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# Mastering Aces in Blackjack: A Comprehensive Guide

Blackjack is one of the most popular table games at online casinos. The goal here is to beat the dealer by getting a hand with a value as close to (but not over) 21 as possible.

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One of the best ways to increase your chances of reaching 21 is by knowing exactly how to play with Aces. Aces are crucial to the game and can be very influential if used wisely. It can even have two values based on the other card numbers you have in your hand, and it is up to you to decide how to use it.

## Understanding the Value of Aces in Blackjack

When playing blackjack, an Ace can be worth 11 or one and this largely depends on the other numbers in your hand. So, if you have numbers that combined with 11 would have a value of under 21, the Ace maintains a value of 11. On the other hand, if the combined value of the hand goes over 21 then the Ace changes its value to one.

Let's consider a couple of situations. If you have a hand with an Ace, three and four, then the hand has a value of 18, with the Ace contributing a value of 11. But if you have an Ace, four and seven, then the hand has a value of 12, with the Ace switching to a value of one. The switch happens, because if it had to have a value of 11, you’d end up with a bust hand of 22.

## Basic Strategies for Playing Aces

You could have a hard or soft hand in blackjack, and this all depends on the potential Aces that might form part of it. A Hard Hand is a set of two cards that don’t include an Ace or a set of two cards where the Ace is no longer flexible and is valued at one. For example, a hand with a 10 and a seven has a combined value of 17 and is considered a Hard 17.

Soft hands, on the other hand, include a flexible Ace card that can be valued at one or 11. So, a hand with an Ace and a seven would be considered a Soft 17.

Every round of blackjack begins with each player and the dealer being dealt two cards. In the dealer’s case, one card is visible to all players, while the other’s value is hidden from everyone else. We refer to the visible card as the up-card.

After the initial deal, you can follow up with a series of actions. Hit and you'll be dealt another card. Stand and you'll stick to the cards you were originally dealt. Hitting or standing is the most basic action in blackjack but it's also the most crucial aspect of the game since it dictates the overall value of your hand in relation to the other players and the dealer.

As a general strategy, if your hand is lower than 11, you should hit to increase your chances of getting closer to 21 and beating the dealer. In this case, the chances of being dealt an Ace and reaching 21 are greater than the chances of drawing a card that will give you a total amount above 11. If your total is between 12 and 16, then you should only hit if the dealer’s card is seven or above. On the other hand, you should stand when your hand has a total of over 17.

Beyond hitting and standing, there are a couple of advanced actions that can help you along the way, whether you're joining games at brick-and-mortar casinos or online.

Doubling down means placing a wager equal to your initial bet after your first two cards have been dealt. With this action, you only get dealt one more card and you can’t hit for any more cards. You can double down when your hand is equal to 16,17 or 18 and includes an Ace.

With that being said, you should never double down if the dealer has an Ace or your hand totals to more than 11 without an Ace. You see, doubling down on a soft 16, 17 or 18 works well when the dealer has an up-card between three and six. If the dealer has an Ace, their chances of reaching 21 are significantly higher so placing an additional bet on top of your original wager may not be the best thing to do.

A great scenario is if you get an initial two Aces. Whenever this happens, you should split them into two separate hands. The best possible scenario here would be if you manage to land a 10 with each Ace, which will amount to 21 and give you an instant blackjack win. If you don’t split, one Ace will be worth one, while the other will be worth 11. This isn't ideal, as it can limit your chances of hitting 21 since only a nine could take you straight to that value.

## How to Play Ace Hands Against Dealer Hands

Here are a few great tips on how to play, based on Aces in your hand or the dealer's:

Player's HandAction
Ace-2 or Ace-3Double against dealer's 5 or 6
Hit against dealers 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, or Ace
Ace-4 or Ace-5Double against dealer's 4, 5, or 6
Hit against dealers 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, or Ace
Ace-6Double against dealer's 3, 4, 5, or 6
Hit against dealer's 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, or Ace
Ace-7Stand against dealers 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, or Ace
Hit against dealers 3, 4, 5, or 6
Ace-8 or Ace-9Always stand
Ace-Ace (Pair of Aces)Always split

## FAQs

### What To Do With 2 Aces in Blackjack?

If you are dealt two Aces in blackjack, the best thing to do would be to split them. However, you should always consider the dealer’s hand before deciding your next move.

### How Does the Dealer Play an Ace in Blackjack?

The dealer’s first Ace is considered an 11 unless their down-card ends up pushing the total value over 21. In that case, the Ace will then have a value of one.

### Is Ace 1 and 10 in Blackjack?

No, in blackjack, an Ace can have a value of one or 11.

### Why is Ace 11 in Blackjack?

11 is the highest value of a card in blackjack and the Ace is the most valuable card, giving it a value of 11 unless the overall hand value exceeds 21, in which case it takes on the lowest value of one.

### What Is the Best Strategy for Playing a Soft 18 with an Ace?

In most cases, it's best to hit on a Soft 18 to potentially get closer to 21. The Ace gives you a safety net of sorts, so if you go over 11, it changes its value and you don’t bust out.

### Should I Always Split Aces in Blackjack?

You should always split Aces in blackjack to create two opportunities to hit a blackjack.

### How Does Card Counting Affect Ace Strategy?

The Ace’s flexibility is something that you’ll need to take into consideration in card counting as it can influence your hand’s overall value. Make sure you bear in mind if the card is worth one or 11 based on the rest of the cards in the hand.

### Is It Possible to Consistently Win with Aces in Blackjack?

Blackjack is ultimately a game of chance and although there are strategies you can follow to maximize the effectiveness of Aces to potentially increase your chances of success, no wins are ever guaranteed.

Learn about other blackjack strategies in our guides: