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Basic Live Blackjack Strategy; Introduction to the Best!

It is crucial to understand the basic live blackjack strategy if you want to become a blackjack master. Relying solely on your intuition and luck is not a wise move, as it is an approach for amateurs. By utilizing a blackjack strategy, you can reduce the casino's home advantage to one percent or even lower. In this blog, we will outline some essential aspects of the live blackjack strategy.

Step 1: Learn the basic live blackjack strategy rules

basic live blackjack strategy screenshotYou can learn the basic live blackjack strategy by using a small set of rules. Rules that explain what choice you should make if you face a certain combination of the cards in your hand and the open dealer card:

    • When do you stand or hit? If the dealer card is in the range from 2 to 6, you stand at 12 points or more. If the dealer has 7-A, you only stand at 17 or higher. This rule only applies if you don’t have an Ace that can be used in a ‘soft hand’.
    • So, what do you do if your hand contains such a soft hand, Ace? In that case, you can hit more often. If the dealer has 2-6, you stand at 18 or higher. With a dealer card 7-A you only stand with 19 or more points. The rationale behind this approach is that you use the Ace for 11 points with a so-called soft hand but can always ‘switch back’ to Ace=1, reducing the ‘bust risk’.
    • When to Double Down? You Double Down at 9 points if the dealer card is in the range 2-6. Double Down at 10 or 11 points is recommended when the dealer card is 2-9. Doubling Down at 9, 10 or 11 are often the only allowed options in traditional ‘brick and mortar’ casinos. In online casinos, you often have more freedom to Double Down. In that case, we recommend a DD when you have an Ace with 5, 6, or 7 while the dealer has 2-6.
    • Also for the split option there are clear blackjack strategy guidelines: Never split with double 4, 5 or 10. Always split at 8-8 and Ace-Ace. If you have 2-2, 3-3, 6-6, 7-7 or 9-9, you only split when the dealer card is 2-6.

Never use insurance or even money.

There are two options in blackjack, often discussed on the internet. However, they shouldn’t be used at all, in our opinion:

    • Insurance is a side bet, which is a warning because side bets are often not a smart bet to play. The insurance bet can be activated if the dealer card is an Ace. With the dealer having an Ace, there is always a substantial risk for a dealer's blackjack. Insurance allows you to bet on such a dealer blackjack with a 2:1 payout. So, if the dealer has blackjack, you lose your main bet but compensate for this loss with your winning insurance side bet. If not, you lose the insurance bet but can continue your round of blackjack. However, if you ‘do the math,’ the calculations prove that, on average, this costs you money. So, never use insurance.
    • The same applies to real money blackjack. This side bet also offers a kind of insurance. It can be used in some casinos if you have a natural blackjack while the dealer has an Ace. In that case there is a big risk for a push. In the end, this option is not recommended by the experts.

Train your memory to win big!

The basic live blackjack strategy is easy to understand. With just a bit of training your memory, you'll master this strategy in no time. Although the basic live Blackjack strategy is used a lot in casinos, there are still tons of players out there who don't benefit from its potential.

There are many strategies, but keep it simple.

Applying the basic blackjack strategy in live casinos gives you an advantage over the house edge. The casino is aware but there is nothing they can do to prevent you form upping your ante!



Blackjack – did you know?

  • Blackjack originated in France!
  • The hand adding up to 16 is the one you do not want to get!!
  • The “shoe”was invented in Cuba around the 1950's 
  • A total of 21 is not always a “Blackjack”. Only a ten (or face) and Ace are a Blackjack!
  • – Like James Bond is into roulette, Napoleon loved to play this famous French cardgame


“It's not about the cards you're dealt, but how you play the hand…”

Step 2: Use a blackjack strategy scheme

Although the aforementioned set of basic live blackjack strategy rules already lowers the casino advantage to around one per cent, you can optimize your gameplay by using detailed blackjack schemes. In such a blackjack strategy scheme, you will find the best decision (hit, stand, split, double down) for each individual combination of your own hand and a dealer card.

Even more, different schemes are available for different casino rules since there are often small differences between the rules regarding when the dealer must hit, stand, etc.

There are even different schemes depending on the number of decks used since this may also impact the chances of certain player hand and dealer card combinations. If you use detailed schemes, it is important to verify that you use the right strategy scheme that fits your specific live blackjack variant.

Never mimic the dealer.

Some new live blackjack players think that learning a basic live blackjack strategy is a waste of time. They know that the casino dealer must always play the game following a set of predefined casino rules and think that just copying this approach will work for them as well:

“If it works for the casino, it will work for me” (the strategy of a ‘mimic the dealer’ fan)

This approach is based on a big mistake. An understandable mistake but still a fault. They forget that the casino advantage in blackjack is not caused by the dealer rules but by the fact that the dealer only plays after the player.

Unfortunately, there are many scenarios where the player busts. If, in that case, the dealer plays as well, there is a chance he busts as well, and the game ends in a push. However, this is never the case in real life.

As soon as the player busts, the game is over, and he loses his money, regardless of the quality of the dealer cards. So, even copying the dealer's behaviour will never give you this advantage. Mimicking the dealer is a losing basic live blackjack strategy.

Or ignore the basic live blackjack strategy rules?

If you think that it is tedious to learn the rules and there is not so much difference in the overall result if you play by intuition, it is worthwhile to review some typical mistakes and their financial impact on your RTP:

  • When you stand with 16 while the dealer card is an Ace, your RTP drops by 15% on average. If you stand at 16 with the dealer card being 7, your RTP loss is still around 7%.
  • If you have double 10 and decide not to Double Down while the dealer has an Ace, the negative effect on your RTP is approximately 8%.

These are just two examples (out of many) that show how important the basic live blackjack strategy is. Without using a blackjack strategy, you will have a seriously reduced RTP. While blackjack with a strategy can be one of the most profitable games with RTPs above 99%.

Note that there will always be a casino house advantage, but in this case, it approaches zero. If you start to learn card counting, you may, in theory, even raise your RTP above 100%. However, any professional casino nowadays reshuffles the cards before card counting becomes profitable.

Learn from the casino.

It's interesting to realize that you also receive a lot of helpful information from your online live casino. Many online and live casinos share all the hands you played, so you can easily review them to check if you applied the basic live blackjack strategy rules correctly.

In addition, casinos publish the RTP of all different live blackjack variants they offer. For example, Blackjack Lucky Pair offers an RTP of 99,49% at a certain casino. Other games offer a different RTP.

Blackjack Lucky Seven offers 99.17%, and with Blackjack Surrender 2:1, you can achieve 99,26%. Selecting the blackjack version with the best RTP and finding their optimised strategy scheme could deliver you an RTP that approaches 100%. Good luck!

Choose your best Blackjack casino and apply the basic live Blackjack strategy to your advantage. If we can make it work, you can for sure!

Below, you will find the top 4 online casinos as we reviewed them in Spring 2024. You will definitely have a great time at one (or several) of them. Enjoy your game and don't forget to use the basic live Blackjack strategy!