The rules of the game are fairly straightforward, but it’s important to follow the correct online blackjack strategy if you want to increase your chances of winning money at the tables. There are only a few actions that a player can take at the blackjack table: hitting, standing, splitting and doubling down. If a blackjack player wants to maintain the best odds of success, they must choose the correct action based on both their cards and the dealer’s cards.
Since we’ve already examined when to hit in blackjack, the next step is to examine when a player should stand in blackjack. This article will walk you through the basics and provide a clear strategy that will help you to win some real-money at the blackjack table.
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The Basics of Standing in Blackjack
In the game of blackjack, the term ‘standing’ means that you’re telling the dealer you don’t want any more cards and prefer to stay with your current total. Often referred to as ‘staying’, this action should be guided by strategy. Let’s have a look at some of the different scenarios where you should stand at the blackjack table.
The most obvious situation where you should stand in blackjack is when you already have a total of 17, 18, 19, 20 or 21. You should never hit in this position, regardless of what the dealer is showing. With such a high starting hand, you would most likely go bust (exceed a score of 21) if you draw an additional card. Another reason why you should stand in this position is that blackjack dealers must always hit on any hand of 16 or less, which gives players with a hand of 17 or higher a far greater chance of winning.
Dealer Showing Bust Potential
The first thing most players do at the blackjack table is look at the cards they’ve been dealt. However, it’s just as important to check what the dealer is showing. In blackjack, dealers are dealt their first card face up and the second card face down. Even with just one card showing, the dealer’s hand can play a pivotal role in dictating your next move. A good tip for beginner blackjack players is to always assume that any face down card has a value of 10. This may not always be the case, but it’s the most likely outcome given how many cards hold a value of 10.
Based on the assumption that the dealer’s hole card is a 10, blackjack players should stand when the dealer is showing a 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6. Since you’re strategically assuming that the dealer’s face down card is a 10, that means the dealer will be left with a 12, 13, 14 15 or 16 and forced to hit. Once again assuming the next card is another 10, the dealer will bust and you’ll be a winner.
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The Ace is a unique card at the blackjack table, as it has the value of both 1 and 11; its flexibility provides players with better odds of winning the hand. Any hand that includes an Ace is considered a “soft hand”. For example, an Ace and 7 would be considered a soft 18 since it can count as either 8 or 18. Generally speaking, you should always hit on a soft hand since you have the ability to improve your total without any risk of going bust. If you draw a 10, your Ace will simply count as 1 and your soft 18 becomes a hard 8.
With that being said, there are some exceptional situations where you’re better off standing with a soft hand. Let’s pretend that a blackjack player is holding a soft 20 (A-9) and the dealer is showing a 7. While you could draw another card since you have a soft hand, you’re better off staying because your hand is strong and there are very few cards in the deck that would improve your score.
Odds of the Dealer Busting
Often times when standing in blackjack, it means you are relying on the dealer going bust in order to win your hand. Whether you’re holding a 12 or 20, your hand will be an automatic winner if the dealer goes bust. While you can only see one of the dealer’s two cards, that’s still enough to calculate their odds of busting. In order to give you a better sense of your odds at the blackjack table, here’s a look at the dealer’s odds of busting based on their face up card.
BLACKJACK DEALER ODDSFace Up CardOdds of BustingPlayer Advantage235.3%9.8%337.6%13.4%440.3%18.0%542.9%23.2%642.1%23.9%726.0%14.3%823.9%5.4%923.3%-4.3%10/J/Q/K21.3%-16.9%A11.7%-16%
As you can see in the table above, the dealer’s odds of busting are impacted significantly by their initial card dealt face up. The percentages above indicate that a player will have a far better chance of winning the hand if the dealer’s face up card is 6 or less. This table also highlights the fact that blackjack players can gain a major advantage over the dealer in these scenarios. It’s important to note that the percentage of player advantages displayed in the table are only applicable if you follow basic blackjack strategy. By following all of the tips and strategy shared above, you’ll have a much better chance of winning a big money payout at the blackjack table.
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