Blackjack Strategy | Rules for Single-Deck Games

Learning blackjack strategy is very important. For better winning chances, knowing the basic strategy is a must. This blackjack strategy tells what actions to take given certain cards in order to bring house advantage down from around 5% to 0.5%.

The basic blackjack strategy depends on how many decks are used in a casino. There is a set of rules used for a single-deck card game, and another set of rules for multiple-deck games.

What a player should remember is that the rules need to be followed exactly as listed below. It is possible to predict an outcome based on a dealer's upcard and a player's cards. Even if he thinks that it does not improve his winning chances, he must remember that the basic strategy rules were created based on a simulation of millions of game hands. The only advisable time to deviate from the basic strategy is when a player is counting cards. Even then, card counting experts still find it advantageous to consider the basic strategy rules in most of their game decisions.

Here are the basic strategy rules for a single-deck blackjack game which does not allow a doubling down after splitting a pair:

  • If a player has a total of 8 in his hands, he should double if the dealer has 5 thru 6. Otherwise hit.
  • If a player has 9, he should double if the dealer has 2 thru 6. Otherwise hit.
  • For a 10, double on 2 thru 9. Otherwise hit.
  • For a total of 11, always double.
  • For 12, stand on 4 thru 6. Otherwise hit.
  • For card totals 13 thru 16, stand if the dealer has 2 thru 6. Otherwise hit.
  • For 17 thru 21, always stand.
  • For A2 thru A5, a player must double down if a dealer has 4 thru 6. Otherwise hit.
  • For A6, double down against 2 thru 6. Otherwise hit.
  • For A7, double down against 3 thru 6. If a dealer has 2, 7-8, A, hit on 9, 10.
  • For A8, double vs. a dealer's 6. Otherwise stand.
  • For A9, always stand.
  • For AA, always split.
  • For 2-2, split on a dealer's 3 thru 7. Otherwise hit.
  • For 3-3, split on 4 thru 7. Otherwise hit.
  • For 4-4, double down on 5 thru 6. Otherwise hit.
  • For 5-5, double on 2 thru 9. Otherwise hit.
  • For 6-6, split on 2 thru 6. Otherwise hit.
  • For 7-7, split on 2 thru 7, stand on a 10. Otherwise hit.
  • For 8-8, always split.
  • For 9-9, split on 2 thru 9 (except 7). Stand on a 7, 10, A.
  • For 10-10, always stand.