Basic Blackjack Strategy: How to Play Blackjack

If you’re looking for a fun and exciting way to spend the evening and win some cash, then look no further than the Blackjack tables at Triple Crown Casinos. Are you a beginner looking to play Blackjack at a casino for the first time? Maybe you’re a regular Blackjack enthusiast wanting to refresh yourself on some new strategies. No matter what level of skill you’re at, our basic Blackjack strategy will go over everything you need to know to have the best chance at winning. Although we can’t guarantee you’ll win every time, our guide will help you play with more confidence, teach you some winning strategies, and allow you to have fun while you play.

Choose the Right Table

Top view of an illustration of a blackjack table.Table selection is the first step to any basic Blackjack strategy. Do not let the dazzling lights and buzzers of the casino distract you. You need to select the Blackjack table that you would like to join with confidence. This means looking for a proper place to play that will allow you to join the game without too many distractions or issues from other players. You also want to select your table wisely based on the bankroll you have available. If you bring $100 with you and play at a table with a $25 minimum bet, you might find yourself on the losing end of those wagers very quickly.

If a hand is already in progress, you will have to wait until it has concluded to join in the game. Try to be considerate of others as you join. You can have the dealer transfer your cash into chips that you will use at the table. Once you have your chips in hand, select your wager amount, and the game can begin. The dealer will deal you and each of the players at the table two cards. The dealer will then deal themselves two cards, one face up and one face down. Total up the value of your cards and the revealed value of the dealer’s cards before moving on to the next step.

Hit or Stand?

One of the most important aspects of the game is understanding the value of each card when you are totaling up your hand and the dealer’s hand:

  • Ace: 1 or 11 (depending on which is to your advantage. Holding an Ace is called a soft hand)
  • 10, Jack, Queen, or King: 10
  • All other cards: Their face value (i.e. the 8 of spades is worth eight)

You are attempting to get as close to 21 as possible without going over. If you are dealt an Ace (11 points) and a Jack (10 points), for example, you have a Blackjack, or 21, and there is no decision to make. You win the hand unless the dealer also reveals a Blackjack, which would result in a push. You would always stand on this hand. Likewise, you would very likely stand on many other hand combinations that add up to numbers close to 21 as well (17-20 in particular).

A player holding up a Jack and Ace during basic blackjack strategyHit

A hit is when you ask the dealer for another card to add to your total. Basic Blackjack strategy suggests you do this if your total consists of low numbers or anytime your total cannot go over 21 if you add another card. For example, if you are dealt the two of spades and the four of hearts, your original total is just 6. You cannot go over 21 with another card, no matter what card you receive. Therefore, you would always take a hit in this scenario.

Stand

You want to stand when your total from the first two cards is a Blackjack (21) or very close to that number (17-20). By standing, you decline to take any more cards from this point and must use whatever you already have to compete against the dealer.

Split

If you are dealt two cards of the same type (i.e. two Kings), you have the option to split these cards and play them as two separate hands. You must double your bet to match your original bet on each hand, but you would play both hands separately from one another in this scenario.

Double Down

Casinos offer people the option to double down on their bets. To double down, you simply double the amount of your original wager, but there is a catch. You must agree to take one more card (and only one more card) and then allow the game to play out from that point. It is usually a good idea to double down when your original cards equal 11.

Surrender

If you are dealt a particularly horrible hand or fear you won’t win against the dealer, you can surrender that hand at any point before the dealer’s reveal. Doing so means you only give up half your wager, but you can no longer play the rest of that hand.

Tally Your Hand

If you choose to hit and don’t surrender, you will tally your hand with each card until you decide to stand. The goal to get closest to 21 with the least amount of cards without going over. Going over 21 means you bust, and you automatically lose that hand.

Dealer Reveal

Overhead view of Players at a red blackjack tableThe rules of Blackjack require the dealer to hit on 16 and to stand on 17. They will continue to play by those rules until they either bust (go over 21) or land somewhere between 17 and 21. The dealer always reveals their cards after all players at the table have either busted or decided to stand. The dealer always waits because this allows players to make their wages based on what they think the dealer has.

Did You Win Or Lose?

Once the dealer reveals, you’ll compare your hand against the dealer’s to see who was closer to the magic number. If you have a lower number than the dealer and the dealer didn’t bust, you lose. However, if you did not bust and have a number higher than the dealer, or if the dealer busts and you didn’t, then you win.

Basic Blackjack Strategy

You should follow basic mathematical strategies to make sure you can compete with the dealer as much as possible. Unfortunately, there is not a mathematical way to beat the house edge (legally). However, following these tips can get you very close to a 50-50 game to give you the best chance at winning. Although this won’t guarantee a win every time, this basic Blackjack strategy will allow you to have fun and keep you from blowing your bankroll right away, so you can try different techniques as you continue to play.

A Blackjack Pays 3 to 2

One exciting aspect of almost every Blackjack table is that you get paid 3 to 2 on your wager if you land on a Blackjack hand. If the first two cards you’re dealt add up to exactly 21, you will get paid $3 for every $2 you bet. Thus, if you bet $20 on your and the dealer deals you a Blackjack on your initial hand, you will win $30.

Player holding a pair of aces with poker chips in the background

The Dealer MUST HIT on a Soft 17

The hand is considered “soft” when an Ace is in play because the Ace can be counted as 1 or 11 depending on the hand. If the dealer has a total that equals 17 with an Ace as part of that total, they must take a hit.

Insurance Pays 2 to 1

Players can buy insurance on any hand where the dealer shows an Ace as their top card. Insurance is paid out if the dealer reveals a Blackjack at the end. Insurance is separate from the original bet, and it pays 2 to 1 if the dealer does have a Blackjack. If they do not, then the amount wagered on insurance is lost.

$5 Minimum, $500 Maximum

Any given Blackjack table will have firm minimums and maximums established ahead of time. A $5 minimum bet per hand and a $500 maximum bet per hand are typical. The maximum is set to protect the casino from playing too high on their hands. It also keeps a player from doubling their bets on any losing hand and beating the house. In theory, a player could continue to double their bet after every losing hand until they hit a winner. The maximum bet deters them from doing this because the player will reach the maximum bet and can no longer double their losing bet after a certain number of hands. This system of doubling your bet after each loss is known as the Martingale Betting System and only works if you have an unlimited bankroll and there is no maximum bet in place.

Always Split Aces & 8s

In basic Blackjack strategy, it always makes mathematical sense to split Aces or 8s when they are dealt to you. If you are dealt two Aces, splitting them gives you two chances of making 21. If you hold two 8s (16), the dealer is statistically more likely to win either by having a better hand or by you busting on your next hit. Years of mathematical analysis show that splitting your 8s will result in more wins than trying to hold two 8s in your hand.

Never Split 4s, 5s, 10s, or Face Cards

If you have two 10s, you are already at 20, which is mathematically more likely to win than if you split. With two 4s, you will never bust if you take a hit. The most you can get is 19. The same goes with two 5s, where the highest you can get is a 21 on your next hit. You also have a higher likelihood of beating the dealer on your next hit by getting a 10, face card, or Ace. By splitting 4s or 5s, you are setting yourself up for a higher mathematical likelihood of busting because you will have to hit at least twice to play.

Try Your Basic Blackjack Strategy at Triple Crown Casinos

Group of players celebrating around a winning hand at a blackjack table

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino table games of all time. At Triple Crown Casinos, we have the best Blackjack tables with the highest payouts in Colorado. No matter your skill level or your bankroll, we have a Blackjack table for you to jump on and try your hand at. We are pleased to offer this, and we hope to see you come and play this fan favorite.

Tired of Driving? Use Our Shuttle Bus

You don’t have to drive out to play Blackjack with us. Hop on the Ramblin Express and come up to see us. We try to make everything as easy as possible for our guests, so if you don’t feel like driving, take our luxurious shuttle bus instead!

Play Blackjack Like A Pro at Triple Crown Casinos

When you’re looking to earn the best Blackjack payouts, visit Triple Crown Casinos in Cripple Creek. We have amazing hotels, dining & spirits, Blackjack tables, and other casino games where you can win big! When you become a Triple Play Club member, you can win even more for your money with your basic Blackjack strategy! We look forward to seeing you soon.

McGills Hotel and Casino
232 Bennett Ave,
Cripple Creek, CO 80813
Phone Number: (719) 689-2446
Midnight Rose Hotel & Casino
256 Bennett Ave,
Cripple Creek, CO 80813
Phone Number: (719) 689-0303
The Brass Ass Casino
264 Bennett Ave
Cripple Creek, CO 80813
Phone Number:(719) 689-2104

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