When Should You Hit at Blackjack?

Blackjack

One of the reasons that blackjack has remained such a massively popular card game for so long is its simplicity. Anyone can get to grips with the rules and start playing.

The most important aspect of blackjack for any player to understand is when to hit and when to stand, so what are the different situations to take into account?

An Overall Look at Blackjack Strategy

Basic blackjack strategy is the term used to describe how you decide when to hit or stand, depending upon the cards that have been dealt. This information might sound quite complex, but you can quickly get up to speed by looking at the charts that break it all down for you.

By carrying out basic strategy, you aren’t guaranteeing that you will win every time you play. But you will be making sure that you are giving yourself the best possible chance of success. The RTP figure listed for blackjack games is based on players using this sort of strategy.

Remember that you want to get as close as possible to 21 without going over it, but the real key is in beating the dealer. Even a modest hand can be a winner if the dealer goes bust or has to stand on a lower total than yours.

The Toughest Hands to Play

It is clear that you don’t want to hit on a hand like 19 or 20. You have a good chance of winning with this sort of total, while asking for another card increases your risk of going bust. Therefore, standing is a smart move according to the mathematical aspect of blackjack.

At the opposite end of the scale, you won’t have too much trouble total deciding to hit on a low total where another card won’t see you go bust. If you have something 4, 5 or 6 in your hand the only decent thing to do is ask for another card.

This leaves us those tricky hands in the middle, where you run the risk of going bust but feel that the total is probably too low to win with. This covers the range of numbers from about 12 to 17, and this is the sort of hand where most inexperienced players struggle to make the right decisions.

The first thing you need to do is look to see if you have an ace in your hand. It’s great news if you do, as this card counts as either 1 or 11, making it a lot more difficult for your hand to go bust. Hands with aces in them that can be counted as 11 without going over 21 are called soft hands.

Therefore, you can be more aggressive and hit with a soft hand than with a hard hand that has no ace in it. This is most clearly seen on hands like 15 and 16, where having an ace lets you ask for another card with confidence.

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Another area that players often fail to take into account is the dealer’s face-up card. If they have a strong card like an ace or one with a value of 10 then their chances of getting blackjack is higher. This means that you are best being more aggressive and hitting rather than settling for a low total.

Advanced Strategies

All of the advice we have looked at so far is contained in the basic blackjack strategies that you can find online. A quick glance at a strategy chart lets you see what you should do in each situation, which makes playing this game so much easier.

However, there are also some more advanced strategies that you can use to increase your prospects of a win. These are called splitting and doubling down, which give you useful alternatives to hitting in certain circumstances.

Splitting is carried out when you have two cards of the same value and create a couple of separate hands with them. The best example of how this can work is with a 16 made up of a pair of 8s. This is a difficult hand to win with, but 2 hands that each have an 8 in them is a lot more promising.

If you have 2 aces then this isn’t as good a hand as it initially appears, as it adds up to either 12 or 2. Yet, if you split them out this gives you a couple of chances at getting blackjack by then receiving a card worth 10.

Doubling down is a tactic you can use to double your bet, but you then only get a single card to add to your hand. This is something you will do when you have a good total, and preferably if you have an ace in your hand.

By using these strategies, you will make the right decision on when to hit more often, which will improve your chances of winning money overall.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.