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What is the best Blackjack strategy?

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All players starting to play on 21 tables in Las Vegas or at online casinos are always searching for the same thing: What is the best Blackjack strategy? Professional players and experienced BJ players know that the magic formula to win money in an easy way doesn't exist. I always like to say that "context is everything" as your gameplay strategy will change depending on several factors including the number of decks, table payout rate, minimum bet, your current hand, and many other things.

When you start to play Blackjack at Las Vegas casinos you will notice the massive variation of tables and also those high-limit tables for players willing to toss $500, $1,000, $5,000 chips per hand. While at online casinos, everything is more friendly and you can find easily a good table for you.

Today, at online casinos you can play live Blackjack just like in Las Vegas. The BJ tables are located in real casinos and in casino studios and use high definition cameras to stream a Blackjack game for mobile, tablet, or computer. Your mission is to find a fair 21 table that can offer you a fair payout so you can use a Blackjack basic strategy to learn more about the game and improve your gameplay skills.

Blackjack strategy

Blackjack Games in Las Vegas Casinos

In Las Vegas, especially in casinos located on the Strip Boulevard, there is a sea of Blackjack tables with the sign 6:5. This means you will get the worst payout, but the massive amount of tourists don't understand this 6:5 mark on tables, and keep throwing their money to the casino.

All big and famous casinos like Bellagio, Venetian, Caesars Palace, Aria, Cosmopolitan, and others in the same style are doing this. We can say they offer Blackjack tables for tourists and hidden Blackjack tables for real players or high rollers.

For a regular player or tourist to have a better advantage on 21 tables, some casinos in Fremont Street could be the best option. For example, El Cortez Hotel Casino downtown has a $5 single deck, 3:2 game but sure, tourists want to see the leviathans in the Strip Blvd. Check the Blackjack tables at El Cortez Hotel Casino:

  • 3:2 Payoffs
  • $5 minimums – Single Deck BJ
  • $25-$1,000 Single Deck Blackjack
  • Double Deck – Dealt face-up out of a shoe

  • Royal Match – Single Deck:
  • 3X bet on suited pairs
  • 10X on suited K,Q

  • Royal Match – Double Deck:
  • 2.5X bet on suited pairs
  • 25X bet on suited K,Q

  • To better explain you, if you play a Blackjack advertising 3:2 game, you will bet $10 and win $15, while in a 6:5 game you will bet $10 and win $12.

    Blackjack strategy

    Online Blackjack Games

    Saying online Blackjack sounds weird now as almost all online casinos offer live Blackjack tables. If you play Blackjack online at legal online casinos like Blackjack Ballroom Casino, you will have trusted and audited information about the table prior to tossing your chips there. That's why only recommends a few, but the best, online casinos.

    The strategy to find the best Blackjack table is exactly the same as finding a 21 table at Las Vegas casinos. Check the number of decks and payout. This is part of a really basic strategy to play Blackjack tables in a fair way, where you can have a better chance to beat the dealer.

    You can play live Blackjack or the online version of the game (which is a little bit dated now, IMO). If you don't like to play live Blackjack and also don't like the online static version of the game, a good option would be playing the virtual dealer Blackjack. I'm talking about Blackjack's basic strategy here to start my sequence on BJ articles.

    Blackjack strategy
    Most of trusted online casinos offers 3:2 Blackjack

    Be realistic about Blackjack Strategies

    Going beyond the basic strategy to play on Blackjack tables, you will see everything when it comes to tips to win on Blackjack. There are a lot of content out there explaining that single-deck Blackjack online and at Vegas casino is important to decrease the casino edge. Some of them also claim to be a good idea the old strategy applied in Roulette games which is double your bet after each round with no wins. Will it work on live Blackjack tables?

    Probably in online Blackjack, you will feel more comfortable to test this kind of basic strategy. You will read everything you can imagine, but the truth is that only you can find the perfect Blackjack strategy that works for you on 21 tables. Use the basic and advanced strategies, but you know that it will only work in the context of the game. Nothing is static. Everything is dynamic on tables. There are also players which always HIT on 17, believe it or not. Wait... Hit on 17?

    Hit on 17?

    Do You Love Blackjack? Learn the Baltic Board game that can Save Your 'tush'!

    I confess to being unforgivably optimistic! When I discovered that multiple casinos would hand me 'free money' as an incentive to play Blackjack, I factored this information in as 'proof' that, if not actually 'special', I was at least among those truly blessed. All had come easily to me in life so why would I be surprised at free money and the excitement of using it to create an expected 'triumph' over evil casinos?

    Armed with Basic Strategy instilled by Revere and Thorpe, buttressed by many successful sessions from Winnemucca to Reno and, lest we forget, a 'counting' course at the University of Washington Experimental College, I approached online gaming fearlessly. I doubled down when instructed, split aces and eights every time, never split tens, fours, fives …..or nines against a seven, and courageously hit sixteen when the dealer had a seven through ace. With the help of the 'free money', I won!

    Playing without the benefit of bonus money I usually lost but, due to strict adherence to the rules of Basic Strategy, I lost very little!

    Whenever I play a land-based casino, I inevitably play next to someone who, if confronted by the term Basic Strategy, would define it as a Baltic board game! Very recently, I played next to a seemingly bright man who consistently hit 17 regardless of what the dealer had showing. When I asked him if he thought it 'wise' to hit such a high hand he said 'yes' because the dealer almost always had eighteen or more. Struck dumb by the intelligence of his answer, I watched as he began hitting not just seventeen, but eighteen!

    If this caliber of player exists in establishments where help is easily attainable from both players and dealers, imagine the incredible numbers virtually giving away their money online!

    If someone you cared about, who truly enjoyed life and 'great risk', was trying to decide whether to play Russian Roulette with 'one' bullet or 'five' bullets, would you tell them the proper number? Of course, you would!

    PLEASE! If you play this most popular of casino games and you have never read a book that explains $$$$Basic Strategy$$$$, buy one and read it! If you know someone who plays Blackjack online or in brick and mortar casinos, ask them if they 'know' Basic Strategy! If the answer is 'no', urge them to buy a book, download it from the Internet or have a knowledgeable friend teach them. To play Blackjack, not possessing this incredibly valuable information will eventually deprive one's heirs of what rightfully should belong to them.


    Some questions to Mark Pilarski:

    Dealers Do Bust, Really! ...With A Little Help From You

    "When the dealer is showing a bust card (2, 3, 4, 5, 6), how often does she really bust?"

    Dan A.

    Never, as in "When I'm playing, they never bust." overstates it, Dan, though we've all had that feeling. But they do bust, as often as 43% of the time when a six is showing. Success at blackjack, Dan, is based on how you play your hand against the dealer's upcard.

    The upcard provides you with enough information to reliably predict the most likely outcome of play against any dealer's hand, based on the makeup of a standard deck of playing cards. A multitude of computer studies have been done on the game of blackjack, analyzing the correct strategy on playing your hand, against any given dealer's upcard.

    Because the dealer plays by a set of strict house rules on when to stand or when to take a card, she must draw a card until she has a total of 17 or more. Based on computers crunching their diet of 1s and 0s, the dealer will bust more often when her upcard is a 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, and she will successfully complete more hands when her up card is a 7, 8, 9, or a 10-value card (10, J, Q, K) or an ace.

    The following table, Dan, shows the dealer's likelihood of busting with any particular upcard.

    Percent of the time she'll bust


    Note, Dan, that the dealer will bust most often when she has a 5 or a 6 as her upcard, and she will bust the least frequently, approximately 11% of the time, when her upcard is an ace.

    Generally speaking, basic strategy dictates it is to your advantage to stand down when the dealer's upcard is a 2 through 6, then hope, wish and pray, as we all do, that your femme fatale of fate draws a 10-value card that makes her bust. (Yes, I know there's a pun in there somewhere, but I'm avoiding it.)

    It also means that when the dealer's upcard is 7 through ace, she will complete more of her hands. In that situation, you will need to draw cards up to a total of 17 or more.

    "In blackjack, is it true that the biggest jump in the casino edge is when you move from one to two decks, and with each additional deck, the house edge is less dramatic?"

    Sam B.

    You are correct, Sam. It is always to your advantage to play against as few decks as possible. With respect to deck sizes, the casino edge goes up substantially as you go from 1 deck to 2, tapers off when you go from 2 to 6 decks, and is negligible when you go from a 6 to 8-deck shoe.

    Casino edge:
    Two decks -0.35%
    Four decks -0.48%
    Six decks -0.48%
    Eight decks -0.56%

    You can offset this casino advantage by finding player-friendly rules where surrender is allowed, as is doubling down after splitting pairs, and re-splitting aces.

    Improvement in your winning chance:
    Double after split +0.14%
    Early surrender +0.70%
    Late surrender +0.06%
    Resplit Aces +0.14%
    Double anytime +0.24%

    Or how about this gem I haven't seen in a blue moon: A Natural paying 2 to 1. Your expected win rate goes up +2.3% with this beauty.

    Bottom line: Smart players always know enough to take advantage of favorable playing conditions and to sniff out and shun the unfavorable ones. Which type of player are you? Unfair question, but what the heck?


    If you want to play live Blackjack to improve your skills and test your strategies, you can visit my free Blackjack games through the free games link in the top menu. There you will have instant-play games to play on a mobile, tablet, or computer with no deposit and no sign up required.

    You will find different versions of Blackjack including Blackjack Switch, Progressive Blackjack, and many more. Check below this blog post an easy guide to help you to understand how to play Blackjack. It is my previous blog post (check below).

    You can also explore our growing variety of content about Blackjack here at and keep updated on all new posts I will be uploading here. I will write about strategies, promotions, tournaments, and many more.

    Last update: 28 March 2023

    Author: Alex Ramos

    Alex Ramos

    Author Bio: Alex Ramos is a casino specialist that reviews online gambling sites and games. A professional and independent blogger not linked to any casino corporate media or association. Alex dedicates its career for online casinos and online entertainment. He is graduated in Computing Science and is working in the online gambling industry since 1997.

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