Here are some examples of when to hit and when not to hit in blackjack to maximize your chances of profit.
When Should You Not Hit In Blackjack?
In certain situations, the blackjack betting strategy requires players to stand and avoid hitting simply. The following are some examples of when players should not hit based on their blackjack hand and the dealer’s upcard:
- The player has a hard total of 17 or higher.
- The player’s total is 13+, while the dealer’s is 2-6.
- The player has a soft 20 (an Ace-9).
- The player’s total is 12 to the dealer’s 4-6.
- The player has a soft 18 with A7, while the dealer has 2, 7, and 8.
- Unless they are doubling down against a 6 in a table where the dealer must hit a soft 17, the player has a soft 19 with A8.
In another case, if the dealer has a card between 7 and Ace, the player should only stop hitting when they have a 17 or higher. Similarly, if the dealer shows small cards like 2 through 6, the player should avoid hitting and instead stand.
You Should Hit These Hands
There are a few hands that you must hit, according to the basic blackjack guide and the game rules. Let us begin with one of the most feared and difficult hands for beginners to play: hard 16. A hard 16 is a hand that does not have an ace, or if it does, the ace counts as one. A hard 16 can be anything from 10-6 to 5-7-4 to 7-8-ace.
Even though it is a strong hand, a player should only stand with hard 16 when up against a dealer’s 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. When the dealer has a high card, such as a 7, 8, 9, 10, or ace, the player should hit to increase their chances of winning.
In other cases, hitting is the best option for the player. If the dealer’s upcard is a 2 or 3 and the player’s hand is 12 or less, the dealer must hit because he has a 36% chance of going bust. No matter what the dealer is showing, a player should hit on 11 or less.
The player should hit on a 16 or less if the dealer has a 7, 8, 9, 10, or any of the face cards. If the dealer’s upcard is an ace, the best strategy is to hit on 16 or less. This is due to the player having a 31% chance of getting a blackjack, as well as the dealer having more options to score between 17 and 21.
Split And Double Opportunities
Aside from hitting and standing, there are two other everyday playing decisions: splitting and doubling down.
If two hole cards are a pair, the player is given the option to split them. They must decide to split the pair immediately after the cards are dealt; otherwise, the hand is played commonly. The player can double their winnings if they break the team into two standard hands by matching the original bet with a second wager.
When the player is dealt a pair of 9s and the dealer has a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, or 9, the player has a favorable situation and opportunity to split. However, if the dealer has a 7, 10, or Ace, you should stand. Similarly, if you have a pair of 6s and the dealer has a card between 2 and 6, splitting is the best strategy. If the player has a 7 and the dealer has a card between 2 and 7, splitting is also an option.
Doubling down is a bet that allows the player to double the value of their bet but only allows them to take one card. There are some situations where doubling down is the best bet. The player can double down if he has a hard 9 and the dealer’s upcard is 2-6.
Similarly, doubling down is the best bet if the player has a hard 10 and the dealer’s face-up card is less than a 10. When the player has an 11-card hand, it is profitable to double down against every dealer upcard except an ace.
Another good time to double down is when the player has a soft 16, 17, or 18 and the dealer’s face-up card is a pair of sixes. It is best to double down if the player has an ace in the first two-card hand along with a 5, 6, or 7, and the dealer has a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. This is due to the fact that the ace can be worth 1 or 11, and taking one more card in this situation can significantly improve the player’s hand.
Is It Necessary to Use a Blackjack Strategy Card?
A blackjack strategy card summarizes the best course of action a player can take based on their hand and the dealer’s upcard. If you are unfamiliar with basic strategy, you can use a blackjack strategy card at the table. Most casinos allow the use of a blackjack strategy card, which can be purchased in-person or online for around $5. A strategy card can be very useful for new players who are still gaining experience and implementing strategies.
When Should You Get Blackjack Insurance?
Insurance is a side bet available to players that assume the dealer has a natural blackjack because their up card is an ace. Except in a few cases where it can actually benefit the player, insurance is usually a bad bet.
When playing single-deck blackjack, this is one of those times. Consider the following example:
During the first round of the game, the player sees the value of 14 cards, one of which is a 10 and the rest are less than a 10. The deck now contains 38 cards, 15 of which are tens. Should you accept insurance on your hand because the dealer’s upcard is an ace?
Given that 15 of the remaining 38 cards are tens, we can calculate that the dealer has a blackjack roughly 40% of the time. When the odds of the dealer having blackjack are this high, taking insurance is a good idea.
Understanding when to hit and when not to hit in blackjack is critical to increasing your chances of winning at the table.
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