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We will debunk the biggest mystery in blackjack — when to hit and stand based on your hand totals.
What Do Hit and Stand Actions Mean in Blackjack?
After you’re dealt the initial two cards in blackjack, you’ll be presented with several playing actions based on the format of the game. Hit and stand are the most important ones, and each involves the following:
- Stand — When you stand in blackjack, you’re refusing to take any more cards and holding your total. This means that you’re confident that your hand will beat the dealer during the showdown.
- Hit — Hit is the exact opposite of stand. By hitting, you’re asking for an additional card to improve your total and your chances against the dealer’s hand. You can opt to hit for as long as you don’t go bust (exceed 21).
Mathematically, it makes sense to stand if your total is high (close to 21) and hit when your hand is of low value.
However, things are not so black and white because there are external factors to consider. These include the number of decks and house rules (whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17).
Hand composition (the concept of soft and hard hands) is also important. Soft hands are those that comprise an ace, while hard hands are made of other cards.
Side bet availability should also be factored in (for example, surrender is an advisable action when the dealer’s up card is an Ace or 10).
Decisions on whether to hit or stand are outlined in the basic strategy, which can be helpful, especially if you’re a beginner.
Learn When To Hit or Stand in Blackjack
Impact of Soft and Hard Hand Totals
Blackjack experts and mathematicians have devised a “blackjack hit table”, which shows you when to hit and when to stand depending on your and the dealer’s total and the respective hand compositions.
Here’s how the chart looks when you’re dealt a hard hand:
When it comes to soft hands, the situation is much more straightforward. Here are a few pointers to have in mind:
- Always stand on soft 19 or 20
- Stand when you have soft 18 against the dealer’s 2–8
- If the dealer shows 9–ace, you should hit on a soft 17 or less
Blackjack Hit or Stand Charts
Looking for hit or stand charts for a specific game? Use the links below to select your chart.
- Single Deck Blackjack
- Multi-Deck Blackjack
- Atlantic City Blackjack
- Double Attack Blackjack
- Blackjack Switch
- European Blackjack
- Perfect Pairs Blackjack
- Zappit Blackjack
Learning when to hit and stand is the cornerstone of the basic strategy in blackjack. When you master it, you’ll be able to bring down the house edge to the coveted 0.5% and gain as much value from your sessions as possible. With the help of techniques like card counting, you can reduce the house edge even further.
The decision of whether to hit or stand is casino and variant-specific and also depends on some other factors. That’s why it’s recommendable that you try the demo mode (offered in RNG-based blackjack variants) before taking the plunge with real money action.
In the event you are ready to put your knowledge into practice, we can recommend a few great blackjack sites for you to check out.