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Live Blackjack Optimal Strategy – Learn to Maximize Your Profits on Live Blackjack using DDAS and Surrender.

On this page, I explain the optimal strategy for live blackjack and how you can use it to maximize your profits by playing the mathematically perfect game.

Table rules come into play, and two specific ones allow you to gain an edge if you know how to play when they’re in place. Read more about that below.

a guide to basic blackjack strategy

An Introduction To Basic Blackjack Strategy

Those familiar with blackjack will understand there is a correct mathematical way to play the popular casino card game.

It’s known as Basic Strategy, and if used correctly, it minimises the house edge and gives the player the best chance of winning.

It’s such an accepted way of playing that land-based and some online casinos even provide guides on using live blackjack basic strategy.

If you’re a regular at land-based casinos, you’ll also know that dealers will help remind you of the strategy — especially if you’re about to do something stupid!

In most instances where you can’t remember it, you can ask for a prompt, and they’re happy to help.

I have to briefly mention Playtech Majority Rules Speed Blackjack, playable at Playojo. In this game, players’ vote’ on the decision to be taken, which then applies to the hand in play.

This blackjack game quickly acquaints you with the correct playing decisions!

Please Note: Do not use Basic Strategy if you’re playing Power Blackjack. For that game, you need to use a revised Power Blackjack Strategy, which has been adapted to cater for the lack of 9’s and 10’s in the playing deck.

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If you want to play live blackjack and use the basic strategy, these are the best games with the highest RTP, favourable rules, and where the basic blackjack strategy applies.

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  • Dedicated tables. On table promotions.
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  • European & Vegas Rules.
  • Select Dedicated Tables.
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  • New Dedicated Studio Tables.
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4 / 5 Stars

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First deposit only. 50 Free Spins. Minimum deposit 10. Each Free Spin valued at 0.10. No minimum withdrawals. T&Cs, Rewards and Game Play Policy applies.

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Live Blackjack Strategy

How does live blackjack strategy differ from basic blackjack strategy, you ask?

Well, the correct strategy varies according to blackjack table rules. So, if we want the right live blackjack strategy, it must be specific to the table rules you’ll be playing. Fortunately, most live casino developers, Evolution, Playtech and Pragmatic, all use the same Blackjack Rules for Live Blackjack.

You can read more about that in my article about the blackjack table rules, where I explain which live blackjack games have the best rules that positively affect RTP the most.

The table rules article is a prerequisite for understanding the information on this page. Without this, you will struggle to grasp the concepts I discuss.

The strategy will be different when the rules are different. Two, in particular, allow you to gain an edge: Double Down After Split and Surrender.

But before I explain these, let’s show you some popular live blackjack tables you’ll want to play and then introduce you to the basics of the blackjack strategy.

blackjack dealers

Dealer stands on Soft 17 Basic Strategy.

This strategy version covers a live blackjack game where the dealer has to stand on Soft 17. If he has a hand that totals 17 and Ace counted 11, he can no longer improve his hand.

So a soft 17 could be Ace-six, Ace-two-four, Ace-three-three, Ace-two-Ace-three – you get the idea. If the dealer has a hand like this, he has to stand as soon as he hits 17.

This blackjack table rule increases your RTP by 0.21% when it’s in place, and it’s what you’ll probably be playing at all live blackjack tables. If the dealer doesn’t stand on soft 17, leave immediately.

The table below shows the total value of the first two cards dealt in the left-hand column.

The first row indicates the value of the dealers up card.

To use the table, you find the value of your hand and look along that row until you meet what the dealer is showing.

Where the two meet is the playing action, you should take.

Your CardsDealers Cards
Hard Cards2345678910A
4-8HHHHHHHHHH
9HD/HD/HD/HD/HHHHHH
10D/HD/HD/HD/HD/HD/HD/HD/HHH
11D/HD/HD/HD/HD/HD/HD/HD/HD/HH
12HHSSSHHHHH
13SSSSSHHHHH
14SSSSSHHHHH
15SSSSSHHHSu/HH
16SSSSSHHSu/HSu/HSu/H
17+SSSSSSSSSS
Soft Cards2345678910A
13HHHD/HD/HHHHHH
14HHHD/HD/HHHHHH
15HHD/HD/HD/HHHHHH
16HHD/HD/HD/HHHHHH
17HD/HD/HD/HD/HHHHHH
18SD/SD/SD/SD/SSSHHH
19+SSSSSSSSSS
Splits2345678910A
2-2SPSPSPSPSPSPHHHH
3-3SPSPSPSPSPSPHHHH
4-4HHHSPSPHHHHH
5-5D/HD/HD/HD/HD/HD/HD/HD/HHH
6-6SPSPSPSPSPHHHHH
7-7SPSPSPSPSPSPHHHH
8-8SPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSP
9-9SPSPSPSPSPSSPSPSS
10-10SSSSSSSSSS
A-ASPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSP

Key

  • H – Hit
  • S – Stand
  • D/H – Double if you’re allowed. Otherwise hit.
  • Su/H – Surrender if you’re allowed. Otherwise hit.
  • SP – Split.

Download printable PDF – Basic Blackjack Strategy – Stand on Soft 17 Surrender

Advanced Blackjack Strategies

Advanced strategies are things advanced players can do to reduce the house edge even further.

These can involve card counting to keep track of the high and low cards that remain in the deck. Other methods include shuffle tracking and playing at a table with favourable rules such as DDAS and Surrender. Knowing how to exploit the situation requires a Basic Blackjack strategy.

I’ll focus on strategically exploiting the favourable blackjack table rules for the player, as there’s a right way to do that. And that’s the only feasible way to gain an edge in blackjack.

Double Down After Split (DDAS) Strategy

Double Down After Split increases your RTP by 0.14%, and it is one of the best table rules you’ll ever get to play. It allows you to exploit an advantageous situation – if you know how.

When you’re allowed to Double Down After Split, you will primarily split small pairs, hoping to end up with one or more hands worth doubling down.

Four live blackjack games that offer DDAS are the following.

GamePlay at
Playtech Live Quantum Blackjack PlusPlayojo
Ezugi Live Seven Seat BlackjackLeoVegas
Betconstruct Live BlackjackVbet Casino
Portomaso Oracle Live Blackjack

 

Firstly, you must have a hand that you can split before considering whether to double down.

The table below shows the hands worth splitting when the dealer has a hand value as displayed. You should only take the option to double if you’re hand value is less than 12.

Your cardsDealer’s cardAction
222 to 7Split
332 to 7Split
445 to 6Split
552 to 6Split
662 to 6Split

When to Double Down?

Generally speaking, you should always double down when your hand totals 11, especially if the dealer shows a six or less. The same rules apply for splitting hands against a weak dealer’s hand. If you get the opportunity, you should go for it, as it’s one of the rare ways to double up your wager.

When your hand totals 10, look at the dealer’s card. If the dealer shows Ace or 10, doubling down is not the best option as there’s a good chance the dealer might get a good hand. If the dealer is showing six or lower, doubling down at 10 is a feasible strategy.

When the dealer’s card is 2 to 6, you will be doubling down when you have soft 16, 17 or 18 or a hard nine (2 and 7, 3 and 6, or 4 and 5).

Blackjack Surrender Strategy

If you’re playing at a blackjack table that allows Surrender, know that you’re playing a favourable set of rules. Surrender is not trying to lure you away from winning the hand, but quite the opposite, a tool that lets you lose less when you’re unlikely to win.

Some players confuse Surrender with Insurance. Insurance is a side bet with a house edge of 7.40% and is a poor bet to make, while Surrender is a table rule that’s favourable for the player.

Ezugi Live Seven Seat Blackjack, which you can play at LeoVegas, allows you to Surrender your hand for half your stake back when the dealer is showing an Ace. And Surrender you should. Due to this rule being in place, the dealer in this Ezugi game won’t peek for Blackjack when he’s showing an Ace.

Betconstruct has a blackjack game that you can play at Vbet casino with this same Surrender rule. In both cases, Ezugi and Betconstruct, it’s an Early Surrender as you get to surrender your hand before the dealer peeks for Blackjack.

If the dealer has an Ace, you want to surrender:

  • Hard 5, 6, 7
  • 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
  • Pair of 3’s, 6’s, 7’s or 8’s

Visionary iGaming Live Blackjack, playable at Dublinbet, and Playtech Cashback Blackjack, playable at Playojo, have rules similar to Surrender, where you’ll be offered a cash value for your hand should you decide to quit early.

Multiplier Strategy

Some blackjack games, such as Quantum Blackjack Plus by Playtech, offer win multipliers.

As you can see in my review of Quantum Blackjack Plus, I still advise using the basic strategy in this game, however tempting it is to change it because multipliers are in play.

An important thing to note here is those win multipliers are assigned randomly. We don’t know how exactly, so it is not possible to come up with a correct strategy.

The best we can do is to play the basic strategy regardlessly.

Side Bets Strategy

The best strategy regarding blackjack side bets is to not play them at all – since these have poor and sometimes awful RTP.

If you’re chasing the mathematically perfect game, side bets are best left alone.

Some fun side bets exist – you’ll find them on that link above – and when it comes to profitability, Perfect Pairs and 21 + 3 come to mind.

These aren’t half bad; make sure you’re playing at a table with good payouts, as payouts vary from provider to provider.

Again, I recommend visiting the link above to learn about blackjack side bets.

Summary

Playing blackjack without a strategy is a losing proposition in the long term.

While quick wins may be possible, a long session will likely lose your bankroll unless you follow a mathematically proven strategy.

A live blackjack strategy guide puts you in the best position to win and covers everything from pair splitting to hitting, standing, doubling down, and surrendering.

It’s foolhardy not to follow the basic strategy if you want to win in the long term.

Recommended Reading

Try these other articles relating to Live Blackjack.

Live Blackjack Strategy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is there a strategy for blackjack?

A basic strategy does exist for blackjack, which allows you to play a mathematically perfect game. It’s well documented and used in an online and land-based casinos. You can get basic strategy charts which show you the playing decisions for each type of hand. Download a copy here.

Should you ever surrender in blackjack?

Yes. Surrender is one of the most favourable rules in blackjack and is a superb way to gain an edge over the dealer. When you’re allowed to Surrender, you should do so based on what your cards are, what the dealer’s card is, and what the correct strategy advises the best course of action is.

Do you Hit or Stand on 16?

Generally, with hard 16, you should Stand, and with soft 16, you should Hit. To learn more, refer to the basic blackjack strategy on this page.

Do you hit 12 against a 3?

Yes. You hit a hard 12 against all dealer cards except for 4, 5 and 6 when you should Stand.

Should you ever split 10s?

The best course of action is Stand when your hand is 10-10.

Should you always Double Down on 11?

Yes. Except when the dealer has an Ace.

When should I raise my bet in blackjack?

You Double Down to take advantage of a favourable situation in many situations. Refer to the basic strategy on this page. Some of the most recognizable situations for Doubling Down are when you have 5-5, when the dealer has 5 or 6, or when you have hard totals of 10 or 11.

Should I hit or stand on 13?

It depends. If you have hard 13, you should stand if the dealer’s card is 2 to 6 or Hit if it’s seven and above. If you have soft 13 (with an Ace that’s counted as 11), you should always Hit and even Double if the dealer’s card is 5 or 6.

Do you double soft 19?

Soft 19 is a good hand, but the best course of action according to the basic strategy is to Stand.

Do you always hit a soft 17?

Yes, except in those cases when you should Double because the dealer has a weak card, 2 to 6.

Which hand is the worst in blackjack?

Hard 16 is considered a very troublesome hand in blackjack. It gets much better if it’s soft 16, as soft hands are inherently good, and if you got 16 from a pair of eights, then there’s an easy way out – just Split the hand.

GREATEST BLACKJACK SELECTION

  • Dedicated tables. On table promotions.
  • Multiple Suppliers, 50+ Tables.
  • English, Danish & Italian Dealers.

5 / 5 Stars

GO TO CASINO

Up to €300 in Live Casino Welcome Bonus Offers

Terms and Conditions Apply.

BEST MULTI LANGUAGE BLACKJACK

  • Dedicated Evolution studios.
  • Native Language Dealers.

4 / 5 Stars

GO TO CASINO

For Welcome Bonus Information Click Here.

BEST PLAYTECH BLACKJACK CASINO

  • European & Vegas Rules.
  • Select Dedicated Tables.
  • Welcoming Dealers.

4 / 5 Stars

GO TO CASINO

For Welcome Bonus Information Click Here.

BEST BLACKJACK PROMOTIONS

  • Evolution & Playtech Blackjack.
  • New Dedicated Studio Tables.
  • Weekly on table promotions.

4 / 5 Stars

GO TO CASINO

Get 50 Free Spins on Your 1st Deposit

First deposit only. 50 Free Spins. Minimum deposit 10. Each Free Spin valued at 0.10. No minimum withdrawals. T&Cs, Rewards and Game Play Policy applies.

BEST FOR VIP’s

  • Dedicated Studios.
  • Ongoing Rewards.
  • Tailored Experience.

4 / 5 Stars

GO TO CASINO

Welcome Package up to €500 and 300 Free Spins

18+ www.gambleaware.org