When to hit or stand in blackjack

Profile Picture: Simon Young

July 3rd, 2020

Blackjack is fundamentally fun and straightforward to play. Generally, you have just two decisions to make during each round: whether to hit or to stand.

To hit means asking the dealer for another card and nudging towards the magic number of 21, hopefully without busting. To stand means declining to take any further cards, and to sit tight with your current total, hoping it either beats the dealer score, or the dealer goes bust.

That all sounds rather easy, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because it is! All you must do is follow a basic blackjack strategy of when you should hit or stand. Keeping to the best strategy cuts the house edge in blackjack to under 1%, and that means getting more entertainment for your money at online casinos like BetAmerica Casino. Plus, you have more chance of walking away from a session with a profit.

When to stand in blackjack

Basic strategy suggests that your own two starting cards are not as crucial as the dealer up card. This is because the law of probability indicates the dealer’s second card will be valued ten. Knowing that the dealer must always take another card up to a total of 17, some up cards make him weak.

And when the dealer is weak, the player can afford to take fewer risks and stand with poor starting hands.

For example, if the dealer shows a six, it’s likely his face-down card is a ten, nine, or eight, giving a weak total of 14, 15, or 16. Now he has to take another card – and likely bust. By thinking ahead like this, you can make a correct decision to stand with any two cards from value 12 up. Why risk busting when the chances are that’s what the dealer will do?

When to hit in blackjack

Using the same logic, we can see when the dealer shows a strong up card, players must hit more often to try and finish with a high total.

So, if the dealer shows a ten or a picture card, it’s likely his down card will be another ten or perhaps a nine or eight, giving him a total of 20, 19 or 18. Now, we must widen our range and hit even if we have 16.

Of course, it’s maddening to bust in this scenario and then watch forlornly as the dealer turns over a four, making 14, and then a ten so that he busts as well. But you must adopt the basic strategy and stick to it. Think of blackjack as a long-term mission, not a one-off game. By making the right call about when to hit or stand in blackjack, you will significantly improve your chances.

Do a quick search online for basic blackjack strategy charts, which will give you the optimum play depending on the dealer’s up card. We have not discussed when to double down or split in this article. That’s another layer of strategy you can take on board once you are comfortable with blackjack hit or stand.

Nothing beats practice

Once you start trying out a solid but basic strategy for yourself, you will start noticing a difference in your results. The best way to begin is by not risking a cent of your own money. You can play for free at BetAmerica Casino.

When you are comfortable, make your first deposit, take the new player bonus package, and hit the real money tables, including the  live dealer blackjack tables.

Win free spins every week in our BetAmerica Casino!