Basic strategy is the best possible way to play blackjack, either online or at a land-based casino. Strategies have been created with the help of statistical probabilities in order to calculate the best possible move under any kind of game circumstance, taking into account both the cards that you have been dealt and those which the Dealer holds. These basics will help you improve your game, and increase your chances of success:
You should always Split Aces. Although you may only receive 1 further card on both of your Aces, 11 is a very strong starting number, so strong that even the limitation of only receiving 1 further card still makes Splitting the best decision.
Taking Insurance is never really advised –it would be more profitable over the long-term to risk your initial stake than to protect it against a Dealer hitting a Blackjack.
Doubling-Down is probably the best way of reducing the house edge for Blackjack.
Doubling your stake puts you in a very strong position, allowing you to capitalise on this and turn the balance away from the Dealer.
As a general rule of thumb, always Double-Down on 11, except when you are playing against an Ace, and you should also Double-Down on a 10, as well as a 5-5, unless you are facing an Ace or a Dealer’s 10.
Double-Down on 9 against a Dealer’s 3, 4, 5, and 6, and, while some online black jack tables may restrict Doubling to 9, 10, and 11, there are some Double-Down rules you should always follow if you can. If this is not possible, then you should Hit, apart from those situations in which it is recommended that you Stand: when you have a Soft 18 and the Dealer has either a 3, a 4, a 5, or a 6.
The Surrender has been put in place in order to allow you to escape from a very unfavourable position in which neither Hitting or Standing is likely to save you. In these exceptional circumstances, Surrendering your hand and Sacrificing half of your Stake will result in a smaller loss in the long-term. The only time that basic strategy recommends that you Surrender is when you have a Hard-15 and the Dealer has a 10, or when you have a Hard 16 and the Dealer has either a 9, a 10, or an Ace. If you are not able to surrender, then you should Hit.
Many blackjack games allow for you to place Side Bets if you wish to, and these will operate independently but alongside your normal Hand. The 2 most common Side Bets are Perfect Pairs and Luck Lucky, however there are many different options available, varying from casino to casino. Some casinos even have special Side Bets that you can only make use of when playing the game at their site. Generally, however, taking these is not recommended, since they almost never offer you extra value, and push the house edge much higher than it would be in a normal game.