Blackjack: When to Hit and When to Stand
Fans of Kenny Rogers know that, as far as Poker goes, you’ve got to know when to hold them and when to fold them. Seeing as the writer of the hit song, the Gambler, couldn’t have spared a thought for Blackjack players and written about hitting and standing instead, we will.
We understand that the words ‘hold’ and ‘fold’ rhyme, but 21 is the most popular card game in the world. Why? Because it combines luck and strategy. Of all casino games, it gives players a fighting chance by putting them on an even footing with the house. Surely it could’ve got a mention in the hit song?
Sure, you can adopt a willy-nilly approach and make random guesses while playing, in the hope that your luck will hold out. You might even win a few hands that way. The better way, however, is to learn a basic strategy, and then to expand your knowledge from there.
Why You Can Use Strategy
Whether you play a Blackjack game in which the shoe contains 1, 8, or any other number of card decks, you can use strategy. This is because the number of cards used means that there are only so many combinations that could appear on the table.
For example, in 8-deck games, a hand worth 21 points is likely to be dealt every 22 hands. Most strategies are based on the odds of specific cards being revealed as the hole card.
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When to Hit
If you are new to playing Blackjack or to learning strategy, we recommend starting with single-deck games. You can always expand your gaming experience and the strategies you learn as your skills and knowledge of the game improve.
Hitting is the term used to describe taking another card. At the start of a round, you are dealt 2 cards, and need a maximum of 21 points to beat the dealer. The most important thing you can learn is to hit when you have a total of 8 points or less. It does not matter what the dealer’s card is. It matters that you have a low score, and improving it by hitting gives you a better chance of beating the dealer. You can also hit if your 2 cards add up to 10 or 11 points, which is also an ideal scenario for doubling down, which involves doubling your bet and taking a third card.
When to Stand
Standing means to play the hand you were dealt at the start of the round. This is done when there is a good chance your total, even if it is less than 21, is still strong enough to beat the dealer’s.
Stand if your hand is worth 12 points or more and the dealer’s face-up card is a 5 or 6, or if your hand is worth 13 points or more, and the dealer has a 2 or 3. You can also stand if you have 17 points or more and the dealer has a 7 or higher.