A game with simple fundamental rules, blackjack takes a lot of time and effort to master. One of the biggest aspects of this is learning how to use blackjack strategies. If you want to see long-term success in blackjack, using a strategy is a must.
That said, there’s a lot to consider when picking the best strategy. There are many different blackjack strategies, and not all of them work well with each other. In this guide, we’ve covered everything you need to know when choosing a blackjack strategy.
Betting Strategies for Blackjack
A blackjack betting strategy is a system you use to place bets in an organized and systematic manner. It enables you to bet methodically and efficiently instead of spontaneously and emotionally. There are three main types of blackjack betting strategies:
- Flat betting
- Positive progression betting
- Negative progression betting
⭐ Playing Perfect Blackjack
The way you play blackjack has a direct input on how successful you are in the game. That’s why, to have the best long-term results, you need to play optimally. To do so, you can use a blackjack chart.
A blackjack chart is an invaluable tool that can help you play the game perfectly. It includes the best possible decisions you can make for each scenario. A blackjack chart tells you when to hit, stand, split, surrender, or double down.
Blackjack charts are complex tables with many columns and rows. In order to master the art of quickly reading the chart while playing, you need to play the game for many hours. That said, learning to decipher all of this data is worthwhile. It will bring your game as close to perfect as possible.
The Best Blackjack Strategies
There are many blackjack betting strategies available today, and it’s impossible to single any one of them as the best one. This is because this mainly depends on the context they’re used in.
All of the blackjack strategies we’ll cover in this guide work. However, the extent to which they work depends on the specific game you play and your playing preferences. Not all blackjack players have the same gambling taste or budget. So, to pick the best blackjack strategy, you first need to pick a blackjack variation that suits you best.
Choosing the Best Blackjack Game for Your Strategy
Choosing the right blackjack game is only part of the equation. You also need to learn all the blackjack rules for the version you choose to play. The game should fit your preferences and be compatible with the strategy of your choosing. Here are some of the best blackjack games you can find in online and land-based casinos:
⭐ American Blackjack
In American blackjack, the dealer receives two cards. One card is face up, while the other is face down. In this variation, you can take insurance if the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace. Players can only double down on any two cards, not just on those valued between 9 and 11.
American blackjack also has many subtype games. The variations can have slightly different rules that can directly impact your strategy. Because of this, make sure to thoroughly understand the specific American blackjack game before trying to combine it with a strategy.
⭐ European Blackjack
The rules of European blackjack are similar to those of the standard game, but with a few notable differences. Firstly, the dealer in European blackjack receives only one card at the beginning of the game, instead of the usual two cards. Players can only double down on a hand with a value of 9, 10, or 11.
Secondly, players are not allowed to surrender in European blackjack. In other words, they must play out their hand to the end. European blackjack can be played with a basic blackjack strategy. You can use standard European blackjack charts.
⭐ Pontoon Blackjack
Pontoon is a unique blackjack variation with a set of unusual rules. For starters, players are forced to hit on a hand worth 14 or under. A two-card 21 is called pontoon instead of blackjack. The dealer wins all ties. You can double down at any point in the round.
Additionally, dealer’s cards are always face down. Because you don’t have to account for the dealer’s cards, pontoon has a simple and easy-to-learn strategy. However, the strategy is also drastically different than with most blackjack variations.
If you want a change from standard blackjack rules, this game is worth trying. Just be sure to learn all the specifics regarding the game’s strategy.
⭐ Double Exposure Blackjack
Double Exposure Blackjack is an interesting and unique variation of the traditional blackjack game, in which both of the dealer’s cards are exposed face up. This gives players an advantage, as they can make more informed decisions about how to play their hand.
However, to offset this advantage, there are a few rule changes in Double Exposure Blackjack. Firstly, the dealer wins all ties except for a tied blackjack, which is a push. Additionally, blackjack pays even money. Lastly, you’re allowed to split only once.
Despite these rule changes, Double Exposure Blackjack is still a popular game among players who enjoy the added challenge and strategic options that it offers. You can use a Double Exposure Blackjack chart and combine the game with the most common blackjack strategies for betting optimally.
⭐ Lightning Blackjack
Lightning Blackjack is a game variant made by the casino provider Evolution Gaming. It is based on conventional rules but includes a few specifics. The most substantial one is the multiplier feature. The game includes random multipliers that depend on your winning total. When you win a hand, the next hand you play will include a multiplier.
You can’t use a conventional blackjack strategy for this variation, and there’s still no standardized strategy for the game that all players agree on. Because of this, it’s best to avoid this game if your primary goal is to play blackjack according to an optimal and proven strategy.
Also note that you can only play this version of blackjack at online casinos, as there is no equivalent at land-based casinos.
⭐ Single Deck Blackjack
Single-deck blackjack is the most basic variation of this card game. All the standard blackjack rules apply, and the payout for a blackjack hand is 3:2. Only one deck of cards is used. Single-deck blackjack is difficult to find in casinos nowadays, as most variations use multiple decks.
Because of its basic and standard features, you can play single-deck blackjack with a basic blackjack strategy. All you need is a blackjack chart. Plus, avoid taking insurance, as it needlessly raises the house edge.
⭐ Blackjack Switch
Blackjack Switch is based on standard blackjack, but has one key distinction. Instead of receiving one hand, each position receives two hands. Additionally, you are allowed to switch the top two cards between the two hands.
Natural blackjacks pay 1:1, instead of the standard 3:2. Additionally, a dealer’s hand that’s worth 22 pushes against a player’s total of 21 or less. The only exception is if you have a blackjack hand. The dealer hits on a soft 17 in most Blackjack Switch games.
The strategy for Blackjack Switch differs significantly from standard blackjack strategies. This is mainly because you also have to account for the switch decision, which can make a big difference.
Improving Your Blackjack Skills
Unlike most casino games, blackjack offers you room to improve your knowledge and be a better player with time. As it involves an element of skill, there are certain things you can do to become better at the game. With this in mind, here are some quick tips on how to become a better blackjack player:
- Pick a variation that suits you best
- Track your blackjack results
- Practice the game regularly
- Memorize basic blackjack strategies
- Focus betting with your head, not your heart
- Don’t play under the influence
Blackjack Bankroll Management
Bankroll management is one of the most important aspects of being a successful blackjack player. With a proper bankroll strategy, you’re ensuring responsible gambling practices. Moreover, you’re limiting how much you can lose. Here are a couple of tips on how to manage your blackjack bankroll:
⭐ Set Win/Loss Limits
Setting limits is one of the most important actions you can take when playing blackjack. When it comes to this, it’s equally vital to set both win and loss limits. Having precise limits for both scenarios will enable you to avoid unnecessary losses.
No strategy on this page will help you fully offset the casino’s house edge. If you play long enough, the casino is bound to take your money. However, with adequate win/loss limits, you’ll give yourself the best chance of keeping your potential winnings.
If you’re playing online, it’s also wise to keep a steady bankroll that doesn’t get too bit. Whenever you amass a more sizable bankroll, make sure to withdraw it from your casino account. This will prevent you from losing all your winnings during a bad streak.
Creating a blackjack bankroll is a good first step, but there’s more to it than just this. Once you set a realistic bankroll, it’s crucial that you actually stick to the limits you set. Straying from these limits can only have a negative effect.
⭐ Extend Your Bankroll With a Blackjack Bonus
Casino bonuses can help boost your bankroll and give you more winning opportunities when playing blackjack. This advantage is particularly opportune when playing online blackjack. Online casinos create various bonuses to deliver extra value to new and existing customers.
With this in mind, there are some things to note when playing with blackjack bonuses. Primarily, keep in mind that not all bonuses are suitable for all betting strategies. This is because some bonuses come with wagering requirements that aren’t very favorable for blackjack players.
Common Blackjack Betting Strategies
Blackjack is one of the rare few casino games that involve a degree of skill. As such, it has always been an interesting game for those looking to exploit it using various blackjack strategies. Here’s a closer look at some of the most popular blackjack betting strategies:
⭐ The Martingale Betting System for Blackjack
This is the most popular betting system among blackjack players. The Martingale system is a risky strategy that’s easy to learn and fairly straightforward to follow. The objective of the strategy is simple. Double the size of your bet after every losing hand.
This simple negative progression strategy has some clear pros and cons. The biggest advantage of the Martingale system is that it enables you to quickly recoup your losses. On the negative side, a string of losing results could result in rapidly increasing bets. Considering this, it’s a less-than-ideal choice for beginners and those with smaller bankrolls.
⭐ The D’Alembert Strategy for Blackjack
Like the Martingale system, the D’Alembert strategy also revolves around negative progression. However, it has a less volatile approach. Namely, unlike the previous system, this one doesn’t say to double your bets after every loss.
Instead, you should increase your bet by one unit. To use this system, you need to choose a base unit value. Let’s say that it’s $5. If your initial $5 bet loses, you should bet $10 on the next hand. If it loses again, you should bet $15, and so on. Over a larger bet sample, the difference in bet increase between the D’Alembert strategy and the Martingale system is noticeable.
Due to this fact, the D’Alembert strategy is a much safer pick. It’s great for players of all skill levels and bankroll sizes. That said, the downside is that it’s not as effective for recouping losses as the previous strategy.
⭐ The Fibonacci Strategy for Blackjack
The Fibonacci sequence is a well-known series of numbers in mathematics. In this sequence, every number is the sum of its two preceding numbers. The sequence goes like this: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, and so on.
Curiously, this sequence has also found its way into the world of blackjack betting strategies. Following this famous sequence, the Fibonacci strategy is a negative progression betting system.
To employ this system in blackjack, the first step is to set a base unit size. After every loss, you multiply your base unit by the matching number in the sequence. Each loss equals one move up the sequence. When you record a winning hand, you should move two places back.
⭐ The Labouchere System for Blackjack
The Labouchere system is a blackjack strategy that gives you the most freedom out of any other system in this guide. This is because the essence of this system is creating your own betting sequence.
You’re not limited in any way. You only need to make sure that the sequence has a logical order. This freedom of creating your own system can be very beneficial. But, it can also be a double-edged sword. Because of this, it’s not recommended for beginners and casual players.
The Labouchere system is a negative progression betting system. It has a twin system, called the Reverse Labouchere system. This is a positive progression system. The former includes increasing bets after losses, while the latter instructs you to increase bets after wins.
⭐ The Oscar’s Grind System for Blackjack
Oscar’s Grind is a simple positive progression betting system that relies on capitalizing on consistent and steady wins. Unlike some previous methods we’ve discussed previously, Oscar’s Grind is fairly conservative. You won’t be sharply increasing your bet sizes between rounds.
This betting system has a different approach than most traditional systems. To use it, you need to set a goal that you want to reach. Then, you set a bankroll. Lastly, set a base betting unit.
To use Oscar’s Grind, simply increase your bet size by one unit after every winning hand. After every loss, make a bet equal in size to your previous bet. You play until you reach your winning goal or deplete your bankroll.
⭐ The Paroli System for Blackjack
Last but not least, the Paroli system for blackjack is perhaps the best system if you’re a beginner. It’s a low-volatility and safe positive progression system that’s very simple to use. To use the Paroli system, all you need to do is increase your bet size by one unit after every winning hand.
The first and most important thing to do when using the Paroli system is to set a base betting unit. Whenever you win, increase by one unit. As long as you’re winning, keep increasing your bets by one unit. After a loss, go back to your base bet.
Positive Progression Betting Strategies
Positive progression betting strategies target making the most of win streaks. Every positive progression betting strategy centers around increasing bets after a win. Here are a few of the most notable pros and cons of positive progression betting strategies:
⭐ Advantages of a Positive Progression Blackjack Strategy
- Simple and great for beginners
- Not very volatile
- Work best during short sessions
⭐ Disadvantages of a Positive Progression Blackjack Strategy
- Not as exciting to use as negative progression strategies
- Their efficiency dwindles the longer the session
Negative Progression Betting Strategies
The intention of every negative progression betting strategy is to increase your bet after a losing hand. Here are the biggest advantages and drawbacks of negative progression betting strategies:
⭐ Advantages of a Negative Progression Blackjack Strategy
- Great for quickly recovering losses
- Help make gambling even more exciting
- Suitable for high rollers
⭐ Disadvantages of a Negative Progression Blackjack Strategy
- Generally not advisable for players with smaller bankrolls
- Significantly riskier than positive progression systems
Bets to Avoid When Playing Blackjack
When it comes to the topic of bad blackjack bets, the easiest answer that comes to mind is the insurance bet. Most experienced blackjack will tell you that taking insurance is a bad bet. When you go deeper into the numbers, it’s clear to see why.
Taking insurance raises the house edge and simply isn’t worth it. In the long run, the insurance bet wins only 30% of the time. This is far too low. While there are exceptions to the rule, the safe decision is to avoid insurance entirely.
Insurance is arguably the most popular blackjack side bet. But, depending on what variation you’re playing, you’ll have the option of many more side bets. Nevertheless, most side bets, just like the insurance bet, are best avoided. While you might be able to find value in some side bets, as a general rule, it’s easier to avoid them altogether.
Apart from these bad bets, there are certain decisions that also count as poor moves. For instance, splitting 10s or face cards is considered a very bad decision. By splitting such a hand, you’re giving up on a 20-point hand. This is too strong of a hand to split for two potentially weak hands.
Lastly, even missing out on some decisions can be considered a bad move. For example, a general rule of thumb is to always split aces. By not splitting your pair of aces, you’re potentially leaving money on the table.
Online Strategies vs. Land-Based Casino Strategies
The differences between blackjack strategies don’t depend to any significant degree on the fact that you’re playing online or in land-based casinos. Instead, the specific blackjack variation you pick plays a much more important role.
Regardless of whether you’re playing online RNG blackjack, blackjack in a live casino, or blackjack in a land-based casino, you can use the same strategies. You can also use a blackjack chart in both situations. That said, you need to be mindful and not let the atmosphere impact your strategy and concentration when playing in a land-based casino.
Overall, there aren’t any strategic advantages neither option has over the other. That said, playing online has one significant advantage over playing in land-based casinos. This brings us to the next part of this blackjack strategy guide.
Practice Your Blackjack Strategy for Free
You don’t need more than a couple of minutes to pick up the basics of blackjack. However, mastering the game will take a lot of time. With so many blackjack variations and strategies, picking the best combination will involve some trial and error testing.
Fortunately, you can practice any blackjack variation online for free for as long as you want. All our recommended online casinos offer players the option of playing blackjack games in demo mode. This is an excellent opportunity to practice without risking any money.
We should note that you can only do so with regular online blackjack. Live casino blackjack tables aren’t available for free demo play. Still, this shouldn’t be a setback for you. The important thing is to practice and learn the ropes. And, once you’re confident in your skills, you can easily switch to real-money blackjack.
Blackjack Strategy FAQ
Written by Ivan Potocki
Proofread for quality assurance by Eve Luneborg