Before we get into our guide, let's review what we mean when saying "hit" and "stay." If you hit, you're asking to take another card. If you stay, you're saying no more cards for me—I'll take the hand I've got.
You’ve just gotten a pair of cards in blackjack, and now you’re wondering what to do next. Do you hit, or do you stand?
It depends! The rules are fairly simple: hit if the dealer’s face-up card is low. However, there are some nuances to these basic blackjack rules that’ll help you figure out whether to hit or stand.
In general, the most important rule is to check the dealer’s face-up card before you make any decision about hitting or standing. The higher that card is, the more likely the dealer has a blackjack (a hand with an Ace and a face card or 10).
You’ll also want to pay attention to the number of decks in use at your table; if there are multiple decks, your chances of getting dealt a blackjack are lower than if there were only one deck.
When to Hit and Stand With a Hard Hand
If you’re dealt a hard hand in blackjack, you don’t have an ace in your hand. It can make your choice whether to hit or stand tricky: sometimes, it’s unclear what you should do. See the following list for some general rules of thumb you can follow.
- If the value of your cards is between 17 and 21, you want to stand.
- If the value of your cards is between eight and 16, you want to hit.
- If the value of your cards is less than eight, or it’s a soft hand above 18, then it depends on the dealer’s face-up card.
- If it’s two through six: hit
- If it’s seven through ace: stand
When to Hit and Stand With a Soft Hand
When it comes to when you should hit or stand with a soft hand (a hand in which you can count an ace as 11 without going over 21), there are no hard-and-fast rules. If you’re going to play at a blackjack casino, you need to know the basic strategy for playing a soft hand.
- You should hit it every time if your total is less than 17.
- If your total is exactly 17 or more, you should stand every time.
The importance of this rule is that it doesn’t matter what the dealer has shown (their face-up card). What makes a soft hand tricky is that your chances of busting are lower than with a hard hand, but you’re also unlikely to hit 21, which means your chance of winning is lower.
The Basic Blackjack Strategy to Follow
There are many different blackjack strategies that’ll help you learn how to play blackjack, but some are more complicated than others. If you’re new to the game—or just looking for a simple way to play—this blackjack chart should be what you need!
Blackjack Chart for Hard Hand
|Dealer Face-Up Card Value|
|Hard Hand Value||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||A|
|17 – 21 ||STAND|
|13 – 16||STAND||STAND||STAND||STAND||STAND||HIT||HIT||HIT||HIT||HIT|
|11 and under||HIT|
Blackjack Chart for Soft Hand
|Dealer Face-Up Card Value|
|Soft Hand Value||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||A|
|A + 8 or 9||STAND|
|A + 7||STAND||STAND||STAND||STAND||STAND||STAND||STAND||HIT||HIT||HIT|
|A + 2 – 6||HIT|
Remember that whenever you decide to hit or stay, you must adequately weigh the odds and risks, taking into account all the current circumstances (dealer's hand and player's hand), and make your decision with composure.