blackjack betting strategy guide

How To Win Online Blackjack: Strategy and Tips

No wonder blackjack remains one of the most popular games at land-based casinos as well as on online gambling sites. It is easy, fun, and, most importantly, it is a game where players make decisions. Playing blackjack is not like spinning the wheels in slots – it is so interesting because you know that the results depend not only on luck but also on your own blackjack betting strategy.

A lot of players look for the strategy that would allow them to win each time they sit at the casino table or browse their favorite gambling website. However, things are more complicated, and today we are going to discuss the ways to improve your chances of winning the jackpot.

Blackjack Strategies: From Basic to Advanced

Of course, there are particular strategies in the world of blackjack. Some of them work for more patient players, some are frequently used by high rollers, and others are more basic. Let us start with a strategy everyone can use.

The basic strategy

So, what is the most important thing about playing blackjack and many other similar games? It is money management. Simply put, you need to understand how much you are going to spend and how you are going to bet. The secret is to invest the right amount of money at the right time.

Here is what happens once you get your cards: you need to choose between several options, which are stand, hit, double, split & surrender. Which one to choose? You can use logic and make the most reasonable step in your situation. This is what players usually call the blackjack basic strategy.

Let us talk about the most obvious steps. For example, you have a number of cards that give 20 points. Will you ask for more? Will you hit? If you do not want to lose your money, you will not. But what if you have only 7 points? We bet you will hardly stand, right?

These are the simplest, the least controversial scenarios. There are also the safest steps for more complicated situations. Take a look at this blackjack strategy chart – there is all the information you need to make reasonable decisions. You can simply print it to use at any time, for example, when playing the game online. There is nothing wrong about it – it is not the secret or sacred knowledge or even something illegal, so feel free to download the pic and use it when you need this.

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
17 S S S S S S S S S S
16 S S S S S H H H H H
15 S S S S S H H H H H
14 S S S S S H H H H H
13 S S S S S H H H H H
12 H H S S S H H H H H
11 D D D D D D D D D D
10 D D D D D D D D H H
9 H D D D D H H H H H
8 H H H H H H H H H H
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
A,9 S S S S S S S S S S
A,8 S S S S Ds S S S S S
A,7 Ds Ds Ds Ds Ds S S H H H
A,6 H D D D D H H H H H
A,5 H H D D D H H H H H
A,4 H H D D D H H H H H
A,3 H H H D D H H H H H
A,2 H H H D D H H H H H
  2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
9,9 Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y N N
8,8 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
7,7 Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N N
6,6 Y/N Y Y Y Y N N N N N
5,5 N N N N N N N N N N
4,4 N N N Y/N Y/N N N N N N
3,3 Y/N Y/N Y Y Y Y N N N N
2,2 Y/N Y/N Y Y Y Y N N N N
S Stand
D Double if allowed, otherwise hit
Ds Double if allowed, otherwise stand
N Don’t split the pair
Y Split the pair
Y/N Split only if “DAS” is offered

A stake strategy for beginners

You don’t have to be a high roller to profit from playing a game in a casino. More patient and conservative players usually use a strategy that doesn’t provide them with huge winnings but often allows them to win some amounts pretty regularly. Before we start to write about it, please, note that there is a good and at the same time simple rule all beginners should use – players shouldn’t play high-stake games until they feel like a professional ready for any kind of situation. Beginners should avoid risks of spending big amounts at all costs.

As for the strategy itself: raise the bet only if you win. Yes, that is right, you need to stop if you lose, and it may be more difficult than it actually seems. People say that a casino always has profit, and it can be explained by the fact that players who lose a few times think that they must be lucky the next time. No need to say it rarely happens.

Here are some tips that are the part of this strategy for “patient players”, too:

  1. Don’t increase your bet significantly – 1 unit is more than enough.
  2. Always start from the lowest bet players can make, even if it is only 1 pound.
  3. If you increase your bet and lose, go back to the lowest bet.

As you can see, you don’t have to quit if you lose, just don’t raise the stake. If you are lucky and if you win a few times in a row and lose for the first time, decrease your bet no matter what. You may ask, “What’s the point? The strategy does not tell me what to do in a particular situation, for example, when I have 16 points and a dealer has 10 points, why do I need it?” In fact, it tells you what to do. It prevents big money losses. It is the scheme you can use to win, so if you are not ready to lose big amounts, consider using it when playing blackjack.

1-3-2-6 betting – how does it work?

You don’t have to bet a lot of money or use a super complex strategy to win – there is also the 1-3-2-6 approach a lot of blackjack fans use pretty often. Of course, these are not just the numbers.

Let us imagine that we start to play blackjack and bet 10 pounds (have 1000 pounds on our account in total) and use this system. We make our 1st (number 1) bet and win. The number 3 comes into play, so we bet 30 pounds. If we win again, we bet 20 pounds (yes, because it is number 2), and then, if we win, we bet 60 pounds (because it is 6.) Then we bet 10 pounds again.

If we lose at any stage, no matter if it is the first bet or the “3rd bet”, we are supposed to bet the lowest amount, i.e., 10 pounds again. Why should you do it? Well, if you are lucky, you will win 12 stakes, if you are not, you will lose only 4 initial stakes (10 pounds each.)

Martingale strategy for those who are not afraid of risks

How does another blackjack betting strategy work? The rule is the opposite of the principle of other less risky strategies aimed at saving money. Players who use the Martingale system start from a minimum bet. For example, let us take our 10-pound stake. After a player loses the money, they increase the stake as many times as necessary to outweigh all the previous losses with some profit.

After the user wins, gets the money back, and even earns some, they should bet 10 pounds (the minimum bet) again. Such an approach, however, works only for people who are not afraid of losing money and are ready to increase stakes even if they are losing their hard-earned cash in a row.

Odds of winning blackjack are higher, the game is very simple, and though the strategy may seem a bit difficult to understand for a beginner, you will use it easily after your practice to count cards at least 10 times – it is definitely one of the best games to play. Now, let us take a look at one of the most known tactics to win in any casino game.

Counting Cards – The Most Controversial Blackjack Strategy

We are sure you heard of counting cards. Even if you are a beginner, you probably might be illegal. Or not? Let us take a look at one of the most known and controversial techniques ever at the same time.

How does it work?

Players started to count cards in blackjack a long time ago, at the beginning of the 70s, to be exact. Edward Oakley Thorp created the system in which every card had its “value.” However, this system was too complicated for most players and therefore, should have been simplified. Well, what players use today is, in fact, the simplified system, so let us take a look at it.

Plus-minus count

The strategy known as the plus-minus count is actually the simpler alternative to the above-mentioned Thorp’s system, and it is used even now, though it was created in the mid-70s. It was also used to create the basic strategy we have already described at the very beginning of this blackjack guide.

So, what exactly plus-minus count is? All the cards are divided into three groups, and each of them has a particular count value:

  • +1 for small cards (from 2 to 6)
  • 0 for the so-called “neutral” cards (from 7 to 9)
  • -1 for face cards (from 10 to aces)

In this system (plus-minus count), the sum of all cards is equal to zero. The rule for multi-deck is the same. During the game, players count all the cards subtracting or adding their value (1, 0, or -1 points). Note that:

  1. 7, 8, 9 are not taken into account
  2. 10, face cards and aces decrease the count by 1.
  3. Small cards add 1 to the total count.

Here is the most important thing you need to know: if the count is positive, the chance that large cards are more likely to be drawn, and that favors a player, and if the count is negative, the situation is exactly the opposite.

What is true count, and why is it important?

People say that count is illegal, that it impacts one’s chances of winning or losing a lot, but how exactly does it help a player to win? When should a player increase the stakes? The truth is you need to know a real count. To find out the real count, you need to divide the current count by the number of decks.

For example, 6 decks were in the game. 1 of them has already been played, and the current count of the played cards is +15. If you divide 12 by 5 (the number of remaining decks) we see that true count equals 3. How to count the remaining cards? Does one need to count the cards that have already been played? The simplest solution is to take a look at the discarded cards to the left of a dealer. You don’t need the exact number – the approximate number is enough to make the right conclusions.

Do I have to use this technique to win?

It may sound difficult, but this system is not so hard to use. You just add 1 if it is 10, ace, or face card, ignore 7, 8, 9 and deduct 1 when small cards are played and make decisions considering positive or negative total count.

Of course, newbies need time to get used to it, to do it almost automatically. That is why beginners who want to use this method to win more often or at least not to lose when playing blackjack need to practice a lot. We mean, a lot – if you make a mistake, you will make the wrong decision, and that in turn, is likely to lead to really bad consequences.

Frankly, if you are not sure that you will do everything right and use this strategy without any problem, you do not have to do it. Just play blackjack using the standard, the basic strategy we mentioned and described above. It works pretty well, too.

Benefits & drawbacks of card count system

The main problem of this technique is that it cannot guarantee success and that it does not provide accurate, 100% relevant results. The first version of this method was more effective because Thorp considered that ace is better than 10, and 5 is worse than 2. However, the plus-minus count ignores that – there are 3 groups, and that is all.

Even though it has some serious disadvantages, the technique is relatively simple, and casinos usually don’t welcome players who use it and this kind of proves that it works. Is it a perfect strategy? Not really. Can it save your money or allow you to win some real cash. Yes, absolutely.

Is card count illegal?

No, but casinos want you to think that it is. Every player who uses this technique will never get in trouble with the law unless they use any device. However, as you probably know, a casino has the right not to provide services to any visitor without explaining the reasons, and you can be sure that the casino will use it if someone notices that you count cards. Still, it is legal.

How To Win At Blackjack – Final Thoughts

Now you know how to bet in blackjack (there are even a few strategies to choose from) and how to count cards using the simplest yet pretty effective method. All of these strategies are legal. You can even print a strategy table and use it during the game if you play online.

You are free to risk using the 1-3-2-6 betting approach or Martingale system, you can even count cards (it is simpler than it may seem), and the odds are higher. You have very good chances to win money and have fun. However, there is one thing we would like to emphasize: if you are going to play “in the real world” or online, you need to choose a trusted casino that will not try to get all your money without providing you with a real chance to win. Just select a reputable gambling brand and enjoy the game!

Playing Blackjack: Are There Other Rules That A Player Needs To Follow?

Even now, at the times when a user can make huge bets without even living home, there are certain unwritten rules all players should follow. Of course, when you are using a gambling website you don’t need to follow strict casino etiquette rules – if you are polite when playing live blackjack, you will hardly face any problems. But if you are playing in a land-based casino, you need to keep in mind that your freedom ends where others’ freedom, as well as the strict casino policy, begins.

Make sure that you know the rules

Games are changing, and more and more variations are played in casinos worldwide. Blackjack is not an exception to this rule, so if you look through the rules and sit at the table to play the game for the first time in a random casino, you may be surprised to know that another blackjack is played here. Make sure that you know what exactly you are going to play. This is good advice for all gamblers, no matter if you prefer to play online or offline.

Try to consider all the nuances. But why? Players can ask a dealer, right? Yes, but it is impolite to distract a dealer and other players. If you don’t ask anyone about anything but violate the existing rules, you are likely to be thrown out of the game. Ignorance of the rules is no excuse.

Tips are welcomed

You can tip a dealer if you win, just keep in mind that this is money you can lose in the next round of the game. Generosity is always appreciated, but don’t get too excited.

What about conversations?

How do I know if I can talk to others when playing? You are allowed to talk if you want to, but the unwritten rule says that you can do it only if others (including a dealer) show they don’t mind having a conversation. If it is clear that everyone wants just to focus on the game, don’t initiate anything. This rule, by the way, works offline, as well as online – friendly messages in online chat turn into spam when all other players just want to play.

Use Bonuses

If you play online, don’t forget to go for some juicy bonuses as a foundation of your future strategy. Some blackjack deposit bonus can increasy you chances to win greatly. A blackjack no deposit bonus can make your game free which will let you learn and grow your skills.

Think about others

Other players are your opponents in the game, but they are not your enemies. You cannot treat them with disrespect; there must be no abuse, offenses, or anything like that during the game. Blackjack is the game for ladies and gentlemen, it is the sophisticated game of decisions. Respect for other players and dealers, no matter what happens during the game, is a must.

Don Johnson

Don Johnson

Game Expert, Blackjack

Don used to work in Vegas. Now just work. He was a dealer in the top Vegas casinos for 4 years before joining us. Any card game you can think of Don can play. When we say play, we mean win. A total ace in our deck, Don will make your Blackjack experience unforgettable.
Mail: [email protected]


Is blackjack the best, most profitable game for a player?

In short, users who play online, as well as players who play offline have the best odds. The house edge is usually just 1%.

Is there any 100% correct strategy to play blackjack?

The basic blackjack strategy may be considered the “correct strategy” because it is simple, safe, and even obvious. According to it, if you have a lot of points, 20, to be exact, you will not hit. If you have a few points, for example, 5, you will not stand. As for all other strategies, that may work for some players and be absolutely poor for other ones. There is no strategy that would allow you to win all the time.

What are Las Vegas rules, and how are they different from classic blackjack rules?

In Vegas, two versions of blackjack are played the most frequently. They are the double-deck 21 and the multiple decks 21. As for the special rules, here are the most important requirements and nuances: you can double down, re-split, a dealer can hit a soft 17, you can use insurance.

What is the most important thing to consider to win in blackjack?

There is no single strategy that would allow you to win every time you play blackjack or another game. There are some strategies you can use, and some of them are described in the article, but there are different situations, different types of blackjack, so we cannot say that one of these strategies is better than other ones. Just choose your favorite method and never forget about money management – these are the most important things when it comes to blackjack.

Should I play a single deck or multi-deck blackjack?

It is up to you. It is considered that the single deck version of blackjack is slightly better, in particular, because it is easier to understand what cards were discarded. However, casinos provide players with an opportunity to enjoy multi-deck games and set good conditions and reasonable rules. What is more important for you? Make your decision.
On the other hand, finding player-friendly conditions and good rules in multi-deck shoes is much easier. Therefore, single and double-deck games have an inherent advantage over multi-deck games, but they are also easily manipulated to the casino’s benefit.

What should I consider when choosing a variation of blackjack?

Well, that depends on your priorities and plans, in particular, on the strategy you are going to use. Try to learn everything about the variations of blackjack offered in a reputable casino and make your choice considering the strategy you are going to use.

Can you “hack” the game?

There is no single blackjack strategy that would work all the time. You need to develop the skill, learn to count automatically or almost automatically, learn all the combinations, choose the strategy that works for you by trial and error. You cannot find a method that would bring you a lot of money at once, but you can become an experienced gambler and regularly win if you are lucky and skilled enough.

What is the best card counting technique?

There is no perfect optimal strategy that, along with the hand chart and basic table would allow you to win all the time. Moreover, none of them can provide you with the 100% accurate, right recommendation on the actions you need to take in a particular situation. The basic system is good enough, like plus-minus count and true count, as well as many other less common blackjack count techniques.

Do I cheat when I count?

You are not exactly cheating. We would say that you are violating an unwritten rule that is very profitable for a casino. Moreover, even if you play in a land-based casino but if you are experienced enough, and play a one-deck version of blackjack (it is much easier to count when playing it), someone will hardly notice this. Still, you should not show this when you are offline. It is much easier to do this when playing online, even if you are playing in live mode.

Should I use insurance?

No, you should not, at least if you use the basic strategy. Experienced gamblers note that only beginners usually use it, but it doesn’t make much sense.

Any other blackjack tips?

Always think about the current situation. Ignoring the circumstances and relying on certain tactics, counting, secret betting, whatever, may lead to bad consequences. It is a game of skill and a chance – after all, every game is random to some extent, so make reasonable decisions.