How to Beat the House Edge in Blackjack

Blackjack is a card game played between the player and the dealer. The objective is to get a hand value of 21 or higher. The player must beat the dealer to win.

To play blackjack well, you must learn perfect basic strategy. This is a set of rules that will maximize your winnings and minimize your losses. These rules are easy to understand and memorize.

Basic strategy

Blackjack is a game of chance, and winning and losing streaks are part of the experience. However, keeping a positive mindset can help you make better decisions and have more fun playing the game. Moreover, you should avoid drinking alcohol at the table as it can lower your inhibitions and lead to risky play and impulsive decisions.

To improve your odds of winning blackjack, you should know the basic strategy chart. It tells you the optimal move based on your hand total and the dealer’s up card. This chart is based on mathematics and takes the emotion out of the decision making process. If you use it consistently, it can reduce the house edge to less than 1%. It is important to commit it to memory and not deviate from it based on intuition.

Hi-lo system

The Hi-Lo system is a balanced level one card counting strategy that is simpler to learn than other systems. It assigns different values to each card, with cards two through six receiving a value of plus one and 7s, 8s and 9s getting minus one. This makes it easier for players to keep track of the deck and make smart bets.

The system tells players when to bet, and how much to bet. It also warns them when to stay away from a table. When the count is high, it means that there are lots of high-value cards left in the deck, and this favors the player. When the count is low, it means that most of the high-value cards have already been dealt.

Simulated results show that the Hi-Lo Lite version outperforms Wong’s system by +0.01%, but this difference is largely on paper only. The difference is not enough to warrant learning all 60 strategy indices.

Double down

Doubling down in blackjack is a risky move that increases your original bet for the chance of a higher payout. It’s only recommended in specific situations. Basic strategies have been meticulously mapped using mathematical probability to tell you when it’s best to double down, and these situations typically include hand values of 9, 10, or 11.

There are also times when players should not double down, based on their money management concerns. This is particularly true when they have a low bankroll and can’t afford to lose more money. In these cases, it’s often better to hit or stand. But for players who want to maximize their winnings, doubling down is an essential strategy.


Surrendering is an effective strategy for blackjack players to cut their losses and maintain a balanced bankroll. However, you must understand when to use it and when not to. The correct timing of surrender depends on the number of decks in play and the mix of playing rules.

In addition, the composition of your hand is also important. For example, you should only surrender a weak 15 against a dealer’s ten or when your hand contains an Ace. You should not surrender against a dealer’s two-card blackjack or any other pair.

Ideally, you should use both verbal and gestural cues when declaring surrender (such as tracing a horizontal line behind your wager in shoe games). You should be familiar with both composition dependent and total-dependent strategies.

Cheat sheet

A blackjack cheat sheet is a chart that suggests the proper strategy for each situation in the game. It is based on statistical probability, and it can help you increase your chances of winning by minimizing the house edge. While most casinos discourage the use of blackjack charts at their tables, it’s usually safe to bring one with you when playing online blackjack.

However, you must remember that a blackjack chart cannot replace your ability to make smart decisions in the casino. It is important to study the chart thoroughly before memorizing it, and to understand why each decision is recommended. This will make it easier to commit the chart to memory. Using a blackjack chart will reduce the house’s advantage to just one percent, but it cannot eliminate luck entirely.