When Should You Hit or Stay in Blackjack?
During a pretty intense game of 21, you’ve probably wondered: “When should you hit or stay in Blackjack?” and struggled to find answers. Most of the time, you should hit when you have a total of eight or less. Conversely, you should stand on 17, 19, or 20 to possibly win the round if the dealer has a high card.
While this might seem simple enough, some nuances will affect each variation of blackjack offered online. For example, some versions allow the dealer’s cards to be face-down, while others have a face-up and down. More so, the number of decks at play will affect your chances of getting a winning total.
Since blackjack’s main rule requires you to beat the dealer with a total closer to 21, you need to have two high-value cards. So, let’s take a look at when you should hit or stand in this game.
When to Hit or Stay
While playing, you have to consider your hand total before deciding whether to hit or stay. There are some other moves, but these will affect your gameplay the most. Most pro players recommend playing a blackjack variant with a dealer up-card because you can make an informed decision.
There’s nothing wrong with versions that don’t. It’s just easier to predict your totals this way. But, you should also consider soft hands, like a soft 16, soft 17, soft 18, or soft 19. These have an ace counted as 11, which could give the dealer a win.
So, when the dealer shows their up-card, you can consider these totals from the first deal:
- Five to Eight: always hit
- Nine: hit if the dealer shows a two, or seven through ace
- Ten: hit if the dealer has a 10 or ace
- 11: hit if the dealer has an ace
- 12: stand if the dealer shows a four, five, or six; hit on two, three, or seven through ace
- 13–16: stand if the dealer shows two, three, four, five, or six; hit on seven to ace (11)
- 17–21: always stand
But, if you’re playing with multiple decks, you should keep these in mind:
- Multi-deck blackjack: don’t hit on a Hard 17 or 11 if the dealer has an ace.
- Double-decks: never hit on 8 against a dealer’s 2 (double down instead) and don’t hit 11 against an ace.
- Single deck: never take another card at 8 against a dealer five and six, or 9 against a 2, or an 11 against an ace.
Other Moves for Players
When you’re not sure what to do, study a blackjack strategy chart to choose when to hit or stay. These will be specified for the number of decks so you can reference them quickly. Also, try to look for charts specific to variants as well when you’re playing with side bets or surrenders.
Further, check the house edge to ensure that you get the best payouts for each session. This forms part of a successful playing strategy that can minimize your losses.
But, we don’t recommend card counting in online blackjack, because you’ll never keep up with the random number generators (RNGs). Instead, consider a basic strategy to improve your chances of winning.
With that, test out these rules at an online casino on the virtual or live casino tables!