Blackjack is a skill-based game, meaning that if you rely solely on luck, you are bound to lose in the long term. The outcome of every hand can be significantly influenced if you apply a basic strategy correctly. The choice whether to hit or stand is often a tough one, however if you are aware of the main usage of these two options, you will be able to make the best move in a particular situation and decrease the house edge greatly.
Therefore, it is essential to get familiar with these two basic moves and all of the situations in which it is best to make them as this way you will be able to acquire a better understanding of the game.
The Moves Hit and Stand
One of the choices which you will inevitably have to make in every blackjack game, after you have placed your bet and you have received your first two cards, is whether to hit or stand. In blackjack, hitting simply means drawing another card which is given to you face up. You can indicate this move by tapping the table with one finger. Players usually perform this move when their hand is weak in an attempt to improve its total and beat the dealer.
The second option you have when playing blackjack is to stand or in other words, to end your turn without drawing a card. If you opt for this move, the total value of your hand remains the same and the game continuous accordingly. In order to indicate it, you have to move your hand horizontally above the table. In most cases, players choose to stand when the total value of their hand is satisfactory or when their chances of busting are high.
These two basic moves play a crucial role in every game as in most cases, you are required to choose one of them and this choice will determine whether the outcome of your hand will be positive or negative. In contrast to other moves such as splitting and doubling down, hitting and standing are two options which are always available, regardless of the variation and the casino.
When to Hit
As already mentioned, the main reason why you should hit is to simply try to improve the total in your hand. It is important to always bear in mind that your objective is to reach twenty one or a total that is as close to this number as possible, however without surpassing it as this instantly results in a loss. Another thing worth noting is that it has been calculated that the average winning hand in blackjack is 18.5, meaning that in order to win, it is not always essential to have precisely twenty one points.
In order to decide when it is best to hit, it is also really important to take into account your odds of busting. For instance, if you choose to take a hit and you have a hand whose total is seventeen, your chances of busting are 69% but if your hand totals eleven or less, the odds are 0%. The reason why is that there isn’t any card in the deck that will cause you to go over twenty one and therefore, you cannot instantly lose.
By drawing another card, you will be able to improve your hand and increase your chances of beating the dealer as at the end of every round, the winner is the person who has the highest total. In general, hitting is the most frequently used move in blackjack due to the fact that it gives players the opportunity to form a higher total by getting an additional card. However, there are some situations in which this move is not beneficial and it is best to be avoided.
When to Stand
In general, you should stand when you think that the total in your hand is enough to make you a winner. Since your decisions should be always based on your total as well as the up card of the dealer, if he has a high valued card and if you believe that his chances of busting are high, then in such cases it is also a good idea to stand. Many players forget that this is another way to win the game and often undertake unnecessary risks by drawing another card in an attempt to improve their hand, however in most cases they achieve exactly the opposite effect.
According to the basic strategy, there are some situations in which it is always best to stand, regardless of the up card of the dealer. If you have an ace and a eight or an ace and a nine, then you should always stand. The reason why is that these card combinations are among the best ones that you can get in blackjack and thus, it is almost impossible to improve such hands. In such situations you should stand and remain in this beneficial position in order to make the most of them. It is really important to know how to act in these two particular cases and to never misplay these hands as they give you great chances of winning. Any other move, including doubling down, will most likely place you in a weaker position or will cause you to lose.
Another situation in which it is best to stand is if you have a total of twelve and the up card of the dealer is a four, a five or a six. It is also recommended to perform this move if your hand totals thirteen, fourteen, fifteen or sixteen and the up card of the dealer is from two through six. For the rest of the time in the aforementioned cases, your best choice will be to hit. There are two more situations in which the basic strategy calls for standing. The first one is when you have a soft 18 hand and the dealer’s up card is a two, a seven or an eight and the second one is when you have a pair of 9’s and the up card of the dealer is a seven, a ten or an ace.
Soft 17 Rule
In blackjack, you have the chance to decide whether to hit or stand by taking into account the total of your hand and it is possible to choose to act differently every time. However, when it comes to the dealer, this is not the case as he must act according to the established rules. His play is automatic, meaning that the moves he must make are already determined by the rules of the game. The soft 17 rule indicates the way he must play in case he has at least a soft 17 hand. This rule can differ from one casino to another, however it is very easy to figure out whether the dealer stands or hits on these card combinations as usually it is displayed on the table along with the payout for blackjack.
The reason why it is so important to know in advance whether the dealer is required to hit or stand on soft 17 is that this rule has a significant impact on the house edge. In most cases, the dealer stands on soft 17 or more and hits on 16 or less which works in favor of the casino. Thus, you should search for variations which enforce him to hit on soft 17 instead as this rule increases the dealer’s chances of going bust. It is really important to consider it beforehand as this way you will be able to adjust your basic strategy accordingly and make the best decisions for your moves.
If you know when to hit and when to stand, you can significantly improve your game and increase your chances of winning. Blackjack is a casino game with already fairly low house edge and if you apply a basic strategy correctly, you can influence the outcome of every hand to a huge extent and win consistently. If you want to be able to make the best move, it is not enough to know the rules of the game and to take into account the total of your hand. You should also consider your odds of winning in a particular situation and the up card of the dealer as they play a crucial role for the outcome of the hand.