How to Play a 10 and an 11 in Blackjack | LeoVegas

How to Play a 10 and an 11 in Blackjack

Blackjack is a game of skill, meaning strategic decision-making is crucial if you're looking to maximize your chances of success. Players must be familiar with all possible card combinations between their hand and the dealer's to come out on top when playing blackjack.

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Keep reading if you wish to familiarize yourself with optimal blackjack strategies for playing a 10 and an 11 in blackjack to enhance your overall gameplay.

The Value of Having a 10 or an 11 in Blackjack

When a player’s hand totals a value of 10 or 11 in blackjack, the scale significantly tips in their favour. A total of 10 or 11 allows players to hit without the fear of busting and pursue higher-value cards to improve their blackjack hand. This strategic advantage opens up opportunities for achieving the coveted 21 and beating the dealer.

Playing a 10 in Blackjack

When playing a 10 in blackjack, your approach depends on whether it's a soft 10 (hand with an Ace) or a hard 10 (hand without an Ace).

For a hard total of 10, such as 8-2, 7-3, 5-5, or 6-4, players arguably should double down when the dealer's upcard is 2 through 9. This strategy aims to maximize profits by taking advantage of a solid total against a dealer with a weaker upcard. Doubling down on a hard 10 yields a higher positive expected value in the long run compared to hitting. However, when the dealer's upcard is 10 or an Ace, hitting is preferable to doubling down.

Soft 10

In terms of playing a soft 10, players can, again, consider doubling down if the dealer’s upcard is 2-9. However, hitting is the better option if the dealer’s upcard is a 10 or an Ace. The Ace gives players much flexibility here; however, the upcard is all important. If a player doubles down and the dealer scores high, this could result in the player losing two hands of blackjack.

Playing an 11 in Blackjack

There's no such concept as a soft 11 in blackjack because any combination totalling 11, with or without an Ace, is already a 21, aka the best possible outcome in the game. Therefore, the concept of a ‘soft 11’ is irrelevant. On the other hand, a hard 11 typically consists of two non-Ace cards totalling 11. When holding a hard 11, players are in a prime position to double down, an opportunity that should almost always be seized.

However, if the dealer is showing an ace upcard, it is best to simply hit as their chances of dealing themselves a blackjack are relatively high.

Doubling Down with a 10 or an 11

Doubling down in blackjack refers to a strategy where players decide to double their original bet after receiving the first two cards, with the condition of drawing only one additional card. Doubling down is risky since you can lose twice as much money if you don't win. However, only the flip side, a win will double your profits.

Doubling down with a hand value of 10 in blackjack is smart when the dealer has a weak upcard, like a 2 through 9. This strategy aims to take advantage of the favourable odds of drawing a high-value card and achieving a strong hand.

Splitting Pairs Involving 10s and 11s

Pair splitting involves dividing a dealt pair of cards into two separate hands, each with its own independent bet. Regarding pairs of 10s, like two 10s or two face cards, it's generally recommended that you avoid splitting. A pair of 10s already form a strong hand with a total of 20, making splitting unnecessary.

Regardless of the dealer's upcard, the best move in this situation is to stand. This strategy is widely supported by professional players and is recognized as one of the best moves in such a scenario. You also need to remember that if the dealer has a blackjack, we can do nothing anyway. Good blackjack players accept that they can't win every hand.

Dealer's Upcard Influence

In blackjack, the dealer's upcard plays a pivotal role in shaping a player's strategy, as it allows you to understand the potential strength of the dealer's hand. The upcard helps players gauge the risk and adapt their strategy accordingly.

For instance, if the dealer reveals a weak upcard, like a 2 through 6, players might choose to stand on a lower hand total, anticipating the dealer's likelihood of busting. On the other hand, if the dealer's upcard is strong, such as a 7 through Ace, players may need to be more aggressive in pursuing higher hand totals.


Below are a few commonly asked questions associated with playing a 10 and an 11 in blackjack.

What is the best move with a soft 10?

The best move with a soft 10, which includes an Ace, primarily depends on the dealer’s upcard. If the dealer’s upcard is a 2 through 9, it is recommended to double down. Conversely, hitting is the more viable option if the dealer’s upcard is a 10 or an Ace.

When should I avoid doubling down with an 11?

It's generally advisable to avoid doubling down with an 11 when facing a dealer's Ace. The high probability that the dealer has a 10-value card facing down increases the risk of the dealer having a natural Blackjack, making doubling down a less favourable option.

Do you double down on an 11 against a 10 in blackjack?

Yes, you can double down with an 11 against a dealer's 10 in blackjack. Beginning with an 11 puts the player in a favourable position, and doubling down enhances the potential gains. The dealer can also achieve a score of 21 or a perfect blackjack; therefore, be aware of the risk.

Is Ace worth 10 or 11 in blackjack?

In blackjack, the value of an Ace can be either 1 or 11, depending on what benefits the hand more. If counting the Ace as 11 results in a stronger hand without busting, it is valued at 11. Otherwise, it is counted as 1.

What happens when you get an 11 in blackjack?

When a player is dealt a total of 11 in blackjack, it presents a favourable situation. An initial total of 11 is one of the strongest starting hands in the game.

Should I double down an 11 against an Ace?

It is generally advised to avoid doubling down with an 11 when facing a dealer's Ace. The risk of the dealer having a 10-value card facing down, potentially leading to a natural Blackjack, makes doubling down less favourable in this specific scenario.

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