As arguably the most popular online casino game of them all, blackjack can be enjoyed by both beginners and experienced card players, alike. While most gamblers have played online blackjack at one point or another, some may not always be sure of when to hit and when to stay when playing at an online casino. Blackjack may be a game of chance, but learning the appropriate situations to draw cards can reduce the house edge and help boost your odds of winning.
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Before we jump right into blackjack strategy, it’s important that you have a solid understanding of how to play the popular casino game. The term ‘hit’ in online blackjack means you’re choosing to draw another card from the dealer in an attempt to improve your hand. It’s always good to increase the value of your hand, but you can also run the risk of exceeding 21 and going bust. On the flip side, the term ‘stay’ or ‘stand’ in online blackjack signals to the dealer that you do not want any more cards for the rest of the hand. The key to knowing when to hit or stay in online blackjack depends on two main factors: your opening hand and the dealer’s face-up card. Bovada Casino provides an excellent beginner’s guide to online blackjack that will cover all of the game’s basics and this article will walk you through when to hit and stand in various blackjack scenarios.
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When To Hit In Blackjack
Opening Hand of 11 or Less
When deciding whether to hit or stay while playing blackjack, the first step is to look at your opening hand. You should always hit if your hand’s total score is low and you have no chance of busting on the next card (even if you pull a 10 or face card). For example, if you start with a 3-2 for a total of 5, you should always choose to hit since there’s no risk of going over 21.
With 10 being the highest ‘hard’ score in the deck, this hitting scenario would apply to all opening hands totaling 11 or less. There are always exceptions and sometimes it may be more advantageous to split or double down instead of just hitting, but that would also depend on what the dealer is showing.
Opening Hand of 12 to 16
Things can get a bit more complicated when you’re opening hand is between 12 and 16. This is because you often need to hit in this scenario but another card could lead you to bust and lose your bet. Keep in mind, there are 16 cards in the deck with a value of 10 (4 x 10-J-Q-K), meaning it’s the most likely card to come next.
If you find yourself with a total hand score of 12 to 16, the next step is to check what the dealer is showing. This is important as the dealer must hit on 16 or less and stand on 17 or more. Based on those rules, you should always stay at 12 to 16 if the dealer is showing 2 to 6. If we assume the dealer’s hole card has a value of 10, that would give them a hypothetical total of 12 to 16 and they’d be forced to draw another card. Once again assuming that the next card has a value of 10, it will be the dealer going bust instead of you. It’s important to understand that these rules are based on the odds of probability, so the next card won’t always hold a value of 10. With that being said, playing the correct way over time will definitely improve your chances of winning at the blackjack table.
As mentioned earlier, there are always exceptions to these rules and you may want to split or double down in some of these scenarios. For example, if you have a total hand value of 11 and the dealer is showing a 6, you may prefer to double down rather than simply hitting.
Another important exception to mention is when you have a soft hand. A soft hand in blackjack refers to a hand that includes an ace. The ace can be worth both 1 and 11 in blackjack, so the total of a hand with this card is considered ‘soft’ as it can change based on future cards drawn. For example, an A-5 would have a total value of 6 or 16. If you drew another card and got a 10, you would stay at 16 instead of busting since the ace would become worth only 1.
This unique ability to shift values between 1 and 11 can create additional exceptions where players can double down in unorthodox scenarios. Let’s return to the previous example where you had an A-5 and the dealer was showing a 6. Now normally you should always stand with a 16 into a 6, but things are different with a soft 16. Some blackjack players choose to double down in this scenario, based on the assumption that the dealer is likely to bust.
When To Stand In Blackjack?
Opening Hand of 17 or More
It should be easier to handle these situations since you should always stay when you have a total score of 17 or more in blackjack. With a goal of reaching as close to 21 as you can without going over, making a hand of 17 or higher is pretty darn good. The mistake some players make in this scenario is coming unglued when they see the dealer showing a strong card of 10 or A. It doesn’t matter what the dealer is showing, you should always stand with 17 or more!
As mentioned with the other sections, there are of course exceptions to these rules. While you should never split 10s or break up a made hand, you may be in a position to double down if you have a soft hand. For example, if you have an A-6 and the dealer is showing a 5 or 6, you can consider doubling down. This is not a rule written in stone but rather a way to get more money in play when the odds are slightly shifted in your favor.
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There we have Blackjack tips for when to hit also when to stay. With several variations of the popular casino game including Classic, European and Perfect Pairs, head over to Bovada Casino for all of the real-money blackjack action you can handle. So you can begin playing all of our thrilling online casino games, you will first need to sign up to Bovada! After you create an account, you can begin playing online blackjack, Hot Drop Jackpots, slots and more. Additionally, you will also be able to enjoy some online sports betting too!