Play Better Blackjack With This Free Cheat Sheet & Strategy Guide

Let's face it, blackjack is entertaining but when your Canadian dollars are on the line you want to win. Just like the professional blackjack players who are raking in cash each month from the game, you can too. Blackjack strategies are easy to master and with our free blackjack cheat sheet we're going to show you exactly what you need to do to keep the odds as much in your favour as possible.

In this guide we'll teach you:

  • When you should choose to hit, stand, split, or double down
  • The simple systems that have helped players pocket millions
  • How to reduce the house edge from 8-10% to just 1%

No matter what your level of experience and skill, when it comes to playing real money blackjack in an online casino, these basic blackjack strategies are easy for anyone to learn and put into practice.

A Basic Blackjack Strategy To Increase Your Odds

Blackjack relies on a player's ability to correctly call when to hit, stand, split or double down. But when the card being played is blind how can you know what the right decision is ahead of time? Easy - you use a chart of hands, often called a blackjack cheat sheet.

Remember that high school math you found so pointless? Well, turns out it wasn't so useless after all. Blackjack strategy is built on mathematical equations, but don't worry, you won't have to work out any sums for yourself. Experts did the math and devised the strategies long ago.

Blackjack strategy

Getting that House Edge Down

Blackjack cheat sheets, such as the one on this page, include hard hands, soft hands, and pairs, and how to play combinations of them all. Without this strategy, the house edge can be between 8 to 10 percent at a minimum. But using a blackjack chart can reduce that edge to just one percent and is the first and most basic key to making money at the game.

Knowing When to Split

The first step to mastering blackjack strategy is pairs, which have splitting rules. Always split eights and aces. Split twos, threes, and sevens against any dealer card less than eight. Split sixes against any card less than seven. Split nines against anything except ace, ten, or seven. And only ever split fours against a five or a six. Never split fives or tens.

How To Play Hard Hands

Hard hands don't allow aces to be counted as 11. Rules in this category include doubling against any eleven, even if there's an ace, doubling against any ten (except if there's an ace or ten for the dealer) and doubling a nine if the dealer shows three, four, five, or six.

Soft Hands & Doubling Up

Soft hands contain an ace that counts as eleven or one depending on the need of the hand to stay under 21. In those cases always double against a five or six. Double against a four if you have 15 or more. Double against a three if you have 17 or more and double soft 18 against a two. Be sure to know the rules of the blackjack hand you're playing, to know if the dealer will stand or hit a soft 17.

Stick With It

Basic blackjack strategy is proven to deliver wins over the long term. So if you bomb the first couple of rounds don't dismiss it. Mathematical odds have proven that even if you bow to the dealer for a few consecutive hands you'll still come out on top overall, so it's important you stick with the strategy. Even, if you don't win right away. Patience, as they say, is a virtue.

Getting To Grips With Systems

Blackjack strategy guide

Now we've got basic blackjack strategy nailed, we're going to look at two simple and commonplace blackjack systems. Just like with using a blackjack chart, systems can also help you to gain an advantage over the house and increase the odds in your favour.

Positive And Negative Progression Systems

In the positive progression system players will raise their bets after a win to help fund future hands from the profits they've accrued on previous hands. This is considered a fairly conservative betting system because a string of losses won't hit your bankroll too hard.

With a negative progression betting system players raise their bets after losses, which in an ideal world would always bring you back to a break-even point. However, a string of losses can wipe out a player's bankroll altogether, so unsurprisingly this blackjack system is often regarded as the riskier of the two.

To demonstrate the negative betting system, let's look at an example. Bill sits down at a blackjack table and wagers $5 and wins. His next two hands he bets the same $5 each time, but loses. This means he is down $5 and for the next hand, would wager $10. If he were to lose again, he would be down $15 and make that amount the value of his next bet, and so forth.

What The Experts Say

Whether or not either of these two systems actually work to a player's advantage has been debated endlessly in blackjack inner circles. Noted blackjack theorist, and member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame, Stanford Wong has gone on record saying betting system's simply do not work. Other respected authors on blackjack theory also echo his feelings and discourage the practice altogether.

So let's look at a system that has proven time and time again to work.

How To Count Cards In Blackjack

Card counting is a strategy system used in blackjack to determine whether the next hand is more likely to give an advantage to the player. This allows real money blackjack players to bet with less risk and minimize their losses.

The goal of any basic card counting system is to assign point values to the cards and keep a running tally as each card is dealt. Basic card counting systems assign a positive, negative, or zero value to each card denomination. Low cards are known to help the dealer, while high cards are known to help the player.

Mastering The Hi-Lo System

Known as the "High-Low" system, in this blackjack strategy every time a low card is dealt it increases the percentage of high cards (good for the player) remaining in the shoe. When a card assigned a value is dealt players take a mental note and adjust the running count accordingly.

Advanced Blackjack strategy

The "High-Low System" is considered a single-level count, because the count never increases or decreases by more than a single numerical value. In the Hi-Lo System the follow values are assigned to cards:

2, 3, 4, 5, 6 = +1

7, 8, 9 = 0

10, J, Q, K, A = -1

Famous Blackjack Card Counters

Perhaps the most famous example of using the hi-low system to profit is the MIT blackjack card counting team. You may remember the 2008 film 21 that starred Kevin Spacey. This film was based on the true events of six MIT students and their professor who travelled to Vegas and used the High-Low system to clean out casino after casino - until they got caught. The beauty of online blackjack is that there are no cameras in your home looking on at you as you play.

Advanced Blackjack Strategy

Once you're comfortable with basic blackjack strategy, there are some ways you can take your game to the next level and improve your odds even more.

The consistent wager system for example involves playing a fixed amount of money on every hand, no matter what cards have been dealt in previous hands. While the Martingale system is an alternative French method of card counting that involves adjusting betting based on the hands dealt and profit or loss of previous hands.

No matter which system or blackjack strategy you choose to use to improve your game you should always be prepared to adjust your technique for the game variation being used. As a general rule, blackjack strategy will always be affected by the number of decks in use, and the specific dealer rules at the virtual casino table you choose to play at.

Test Out Your Blackjack Strategy In Today's Top Casinos

If you're ready to road test a blackjack strategy in a real money game then take a look at our recommended online blackjack casino sites and mobile apps. Not only do these casinos offer players multiple blackjack variations, but you'll also benefit from a huge real cash bonus when you sign up to play for the first time.

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