Blackjack has always attracted passionate gamblers because it’s a relatively simple game to play. However, many players wonder when’s the most opportune time to hit to get Blackjack. This article offers answers to this question, so make sure you read it all before taking a seat at your next Blackjack table.
Blackjack—When to Hit?
Although numerous gamblers love Blackjack due to its simplicity and clear rules, there may still be some doubts about the timing of your hits, for instance, when to ask for another card and when to stand and wait for the dealer to act. That’s why I’m here to show you some basic Blackjack strategies that’ll instill additional confidence into your game and improve your gameplay overall.
For starters, the primary goal of this casino game is to get as close as possible to the total, 21, or to beat the dealer by having a higher score than them. One of the most important things players have to look out for in Blackjack is decreasing the house edge—the advantage the house has over the players. Experienced players who have studied the game, and devised strategies for the same, believe that, just by applying the basic playing strategies, you can successfully lower the common house edge of 5% to as much as 0.5% in favor of the player.
Before we start discussing the strategy, let’s see how a typical game of Blackjack plays out. In essence, both you and the dealer want the same thing, to reach the total sum of 21, or to get as close to it as you possibly can.
Face cards count as ten while Aces have two functions. They can either be used as one or as eleven, depending on what suits you best.
In a game of Blackjack, both participants get two cards at the start. The only difference, however, is that for the player both cards are revealed straight away, whereas the dealer has one card face up while the other stays hidden. The player opens the game by deciding whether or not to hit, and get an additional card, or to stand. Additionally, the players have two options at their disposal in the opening round. They can either double down—double their original bet to get an additional card from the deck—or split a pair, if that would increase their chance of getting Blackjack. Consequently, you cannot split or double down later in the game.
If by any chance you get 21 straight away and hit Blackjack, you get paid out. Otherwise, if you go over, you go bust, and you automatically lose the game.
After all the players have played their hands, it’s up to the dealer to make the next move. The dealer shows his hidden card and counts his score. However, the dealer doesn’t get to make his own decisions, as he has to follow set rules. For instance, if he’s holding 16 or less, he has to draw. Likewise, if he’s holding 17 or more, he has to stand.
Now, seeing how we’ve gone over the main rules of Blackjack, it’s high time we turned our attention elsewhere. Namely, to the strategy that gives you an advantage over the house.
The Basic Blackjack Strategy
Though, before we start, I’d also like to point out that even though there’s a lot of numbers and math involved, you shouldn’t be intimidated by them; once you get the hang of it, you’ll start seeing better results in no time. Now, the strategy goes as follows:
- If you hold any total between 4 and 8, while the dealer’s card ranges somewhere between 7 and 10—or he has an Ace—you should hit.
- If a dealer has an Ace and you have 11, or if the dealer’s card is 10 and your total is also 10, you should hit.
- If a dealer’s card is between 2 and 6, while you’re holding a total of 13, you should stand.
- Never try splitting a pair of tens or face cards, as that would lead to a bust; in those cases, it’s better to just stand.
- Never split a pair of fives, double down or just hit instead.
- You should never split low pairs if the dealer’s card is higher than 7.
- You should always consider splitting Aces and a pair of 8s.
- You should always opt for doubling down if you hold a total ranging from 9 to 11 because you stand a better chance of winning Blackjack with an additional card; providing that the dealer’s card isn’t a 10 or an Ace.
Most Commonly Misplayed Hands
The double role of the Ace card can often cause some confusion which can then easily lead to misplayed hands. Namely, the unwritten rule of Blackjack states that you should always stand if you have 17 in total. However, if you hold a ‘soft’ 17 made up of an Ace and a 6, you should always hit and get one additional card as the Ace counts as a 1 and as an 11. The same goes for when you have a ‘soft’ 18 or a ‘soft’ 19 combination as well. These are some fundamental rules you have to follow to be successful in a game of Blackjack. Apart from that, there are some Blackjack players out there that love experimenting with different strategies and go on to study various charts to improve their game.
At the end of the day, whichever strategy you may choose, it’ll pay off in the long run; if you play your cards right. You know what they say “practice makes perfect,” so don’t give up on Blackjack too soon and good luck.