Basic blackjack strategy with charts

TigerGaming Poker 100% up To $1000 Welcome Bonus

Should you ‘hit’ when dealt a hand of ‘17’? Do you know when to split, double down or surrender? Take your decision-making skills to the next level with our basic blackjack strategy.

Basic blackjack strategy is derived from computer simulations, which have determined the best blackjack play in every possible situation. And at William Hill, we’ve turned this data into simple blackjack strategy charts for both single-deck and 4-8 deck versions of the game – to help you decide how to play any blackjack hand.

Play blackjack with William Hill

Split Pairs

  • When your first two cards have the same value (e.g. two 7s), you can choose to ‘split’ them into two separate hands. Your original bet goes on one of the pairs, and you must stake an equal amount on the other hand.
  • Once split, you must play your leftmost hand first, by hitting or standing one or more times. Then the hand to the right is played likewise.
  • The outcome of each hand is treated separately. When you split a pair of aces, you’ll be dealt one more card for each ace, and may not draw further cards.

Doubling Down

  • If you have an original two-card hand totalling 9, 10, or 11, you have the option of doubling your bet. When your turn arrives, simply place a bet which equals your original bet, and you’ll be dealt one additional card.
  • This card is left face down and must not be turned over until the betting is settled. (Please note: doubling down can sometimes be played with the card facing up).
  • When a hand consists of a pair of 5s, you can choose to split the pair, double down as described, or simply play out the hand as normal.
  • Remember, the dealer cannot split or double down.


  • If the house permits players to surrender, you can choose to fold your original hand before drawing any extra cards. When this happens, half of your original bet is returned, and those cards are withdrawn from that play.
  • Not all tables will allow a surrender – so always check the table rules. In a live game, players can indicate they want to surrender by running a finger across the table behind their bet. Online games with this option will display a surrender button.
  • Remember that once a surrender is actioned, you’ll no longer be able to take part in the hand – even if the dealer goes bust.


If the dealer’s own face-up card is an ace, any players at the table can take up a side bet for up to half the amount of their original stake. This bet predicts the dealer’s remaining face-down card will score 10 – resulting in a house blackjack.

  • The dealer waits until all these side bets are placed before revealing the final card. If this turns out to be a 10 card, players who made an insurance bet are paid out at twice the amount of their own half-bet, which represents a 2 to 1 payout.
  • Once a dealer blackjack occurs, the hand is finished, and all the main table bets are collected. However, if another player also has a blackjack, this results in a stand-off.
  • Insurance probability – sometimes taking the insurance bet might not be a good option. To play this side bet, you have to be confident that there are still a high number of 10 cards left in the pack.

Hit or Stand

  • ‘Hit’ is used to request a new card. Ask for a hit when you believe an extra card will take you closer to the optimum blackjack score of 21.
  • ‘Stand’ is used to indicate you want to draw no more cards, when you feel confident the cards you already possess will better the dealer’s score.
  • Knowing when to hit or stand is one of the trickiest parts of blackjack. If your hand exceeds 21, that hand is ‘bust’ – meaning you can no longer win that round.

Play blackjack with William Hill

Single deck blackjack basic strategy charts

The following charts are based on statistical calculations for single-deck blackjack, and present you with the smartest mathematical choice. However, they will not entirely eliminate the element of chance.

The chart layouts track the total for your hand on the vertical column to the left, against the dealer’s own face-up card which is recorded horizontally on the top row. Check where those rows and columns meet to discover the best strategic option for that particular play.

Play blackjack with William Hill

Hard hands and soft hands

In blackjack, an ace can be counted as both 1 and 11. A ‘hard hand’ doesn’t contain an ace, and so only has one possible value, i.e. a ‘hard total’. For example, a 10, 7 hand can only be worth ‘17’ (note: this is known as a ‘hard 17’ – see our tips for this hand below).

Equally, a ‘soft hand’ is a hand that contains an ace, meaning it has two possible values, i.e. a ‘soft total’. For example, an A, 6 hand is a ‘soft 17’, with a value counted as 7 or 17, meaning there’s no risk of busting if the player chooses to ‘hit’.

Please note: whether the dealer must hit or stand on a ‘soft 17’ is known as the ‘Soft 17 Rule’, and can vary in every blackjack game, impacting the house edge and your basic blackjack strategy. Always check the rules before you play.

Dealer must hit on soft 17

This is known as a ‘H17’ game – and is the most common rule variation for blackjack.

In this rule, the dealer must hit on a soft 17 – increasing their chances of making a better hand between 18 and 21, therefore slightly increasing the house edge.

Dealer must stand on soft 17

This is known as an ‘S17’ game. While the dealer can’t bust on a soft 17, they also can’t improve their hand – which decreases the house edge by about 0.2%.

4–8 deck blackjack basic strategy charts

Like the ‘Soft 17 Rule’, basic blackjack strategy is also affected by the number of decks used in a blackjack game. Multi-deck blackjack, also known as 4-8 deck blackjack, is the most common way to play blackjack today – with 6-deck being the most popular variant.

The following charts are based on statistical calculations for 4-8-deck blackjack:

How to memorise a blackjack strategy

What separates basic and perfect blackjack strategy? Practice, practice, practice.

Don’t worry about memorising everything right away. With the help of this strategy guide, you’re already well on your way to understanding basic blackjack strategy. Try to learn one chart at a time – and the more you practice, the more you’ll commit these strategies to memory.

Here are some tips for memorising basic blackjack strategy:

  • Prepare flashcards that test different player hand totals, with the best blackjack strategy shown on the reverse. Test yourself after one day, one week and one month to see if it sticks – a process known as spaced repetition system (SRS).
  • Try to recreate our blackjack strategy charts from memory – picture the patterns, colours, and abbreviations – and think about what strategies make sense.
  • We all have unique ways of learning, but the best way to pick up strategy is simply to play. Start out with small bet amounts to get to grips with the game.

Remember, you only need to invest a small amount of time to start maximising your enjoyment of blackjack.

Play blackjack with William Hill

Tips for playing blackjack

The 10s Rule

Ten-cards are extremely common in a blackjack deck. So it’s reasonable to conclude every upcoming card, including the dealer’s hole (face-down) card, will have a value of 10.

Don’t split 5s or 10s

If you split 5s, you’ll be stuck with two low totals. Instead, a hit will take you to a safer area where you won’t go bust. Meanwhile, splitting two 10s will drastically reduce your chances of a winning hand. Keep them together as a 20 – that’s a tough score to beat.

Do split aces and 8s

Split aces means two separate attempts at landing a blackjack. Meanwhile, a ‘hard 16’ is a poor total, so split your 8s knowing that you won’t go bust with your first hit.

Hit on a hard 16

It’s hard to salvage a win on 16, unless the dealer goes bust. The best advice is to ‘hit and hope’ that you turn up a 5 – or surrender versus a dealer’s 9, 10 or ace, if possible.

Always hit on a soft 17

You can’t go bust with a score of soft 17, so it’s worth being more aggressive with a hit. In fact, there’s a very reasonable chance of ending up with 21.

Be wary of a hard 17

A score of 17 is fairly low but it’s remarkably easy to go bust, so we recommend standing. Unless your dealer’s up card is between 3 and 6, there’s only a slight chance of a win.

Doubling down can be risky

Because you’ll only receive one further card, you should only double down if you hold:

  • A total of 11, while the dealer’s up card is anything other than an ace or a face card.
  • A total of 10, while the dealer’s up card is anything other than an ace, a face card, or a 10.
  • A total of 9, while the dealer’s up card is anything between 3 and 7.

Ready to put your basic blackjack strategy to the test? Play blackjack with William Hill.


The post Basic blackjack strategy with charts appeared first on Play Store Casino.

Wild Casino - Welcome Crypto Package Up To $9,000