The Black Jack Table shows the mathematically best possible way to play in any situation at the blackjack table.
In the table you can see at a glance what needs to be done:
- Draw card (H for hit)
- Stay (S for Stay)
- Double (D for double down)
- Pair split (P for Pair split)
- Surrender (only available at 16 vs 10 if this option is allowed)
The Black Jack Table
The blackjack Table is divided into three parts:
- Hard Hands
- Soft Hands (card combinations with an ace)
The top line shows which card the dealer is showing. This open dealer card is called the up card because you can see the "top".
The left column of the blackjack table shows the sum of your cards. This sum is also called the "hand".
So the first thing you do is look at the top line to see what card the dealer has.
You then go down this column until it coincides with the line of your own hand.
The content of the intersection of the dealer card and your own hand corresponds to the optimal play.
Difference between Hard and Soft Hands
A distinction is made between a hard hand and a soft hand (hard vs soft).
A soft hand is any combination of cards with an ace.
In this case, the ace can be counted either as 1 or as 11. Depending on what is better for the player.
So if you draw another card with an ace-6 (17) that is greater than 4, you would have more than 21 and lost. However, the ace is then simply counted as 1, so you haven't lost yet.
The perfect blackjack table simply explained
The perfect blackjack table does not exist. It is only ever a recommendation for beginners. Blackjack professionals change the way they play depending on the situation. But for starters, it is important to reduce the house advantage of the casino to under 1%.
We can do that by sticking to the perfect blackjack table!
We ask ourselves the following questions in the following order:
SURRENDER: Can / should I give up directly?
Surrender means that you give up your starting hand. In return, you get half of the bet back.
When playing in a casino that allows surrender, you only have the option to surrender the first two cards dealt. You cannot surrender if you have already taken a third card.
That's why surernder is the first thing you need to think about!
Surrender is available in most European casinos, but few players know that!
You should always ask if Surrender is allowed in the following situations and if so, make use of it.
- Hard 16 except pair of eights against a dealer's 9, 10 or ace.
- Hard 15 against a dealer's 10.
If no Surrender is possible or none of the above situations apply, one wonders:
SPLIT: Can / should I share?
The second most important decision is whether or not you can split. This is only an option if your first two cards are a pair or if you have two ten-value cards (like a jack and a king).
Double After Split (DAS) means that after splitting a hand, you may double the split hands in favorable situations.
Some casinos do not allow doubling after splitting. However, there are few that do not allow it, so we define Double After Split as the standard.
- Always split aces and eights
- NEVER split 10s (this of course includes jacks, queens and kings)
- 2s and 3s against 2 to 7 of the dealer
- Pair of 4 only split against dealer's 5 or 6.
- Never divide 5s! Because they add up to 10 and 10 is better doubled!
- Split 6s against dealer's 2 through 6 (2 through 6 on DAS).
- 7s against 2 to 7 of the dealer share
- 9s against 2 to 9 of the dealer (EXCEPT 7!) share.
The following differences occur when Double After Split is NOT allowed:
- Pair of 4 is never split! (not against 5 and 6!)
- 2s and 3s are only split against 4 to 7 of the dealer (not against 2 and 3!).
- 6s are only split against 3 to 6 of the dealer (not against 2!).
If you don't have a pair or two of ten-value cards, you go ahead and ask:
DOUBLE DOWN: Can/should I double?
If the blackjack table recommends doubling down you should be happy!
That's why many beginners are afraid of doubling. However, in the long run, you have to see the greater chances of winning when doubling!
Some casinos restrict doubling with soft hands, for example. Then you can only double with 9, 10 or 11. In this case, you have worse chances of winning and should no longer play in this casino. An example of this are pretty much all Spanish casinos.
When doubling, you have to remember these 6 cases:
- 9 against 3 to 6 of the Deaer
- 10 against everything except 10 or dealer's ace
- 11 against everything except dealer's ace
- Ace+2 (Soft 13) and Ace+3 (Soft 14) double up against the dealer's 5 and 6.
- Ace+4 (Soft 15) and Ace+5 (Soft 16) double against dealer's 4 to 6
- Ace+6 (soft 17) and Ace+7 (soft 18) double against dealer's 3 to 6
If doubling up is out of the question because you don't have a 9, 10, 11 or a soft hand, then you ask yourself the final, crucial question:
HIT or STAND: Should I hit or stand?
- Always pull to at least 12
- If the dealer has a 2 or 3 draw to at least 13!
- If the dealer has 7 or more, draw until you have at least 17.
- Stop at 17!
- Pull again with soft-17 or less or double!
- Stand with Soft18 except draw a card against dealer's 9, 10 or Ace.
- Stop from Soft19
If the dealer has to pull at soft-17....
... the following changes take effect:
If the dealer has an ace, you also use Surrender with 15, a pair of eights and a 17!
But you can also double up with 11 against the dealer's ace.
You also double down with Soft18 (Ace+7) against a 2 from the dealer.
and with a soft 19 (ace+8) against a dealer's 6.
Important note about the Black Jack table
There are depending on Black Jack Rules different blackjack tables!
If you don't want to deal with it too much to start with, this is the best way to go. Black Jack Strategy Table:
The main distinction is whether the dealer draws another card on a soft 17 (Ace + 6) or stands still.
In most European casinos, the dealer will stop with any 17 (which includes Ace + 6).
However, in many Las Vegas casinos, the dealer will then draw another card.
For better chances of winning, the strategy tables where the dealer stands at soft 17 (Dealer Stands at soft 17).
The Black Jack table is not enough to win!
This optimal playing style ensures maximum profit and minimum loss over the course of a blackjack career.
In individual cases and also in longer series (up-swing / down-swing), these decisions can of course also lead to losses.
Basically, as a player, you always have a disadvantage in blackjack.
The blackjack table simply ensures that this disadvantage is kept as low as possible.
If you want to win at Black Jack in the long run, you have to Card Counting learn.
The perfect blackjack table
In blackjack, the advantage of a good card counter is around 1%.
So it's not enough to be half-hearted about the blackjack table.
You have to be able to make every decision from it correctly without hesitation.
This is especially difficult with the soft hands.
That's why I recommend that you write down your frequently misplayed hands and pin them more often in a place that you frequent. E.g. on the toilet, on the fridge, on the alarm clock. This way you will eventually associate this situation with a special place.
If you don't know what to do with Ace-7, write that A+7 big on a Post-It note and below that the correct decision with double up against 3 to 6. If the dealer stands with Soft17, then even double up against 2 to 6.
For example, remember this decision as a "poop decision" and it will eventually stick with you 😉 .
There are deviations
The decisions in this blackjack table or any other blackjack table you find on the internet are not designed to make you win.
These blackjack tables are just to make you lose less!
In fact, most of them give you false information.
Therefore, you should be prepared to learn the deviations from the Basic Strategy as soon as possible.
Only if you can apply the right deviation depending on the game situation will you be successful with blackjack in the long run.
The better you know the blackjack table, the easier it will be to transition to the other variations.