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Blackjack is a game of skill and strategy, not simply chance. Unlike any other casino game, in Blackjack it’s possible to boost the odds in your favour by using certain playing and betting techniques.

Basic Strategy

Basic Blackjack strategy is a set of rules for different types of hands, which advise when to hit, stand, split or double down to maximize your chances of winning.

In Blackjack, the dealer is bound by the rules of play: The dealer must stand on 17, continue to draw if a hand is less than 17, and stand when the total is from 17 to 21.

Unlike the dealer, a player has the freedom to decide what to do with every hand. In order to increase the odds of winning, players can follow something called “basic strategy”.


If you learn basic strategy, you’ll always know the right move in Blackjack.

Doubling down

In blackjack, if you believe your hand has a good chance of beating the dealer, you can “double down” your bet.

To double down, you increase your bet by 100%. When you do, you are only allowed to take one more card to try and make a winning hand – no more.

When should you double down? With a hard hand of 8, 9, 10, and 11, and a soft hand of 13 (A-2) through 18 (A-7).

Two sets of cards: one with a 3 of spades and a 5 of hearts; the other with a 3 of hearts and a Jack of spades.


In blackjack, if a player is dealt a pair of identically ranked initial cards, known as a pair, they are allowed to split them into separate hands.

If you split, you are dealt two more cards – one for each new hand – and you must also double your bet – one for each hand.

When do you split? The key rules are: with pairs, aces and eights, always split. With tens and fives, never split.

Cue Cards

Holding up a basic strategy cue card.

While basic strategy is easy to learn, it can be difficult to remember. It's perfectly acceptable to use a basic strategy "cue" card while you play. Get the basic strategy card here.

Four Strategies to Avoid

Many players think there are other strategies that will help them beat the odds. Here’s the inside scoop.

Learn more about other strategies