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Black Jack School

When to Hit or Stand in Blackjack

Blackjack Basics - When to Hit and When to Stand
by Jason Green of Predictem.com

Knowing how to hit and stand when playing Blackjack is the most important aspect of the game. First lets take a look at what these two terms mean.

- To hit means to take another card or cards to your hand you have to try to get as close to or exactly 21.

- To stand means to take no more cards and play the hand that you have.

In Blackjack the house edge starts around 5.5%, but if you know when to hit and when to stand you can improve your odds by around 3%. Here are some of the scenarios that will come up in Blackjack and whether to hit or stand when they occur.

- Always stand when you have a hand of 17 or more. This excludes soft hands when you are holding an Ace. A hand of 17 or more is considered to be a strong hand. If you have more than 16 the chances that you have to improve your hand are not great enough to risk busting, which is going over 21. This is the case no matter what the dealer is showing. Conversely you can never bust if you have 11 or less than 11, so you should always hit.

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- If the dealer is showing an Ace. This is the least favorable scenario for the player, because of the chance that the dealer may have 21. You need to be aware that a 10 value card (10, Jack, Queen, King) is more likely to come up than any other numbered card because there are 4 times as many 10 value cards in the deck. If the dealer is showing an Ace they have a 4/13 chance to get 21. The Ace will also allow the dealer to draw more cards without going over 21. You should be aggressive if the dealer is showing an Ace and try to get a hand of 17+, because the odds are that the dealer will get a strong hand. If you have 16 or lower take a hit, if you have 17 or more stand.

- If the dealer is showing a 10, Jack, Queen, or King. If the dealer is showing these 10-value cards there is a 1/13 chance they will have 21 and a 4/13 chance they will have a 20. Because of this you should have a strong hand to compete with the dealer. Hit on 16 or less, stand on 17 or more.

- When the dealer is showing a 7,8, or 9. There is no chance that the dealer will have Blackjack, but the dealer has a good chance to have a strong hand of 17 or more. You need a strong hand to compete if they are showing a 7,8, or 9. If you have a 10-value card or an Ace you should hit and may want to double down. Hit on 16 or less and stand on 17 or more.

- When the dealer is showing a 4,5, or 6. In this situation you are in a good position, because they have a good chance to bust. You should never bust if the dealer is showing a 4,5,or 6. It is a good idea to double down if you have a 9,10, or 11. Hit on 8 or less and stand on 12 or more.

- When the dealer is showing a 3. You are still in a good position here, as their chances to bust are still high, but there is a slight advantage to hitting when you have a 12, as the chances of busting are 4/13. You will want to double down if you have a 9,10, or 11. If you have 8 or less hit and stand if you have 13 or more.

- When the dealer is showing a 2. You are still in a good situation, but the chances of the dealer busting is less likely, as the dealer getting 2 cards that total 20 is only about 10%. Because of this you should hit on 9, not doubling down. If you have 10 or 11 you can double down and hit on 12 and stand on 13 or more.

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FAQ

Soft Hand Strategy - We explain what to do when your holding a soft hand. Oh, and ALWAYS hit on soft 17!

Winning at Blackjack - It can be done by utilizing the correct strategies.

Interesting Facts

Did you know... that the chances (probability) of being dealt a blackjack is .024%, which equates to one BJ approximately every 42 hands dealt?