How To Play Against a 10 Upcard In Blackjack | LeoVegas

How to Play Your Hands Against a Dealer's 10 Upcard

Whether you're playing in a brick-and-mortar or at an online casino, if a dealer draws a 10 as their upcard, then they’re in a very strong position. So, you’ll need to put together all your strategic thinking to stand a chance at winning.

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We’ll walk you through the best do’s and don't's in this scenario, showing you the most effective blackjack strategies and considerations which can help you make the most of this situation.


Playing Hard Hands Against a Dealer's 10

Hard Totals 5-8

You won’t need to think much when faced with a hard hand between 5 to 8 against a dealer’s 10 upcard. The solution here is to always hit. A hard 5 to 8 is a rather weak hand and you’ll need to boost those numbers if you hope to beat the dealer. Do so carefully and consider each new card you draw, as hitting carelessly can risk busting out of the game.

Hard Totals 9-11

This can be a much trickier path to follow, and you’ll need to act differently depending on which card value you get. With a hard nine, it's best to always hit, since doubling down can be quite risky against the dealer’s strong 10 card. But if you get a hard 10 or 11, then go ahead and double down since you have a higher probability of ending up with a strong hand with the addition of a single card. It can still be quite risky, but you could end up with a combined hand value of 19 or even 21.

Hard Totals 12-16

In blackjack, playing a hard hand between 12 to 16 against a dealer's 10 upcard involves significant risk analysis. Generally, hitting is recommended despite the fear of busting. Standing with these totals gives the dealer a higher chance of winning since a dealer’s 10 upcard often leads to a strong hand. Hitting offers a chance to improve your total, even if it's risky. For instance, with a hard 12, the probability of busting is lower, making hitting more favourable. However, with a hard 16, the bust risk is higher, but standing against a likely 20 is almost certainly a losing strategy.

Hard Totals 17-21

If you have a combined hand value of anywhere between 17 to 21, then it's best to stand firm. You’ll risk busting out of the game and your chances of improving the situation are frankly quite minimal. The 10 card from the dealer’s end is quite strong but then again the dealer might bust out or end up with a hand below 17. Standing in this case makes sure you still have a competitive hand without taking too great a risk.

Playing Soft Hands Against a Dealer's 10

Soft Totals 13-15

Soft hands need a different strategy and whenever you have a combined hand value of 13 to 15, you’ll want to hit. The ace in the soft hand gives you enough flexibility not to bust with a single hit, so you can afford to be riskier with this. You’ll want to push your hand value at least above 15 to hopefully stand a chance against whatever the dealer puts together.

Soft Totals 16-18

Whenever you get a hand of 16 to 18 against a dealer’s 10, the best way forward is to double down. This can leverage the ace’s flexibility and could potentially help maximize your potential hand value by letting you draw a single card that could bring you as close as possible to 21. Should you land a high card, the ace will switch its value from 11 to 1, so you're still in the game.

Soft Totals 19-21

Even if you have a soft 19 to 21 hand, it might still be best to stand. Your hand is already quite strong and gives you a high chance of winning. So, hitting or doubling down in this case can create an unnecessary risk, where even if you don’t bust out, you might still end up with a worse hand. Standing firm in this case is the better option, minimizing risks and maintaining your strong position.

Playing Pairs Against a Dealer's 10

Splitting Pairs Strategy

There are a few instances where splitting pairs might be ideal. Whenever you do this, you increase your chances of success by building several strong hands against the dealer. 2s, 3s and 7s can be ideal, since you get the space to hit and build a potentially winning hand. Even so, splitting is always a risk and you should be careful with it, considering its implications and making sure you can account for any losses it brings in your budget.

When to Avoid Splitting

There are also several cases where splitting pairs can be incredibly detrimental, particularly when you have 4s, 5s and 10s. Splitting 4s and 5s creates weak starting hands that significantly impact your chances of success. On the other hand, splitting 10s is discouraged because it ends up breaking down a very strong hand of 20 that will most likely be able to beat the dealer’s hand.

Splitting 6s, 8s and 9s is also not recommended. Splitting 6s and 8s breaks up two other strong starting hands since they give you a value of 12 and 16, respectively and these can be improved by hitting or doubling down. The same goes for 9s, since these give you a very strong hand of 18 which stands a good chance against the dealer’s potential total. By not splitting these hands, you maintain your already strong position, without taking any big risks.


What to Do When the Dealer Has 10 Blackjack?

When the dealer has a 10 blackjack, you can hope to potentially match their hand value or lose in the attempt.

How Do You Play Against the Dealer in Blackjack?

The point of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s combined hand value without going over 21. You win if you have a higher hand value or if the dealer busts out.

What Are the Odds of Winning 10 Blackjack Hands in a Row?

The odds of winning 10 blackjack hands in a row is 0.018%.

Do You Double Down on 11 Against a 10?

If you have a hard 11 against a 10, then you should double down to potentially improve your hand and stand a better chance at winning.

Learn about other blackjack strategies in our guides: