Blackjack Strategy: Easy Tips to know when to hit or stand in Blackjack
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One of the most difficult choices new blackjack players face is knowing when to hit or stand. Many players have their own blackjack strategy. Pros usually know the right time to hit or stand by following strategies they have developed over the years.
There are other bold players that have mastered how to count cards instead. But this is now hard, especially with the increase in online gambling.
What is “hit or stand” in Blackjack?
In blackjack, a “hit” means that you want to pick another card from the deck. Players make a “hit” when they have a high chance of getting a hand close to or equal to 21. When playing in land-based casinos, you don’t have to say “hit” or “hit me.” You can simply signal by tapping the table or cards with your finger.
A “stand” means that you want to stick with the two cards in your hand. You can decide to “stand” when you think you have a high chance of winning or if you will “bust” if you pick another card.
These two moves are the basic ones in blackjack, although there are others.
Here is a simple explanation of the blackjack game and some of the moves to make.
The dealer deals with two cards for you and himself. One of the dealer’s cards is face down, while the other one is face up.
The cards have points based on their rank. The points of the numeric card are their numbers. Each of the jacks, queens, and kings is worth 10 points. The ace is either worth 1 point or 11 points, depending on what works for the hand.
Your total score is simply the number of points from the two cards added together.
The winner of the bet is the one with the higher number of points. However, if your points are equal to or more than 22, you “bust.” This means you lose automatically.
So now the game’s moves should make more sense. When you “hit,” you pick another card as long as you are sure your hand will not exceed 22. Or you can decide to “stand” so that the dealer plays their hand.
What happens when you go bust?
In blackjack, the player goes first. So, it is important that you do not go bust. When you bust, you automatically lose your bet without the dealer playing their hand.
As the total points of the cards in your hand get higher, the higher the chance that the next one will bust it. For example, if the total of cards is 10, it cannot go bust. This is because the highest total you can get is 21, which is the best point total you can have.
Also, if the total is 11, you cannot go bust. The ace that is also worth 11 will now be worth 1, so your total is 12. This is why you would never stand on 10 or 11.
But when the total in your hand is 12, you can go bust when you pick a card. The cards that are worth 10 will bust you, while 9 or lower will improve your total points.
The cards that can improve your total are aces, 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s, 7s, 8s, and 9s. There are four each of these cards making 36 cards in all.
There are also 16 cards that can bust you. These are the 10s, jacks, queens, and kings. There are four of each.
Since there are 52 cards in a deck, the probability of getting a card that will improve your points is 36/52. On the other hand, the probability of going bust is 16/52.
Generally, it is a good idea to hit when a card will improve you 2/3 of the time. So, since 36/52 is slightly larger than 2/3, then you should take the card.
Considering the Dealer’s card before you hit or stand
However, blackjack is more than just calculating probability. You also need to consider the card the dealer has face-up.
Let’s say you have a total of 16. The cards that can improve you are aces, 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s. Altogether, there are 20 cards. There are 32 cards left to bust you. Using the probability, 20/52 is far less than 2/3, so you might think you should stand.
This is not always the right move. The right blackjack strategy to follow when you have a total of 16 is to look at the dealer’s face-up card. If the card is a 6 or lower, then you should stand. But if it is a 7 or higher, you should hit it.
Although it is more likely for you to lose because the dealer has a strong hand, you must take a big risk to get your best chance of winning. In fact, to increase your chances of winning, no matter your total, you should always consider the dealer’s card.
What are soft and hard hands?
Another thing to consider before you hit or stand is whether you have a soft or hard total.
Let’s see what this means.
Do not forget that you can count the ace as either 1 or 11 points. If you have an ace in your hand and you can count it as 1 or 11 without going bust, then that is a soft hand. However, if you have to count the ace as a 1 so that you do not go bust, then it is a hard hand.
When you have a soft hand, you tend to hit more often because you have a lower chance of going bust.
Let’s say your hand contains an ace and a two. That is a soft hand with a total of 13 points. If you hit and pick a 9, you will count the ace as one point instead of 11. That makes your total come to 12.
Other Blackjack Strategies Apart From Hit or Stand
There are other moves you can make in blackjack apart from “hit or stand.” They include:
Split: If you have two cards that have the same rank, you can choose to split your hand. Here, you will place another bet and have two hands instead of just one. These two hands are separate from each other.
You can only split immediately after the cards are dealt. When you split, you get the chance to double your winnings, but it can also double your losses.
Generally, the advice is to split when you have two aces or eights. This is because when you get two aces, there are more 10-point cards in the deck. This means that you have a high chance of getting at least one 21.
Also, when you split the eights, you have more chances of winning than with one hand of 16. If you get two nines, you should split when the dealer’s face-up card is a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, or 9. It is advisable to stand when the dealer has a 7, 10, or ace.
Double down: This is when a player doubles his bet after seeing his cards. It is the same thing as a hit. There are only two things to note:
You must double your bet.
You can only pick one card.
It is common for players to double down when they have a total of 10 or 11. This is because you can not bust when you hit.
If you don’t like your chances after picking a card, you can surrender. This means you have no chance to win, but you will only lose half of the bet.
The Blackjack Strategy Table
The blackjack strategy table gives you the best possible odds of winning. This table practically tells you what to do at any point in time.
The table is easy to understand and apply. On the top of the table, you have the dealer’s face-up card. Then, on the left hand side, it shows all the cards that the player could possibly have. All you have to do is look for the dealer’s card on the table and go to the corresponding column of the cards you have to know what to do.
Note that this table is proven by probability, so it is not certain. It was generated by simulating millions of blackjack hands and choosing the ones with the best results.
To answer the question, “When to hit or stand in Blackjack?” Simply follow your strategy. Every professional blackjack player has one, and it is important for you to have yours too. Knowing when to hit or stand is more than just calculating the probability. You must consider the dealer’s cards.
So, do you feel ready to play? Register to any casino of your choice and start playing now.
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