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# Blackjack: When to Hit or Stand for Optimal Play Blackjack

Summary:

• Stand on a hard 17 or higher, regardless of the dealer's card.
• Hit when the dealer has a three, with a hand total of eight or below and 12, while standing on anything 13 or over.
• Stand when your hand has 17 or more points, especially if the dealer's card is 7 or higher.
• Hit on eight or less when the dealer has a four, five, or six, but stand on anything 12 or higher.
• Hit on anything eight or below and 12 when the dealer has a three, while standing on anything 13 or over.
• Hit on nine or less when the dealer has a two, but stand on anything 13 or over.

Blackjack is one of the most commonly-played casino games in a live casino, in an online casino game, and on mobile devices thanks to its simplicity, excitement, and comparatively generous house edge.

Table of Content:

However, from the newcomers to the experienced card sharks, the same questions always remain - when to hit or stand in blackjack and what is the optimal play?

The basic blackjack rules are simple. The goal is to beat the dealer’s hand by getting a higher total without going over 21. All face cards count as 10, Aces count as either 1 or 11 and all other cards depend on the number they represent (e.g. 2-10).

Before starting the game, each player must place a bet. Each player is dealt two cards face up and the dealer deals herself one card face up and one card face down. Each player will then have the option to hit (take another card), stand (take no more cards) or double down (double your original bet).

The dealer will then go around the table allowing each player to take their turn before drawing cards until they have 17 or higher, after which no more cards can be drawn.

If your hand is greater than the dealers and below 21 you win and if it's equal it’s a push (no one wins). However, if your hand goes over 21 this is called a bust and you lose your bet. Also, if the dealer has a higher total than you, they win.

Those are some quick tips on the basic rules of blackjack, but we will be going into more depth as to the optimal strategies in certain situations.

## When to Hit or Stand In Blackjack: General Strategy Table

The table below provides a quick overview of playing each player's hand against the dealer's hand, and either player should hit or stand.

 Player's Hand Value Dealer's Hand Value Action 5-8 Any Hit 9 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, Ace Hit 10 10, Ace Hit 11 Ace Hit 12 2, 3, 7-10, Ace Hit 13-16 7-10, Ace Hit 17-21 Any Stand Soft 13-15 7-10, Ace Hit Soft 16-18 7-9 Hit Soft 19-21 Any Stand Pair of Aces, 8s Any Split Pair of 2s, 3s 2-7 Split Pair of 4s 5, 6 Split Pair of 5s Any Stand Pair of 6s 2-6 Split Pair of 7s 2-7 Split Pair of 9s 2-6, 8, 9 Split Pair of 10s Any Stand

## When to Hit in Blackjack: Strategy For Each Hand Value

When playing an online blackjack now, the decision to hit or stand depends on the value of your hand and the dealer's exposed card. Here are some general guidelines for when to hit or stand:

• Hard 5 to 8: Always hit.
• Hard 9: Hit if the dealer shows 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, or Ace.
• Hard 10: Hit if the dealer shows 10 or Ace.
• Hard 11: Hit if the dealer shows Ace.
• Hard 12: Hit if the dealer shows 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, or Ace.
• Hard 13 to 16: Hit if the dealer shows 7, 8, 9, 10, or Ace.
• Hard 17 to 21: Stand.
• Soft 13 to 15 (Ace counted as 11): Hit if the dealer shows 7, 8, 9, 10, or Ace.
• Soft 16 to 18: Hit if the dealer shows 7, 8, or 9. Double down if the dealer shows 3, 4, 5, or 6.
• Soft 19 to 21: Stand.

## When To Stand In Blackjack: Strategy For Each Hand Value

Like knowing when to hit, there are also some general rules of when to stand in a blackjack game, the most important of which are listed below:

• If your hand totals 17 or higher, you should stand.
• If your hand totals 13-16, consider the dealer's up-card before deciding whether to hit or stand.
• If the dealer's up-card is 6 or lower, you should hit on any total of 12 or less, and 12 on a hard hand.
• If the dealer's up-card is 7 or higher, you should stand on any total of 17 or more.
• If the dealer has an ace showing, you should stand on any total higher than 12 to avoid the risk of busting.
• If the dealer's up-card is a 10-value card, you still need a strong hand. Hit when holding a hand of 10 or 12-16, and stand on anything 17 and over. An ace gives you a good chance of making 21 with a hit.
• When the dealer has a seven, eight, or nine card, it is impossible for them to make a blackjack, so your chances increase. However, they can still get a better hand of 17 or more, so you will again need a strong hand to compete.
• When holding nine or less or 12-16, it's best to hit, but stand on a total of 17 or more.
• If the dealer's card is a four, five, or six, it is vital you do not bust. It is common practice to hit on eight or less, but stand on anything 12 or higher.
• If the dealer has a three, you should hit on anything eight or below and 12, while standing on anything 13 or over.
• If the dealer has a two, it is best to hit on nine or less and stand on anything 13 or over.

## Pay Attention to Dealer's Face Up Card

The dealer's up card is an important factor to consider when deciding whether to hit or stand in blackjack. The up card gives players valuable information about the dealer's position and their chances of winning.

An up card of four, five, or six carries the highest chances of the dealer busting, so it's best to take a stand when the dealer exposes an up card of 2 or 3.

When the other dealer shows he has a good hand (7, 8, 9, 10, 11), the player should draw until it reaches 17 or more. If the dealer has a bad card (4, 5, 6), the player should stop as soon as they get a value of 12 or more.

## What Are The Hand Signals for Hit And Stand In Blackjack?

When hitting, players must scratch the surface of the playing table when their index finger. To stand, players should wave their hand across their personal card set.

In tandem with these straightforward gestures to represent the hit and stand instructions, there are also accompanying moves for double down or split up, and surrender.

## Hit and Stand FAQ

### Do you hit 12 against a 7?

No, in casino game of blackjack you would typically stand on a 12 against a dealer playing a 7. This is because the probability of busting (going over 21) is higher than the probability of getting a winning hand.

### Do you hit on 12 against a 3?

The optimal strategy would be to stand against a 3, given the dealer has a better chance of going bust.

### Should you hit a 12 against a 2?

No - standing against a 2 with a 12 would be the safer, more optimal strategy, though it is a marginal call from a mathematical perspective.

### Are you supposed to hit on 13?

It depends on the situation of the hand. If a dealer has a 7 or above or an ace, you have a better chance of winning if you try to get as good a score as possible. If the dealer has a 6 or below, standing would be better.

### Do you hit on 13 against a 2?

A marginal call, but the better strategy would be to stand.

### Should you hit on 14?

Only in specific situations - for example, if the dealer has a 10 or an ace, your odds of winning are small, so taking a card is the optimal move. If the dealer has six or below, your odds of winning when standing are much better.

### Do you hit on 15 against a 10?

Yes - it improves your chances of winning the hand.

### Should I hit on 15?

Not if the dealer has a face-up card of 6 or below. Any other card would mean you should hit.

### Do you hit 16 vs 10?

Yes - optimal strategy suggests you should hit in this scenario, though your prospects to win are small.

### Should you stand on 16?

If the dealer’s starting hand is 6 or less, then yes.

### Do you hit a 16 against a 7?

As difficult as it might seem, hitting against a 16 with a 7 is against basic strategy

### Should you ever hit on 17?

The only instance is if you have a soft 17, which is an ace and a 6, and you’re facing a strong starting hand for the dealer.

### How do I know when to hit or stand every time in blackjack?

To understand the blackjack basic strategy and how to play each of the blackjack hands, you need to learn and memorize a basic blackjack strategy chart.

### Can card counting help with deciding when to hit or stand in blackjack?

Card counting can help to determine when to hit or stand, however, it is important to remember that it is difficult to count cards in live casino games, especially for multiple-deck blackjack games.

Learn about other blackjack strategies in our guides: