run hot and cold. Some will go through a period of busting, while others will consistently hit the cards they need. Although the above blackjack strategy chart reveals the percentages of a dealer going bust, it’s important to gauge any trends or patterns the dealer is experiencing, as this should also play a part in your decision.

Hitting

Alongside standing, another heavily used blackjack strategy in the UK is knowing when to hit. Hitting is when you pull another card from the dealer in the hope that your total will end up closer to 21. Be careful, though. If you hit too much, there is a chance that you could bust your hand.

Similarly to standing, there is an ideal time to hit. Our blackjack strategy chart reveals more:

Dealer’s card What you should do Dealer’s chance of going bust
2 or 3 There is a good chance the dealer will bust. With that in mind, if you have lower than 12, the general rule is to hit to give yourself the best chance of scoring a high hand. 36%
4, 5 or 6 If the dealer pulls a 4, 5 or 6, you could be in dreamland. As the dealer will bust over two-fifths of the time, it’s important you play these hands cautiously. You should only ever hit if your total is lower than 11; it would be risky to hit above 12. 42%
7, 8 or 9 There is a chance that with their second card, the dealer could get close to 21. Here, the odds are against you, and logic would dictate you hit until you hit at least 16. If you stand on anything lower, you are relying on luck being on your side. 25%
10, J, Q or K The same scenario applies if the dealer pulls a picture card. Hit until you land on at least 16; ideally, only stand when higher. 21%
ACE As there is a decent chance the dealer could hit blackjack, it’s essential to keep hitting for as long as possible. 17 is often considered a safe option to stand on, but it wouldn’t be ludicrous to take another card when on 16 or 17 to try to give you the strongest hand possible. 12%
  • Pros of this blackjack betting strategy:
  • Hitting in blackjack is a fun way to play; it is the game in its purest form. Those who like to hit must be brave and not be afraid of busting.
  • When the dealer has a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, you can hit your next card with relative freedom knowing that you should be in a strong position. A decision on whether you hit your next card is one you will need to consider carefully.
  • Cons of this blackjack betting strategy:
  • Hitting based purely on percentages doesn’t necessarily take into account how hot or cold the dealer is running. It’s important to note the pattern of the table when trying to decide whether to hit or not.

Doubling Down

For those who like to play aggressively, doubling down is one of the blackjack perfect strategies that you can employ.

When you choose to double down, you are required to double your betting stake, and you will only get dealt one card. After that card, your hand will automatically be stood, and you won’t be able to pull any more cards.

Just like our two other blackjack strategies, there are more optimum times to double down over others. The following blackjack strategy table reveals all:

Your Hand Dealers face card
  2 3 4 5/6 7/8 9/10/A
ACE and ACE = soft 12
ACE and 2 = soft 13
ACE and 3 = soft 14
Hit Hit Hit Double Down Hit Hit
ACE and 4 = soft 15
ACE and 5 = soft 16
Hit Hit Double Down Double Down Hit Hit
ACE and 6 = soft 17 Hit Double Down Double Down Down Hit Hit
ACE and 7 = soft 18 Hit Double Down Double Down Down Stand Hit
ACE and 8 = soft 19
ACE and 9 = soft 20
Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand

As the above double down blackjack chart shows, the perfect time to double down is when you have an Ace in your hand. An Ace in blackjack acts as an 11 and a 1, giving you flexibility.

It is also important to note that although the strategy would advise you to double down with an Ace, you can double down with any combination.

If you wish to follow the table above, doubling down is optimum if you hold an Ace and the dealer holds a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6—if the dealer has anything higher, we would advise you just hit or stand. If you are dealt a 19 or 20, it is advised that you stand and don’t risk doubling down.

  • Pros of this blackjack betting strategy:
  • Compared to other casino games, such as roulette, the odds for blackjack aren’t as generous. However, if you double down, it can see you make some nice returns.
  • There are scenarios where if you double down and the dealer holds a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, even if you pull a low card as your double-down card, the dealer could still bust.
  • Cons of this blackjack betting strategy:
  • You only get one card and if you pull a low card, your position or odds in the hands may not overly shift. The same outcome could occur, but you would have doubled your stake for the same amount of risk.

Splitting

If you choose to split, you will have two hands to play with, but you will need to double your stake for your cards to be split. This strategy is only applicable if you are dealt two cards that are a pair—for example, two 8s.

A commonly used blackjack strategy, here are some of the best examples of when you should opt to split:

Your Hand Dealers face card
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
2/2 Hit Split Split Split Split Split Hit Hit Hit Hit
3/3 Hit Hit Split Split Split Split Hit Hit Hit Hit
4/4 Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
5/5 D D D D D D D D D D
6/6 Hit Split Split Split Split Split Hit Hit Hit Hit
7/7 Split Split Split Split Split Split Hit Hit Stand Hit
8/8 Split Split Split Split Split Split Split Split Hit Hit
9/9 Split Split Split Split Split Stand Split Split Stand Stand
10/10 Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand Stand
A/A Split Split Split Split Split Split Split Split Split Split

D = Double down

As the above split chart blackjack table indicates, hands where you are dealt a pair of 7s, 8s, 9s, and Aces are the best hands in which you should choose to split. However, if the dealer is holding a picture card or an Ace, it might be better to either stand or hit.

If you are dealt a pair of 5s, the ideal solution is to double down rather than split. If dealt a pair of Aces, the guidance would be to split regardless of whatever the dealer holds.

  • Pros of this blackjack betting strategy:
  • This advanced blackjack strategy gives you much more flexibility when it comes to your hand. Rather than just having one hand in play, splitting hands gives you two chances to win. If both hands win, you will double your stake. If just one of your hands wins, you will cover your bet.
  • There are scenarios where splitting with certain hands against the dealers should stand you in great stead when it comes to statistically winning a hand.
  • Cons of this blackjack betting strategy:
  • Just like any gambling strategy, although splitting your bets gives you more flexibility, there is no guarantee that you will win all the time. There will be occasions where the dealer will beat both of your hands. An element of luck is still required.

Surrendering

When it comes to advanced blackjack betting strategies, surrendering is probably the least known. The blackjack surrender rule allows for half of your stake to be returned once the cards have been dealt. You would choose to surrender your hand if you don’t feel your cards can beat the dealer’s. It will occur once the dealer has dealt themselves two cards.

When you choose this strategy, you will be forced to sit out the rest of the hand. The following blackjack surrender chart reveals when a good time to apply this tactic could be.

Your Hand Dealers face card
  2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
4-8 Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
9 Hit D D D D Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
10 D D D D D D D D Hit Hit
11 D D D D D D D D D Hit
12 Hit Hit S S S Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
13 S S S S S Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
14 S S S S S Hit Hit Hit Hit Hit
15 S S S S S Hit Hit Hit SR Hit
16 S S S S S Hit Hit SR SR SR
17 S S S S S S S S S S

S = Stand

SR = Surrender

  • Pros of this blackjack betting strategy:
  • As our blackjack chart with surrender information indicates, it gives you an opportunity to save some money if you feel you are going to lose a hand.
  • It is a great strategy for those wanting to steadily build a bankroll.
  • Cons of this blackjack betting strategy:
  • Whether you choose to surrender or not can often come down to the bets you are placing. If betting small, some may rather take the risk and hit instead. If you are trying to enhance your bankroll stakes and surrender, you may have gone on to win the hand. You will need to judge the risk vs the potential reward.

Card Counting

Richard Munchkin is in the blackjack Hall of Fame. He once said that ‘Card counters need to have tunnel vision.’ Card counting in blackjack is arguably the most famous of all blackjack strategies, glorified in films such as Rainman, 21, and The Hangover. It involves maths and the working out of quick percentages and odds. To apply it effectively, there can be no mistakes, but plenty of blackjack card counting practice with a shrewd blackjack card counting trainer that can help you learn more about how it can be applied.

Using a complicated maths system, players can time when they want to place a big bet. Often outlawed by most of the biggest and best casinos, it is a strategy that often divides opinion. To find out more about card counting, visit this page.

10 Blackjack Rules to Follow the Next Time You Play

Following our highlighted strategies, here are ten rules you should look to use the next time you play:

  1. Remember, you don’t always have to hit. You can stand on any combination of numbers.
  2. If the dealer has a 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, be careful when hitting on any hand over 12.
  3. If the dealer has a picture card or Ace, you may need to hit until you reach at least seventeen to give you a better chance of winning.
  4. 7, 8 or 9 often lead to decisions needing to be made. You probably don’t want to stand until you have reached at least 16.
  5. If the dealer has a 7, 8 or 9, you may need to hit until you hit a bigger number.
  6. Splitting is a great tactic to use—particularly when you are dealt a pair of 8s or a pair of Aces.
  7. Surrendering is a strategy that can be used to save money, but you need to decide when it’s right to risk it and when it’s time to play conservatively.
  8. Before you employ any strategies, it’s also important to see what is happening on the table—is the dealer running hot, or are they running cold? This should play a part in which strategies you choose to play.
  9. Not every strategy will suit your style of play. Pick one which suits your betting style and level of aggressiveness.
  10. Remember, no matter what strategy you choose, you will always need an element of luck on your side.

To Sum Up

In this guide, we have revealed several great strategies that you can look to use the next time you play blackjack. They cover a whole range of eventualities, and there should be one to suit every playing style. If you like to leave little up to chance, employing a hitting strategy could be perfect, whereas if you like to play more conservatively, some of our blackjack betting charts will tell you the perfect time to stand or when to apply surrendering tactics.

No strategy is bombproof, and it’s important to remember that no matter what strategy you wish to use, luck will still need to play a part. Hopefully, some of these tactics will help you make better decisions when you play blackjack.

References

  1. Blackjack Quotes. Brainyquote.com, https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/blackjack-quotes. Accessed April 2, 2024.
  2. Brehoi, Cosmin. Surrender in blackjack, Casinoalpha.com, https://casinoalpha.com/player-guides/blackjack-surrender/, November 16, 2023. Accessed April 2, 2024.
  3. Blackjack Hall of Fame. Richard W. Munchkin, https://blackjackhalloffame.com/members/richard-w-munchkin/. Accessed April 1, 2024.
  4. Counting Edge.com. The Greatest Gambling & blackjack Quotes, https://www.countingedge.com/the-greatest-gambling-blackjack-quotes/. August 23, 2019. Accessed April 2, 2024.
  5. Kjartan.co.uk. Blackjack—Hit, Stand, Double Down or Split, https://www.kjartan.co.uk/games/blackjack.htm#hit. Accessed April 2, 2024.
  6. The History of blackjack. Rainbow Casino, https://rainbowcasino.co.uk/blog/history-blackjack, September 14, 2019. Accessed April 1, 2024.
  7. Why blackjack is the most popular casino game. TFE Times, https://tfetimes.com/why-blackjack-is-the-most-popular-casino-game/, June 19, 2023. Accessed April 2, 2024.
Author
Jamie Wall
Jamie Wall Casino Analyst

Former NetEnt developer with MSc in Casino Game Development from the London School of Economics and an article featured in The Times of Malta. Jamie dissects each game & casino, so you can read reviews that blend passion and insight. You’ll never meet a person who knows more about game mechanics than him.

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FAQ

Is there a minimum number that you need to stand on?

Whether you choose to play blackjack in a casino or live blackjack online, there is no minimum when it comes to choosing a number to stand on. You can stand on any value you wish. As our standing strategy guide has indicated, there are some situations where standing will give you a better chance of winning.

Is there a limit to how many cards you can hit?

No, as long as you haven’t exceeded 21, you can hit as many times as you like. There can be times when playing blackjack when you receive multiple low-value cards. No predetermined blackjack rules dictate when you have to stop hitting. It isn’t strange to see some winning hands exceeding five cards.

Can blackjack strategies work in both online casinos and real casinos?

One of the main strengths of applying any of our highlighted blackjack strategies is that they can be applied in both a live online casino setting and a real casino environment. However, before you choose to run with a particular strategy, there are things to be aware of. A real casino and online casino may run a blackjack game with a differing amount of decks. Usually 1, 4, 6, or 8 decks can be in play at any one time, and your strategy could be impacted by the volume of cards that are in play. Online casinos may also run ‘Lightning’ games which will require you to act quickly. These quicker versions of the game may not be great if you want to take your time and apply a particular strategy.

Can you only split when dealt a pair?

Yes, you can only split when you are dealt a pair, only the players can split, dealers can’t. Unlike other casino games such as roulette where there are plenty of different bets, Blackjack is much more limited, but splitting is one way where players can try and unlock more value from a hand. Splitting only happens when two cards of equal value are dealt as the percentages of hitting a strong hand are the same. It is common that a pair of Aces and a pair of 8’s should always be split. Any other combinations are up to the player to decide.

Do you have to use a blackjack strategy?

Studying blackjack strategies should give you a better idea of when it could be a great time to hit, stand, double down or split. However, there are plenty of players who prefer to play blackjack based on feel or instinct. Whilst strategies can help determine when the odds may be in your favour, no perfect strategy chart exists, and you will still need the cards to fall in your favour.