Hit or Stand: Complete Blackjack Strategy Guide

Hit or Stand: Complete Blackjack Strategy Guide

This guide is up to disclose the essence of hit & stand solutions in Blackjack. These are the basic moves in this casino game. In the article below, we will point out situations that are the best for hitting or standing in the game. 

What is Hit in Blackjack?

Hit is a decision in Blackjack that considers taking an additional card. If you choose this move, one more card will be added to your hand. You can hit until the value of your hand reaches or exceeds 21, as many times as you want, during the match. 

For example, you have a 5 and a 6 in your initial hand. That means the value of your hand makes 11. There is no chance you will get busted if you hit, and you shouldn’t stand because 11 is obviously not enough to win the match. 

Thus, if you hit and get 3, the value of your hand will be 14. The best decision here would be to hit again, as the majority of dealers stand on soft 17, so you are likely to lose if you stand. You can hit until you get 21 or get busted, and the best solution depends on the value of your hand and the value of the dealer’s hand. Below, we will explain the best situations to hit. 

When to Hit in Blackjack?

There are situations when hitting in Blackjack will always be a better idea than choosing any other option. The tips on hitting below are based on the mathematical calculations of probabilities and can be used both by novice and advanced players. Here, we do not consider options like splitting or doubling down

  • Hit if your initial hand’s value makes 4-11 – the thing about an 11 maximum hand value is you have no other options, except taking one more card. The thing is, here you are 100% safe from getting busted and can get a good combination after one or more hits. 

A blackjack table with card hands valued from 4 to 11, as an example of when to hit in Blackjack.

  • If you get hard 12, hit on the dealer’s 2, 3, 7-Ace upcard – based on the mathematical calculations, you will have a better chance to get a good combination with this strategy, as the only way you can get busted is if you get 10. 

Hand value of Hard 12 and delaer upcards that show when to hit an beat the dealer.

  • For 13-16, hit if the dealer has 7-Ace – the higher is the dealer upcard value, the more there are chances that your initial hand value is not enough to win. 

Hand card value and dealer upcards that show when should you hit in blackjack.

When You Should Not Hit in BJ?

Here you can see the situations when you should avoid hitting:

  • Do not hit if your initial hand value makes a hard 17-20 – this is already a good hand, which gives you high chances to win. On the other hand, hitting with 17 or higher will give you a high chance of getting busted.

Hand values from 17 to 20, showing when not to hit in blackjack.

  • Never hit with soft 19 or soft 20 as well – there is an extremely low chance you will get a better combination in this game, and if dealer plays on a soft 17, you are already in a strong position. 

Soft 19 and soft 20 hands whosing when to stand in Blackjack.

  • If you get soft 18, do not hit if the dealer has a 2, 7, or 8 upcard – a soft 18 is good enough to give you a chance to win already.

Soft 18 hand value with dealer upcards showing when to stand or hit.

What is Stand in Blackjack

Stand is a decision in Blackjack that considers not taking any more cards in your hand. You choose to stand when you think you have the best value for your hand in the round. After you and the dealer stand, the value of both hands is calculated, and the winner is determined.

For example, when your initial hand makes 10-9, you are likely to stand instead of taking more cards. However, it also depends on the dealer’s hand, which can make 10-10, meaning that you will lose 100% if you stand. Below we will disclose when to stand or not to stand in detail. 

When to Stand in Blackjack?

Stand is one of the most important decisions in Blackjack, as you need to choose whether to risk-taking another card to improve your hand or stop at this spot and count on the dealer having a weaker hand. Here are some situations when you should definitely stand in Blackjack:

  • If you have a hard 17-20, always stand – most dealers play soft 17, which means they stop hitting when they get as much as an Ace and a 6, so it is likely that you will win the match if you stand. On the other hand, if you have hard 17, you need 4 or less to improve your combination and not bust, and with hard 20, you need only an Ace to stay alive. It is obvious that the chances for this are rather low.
  • Also, always stand if you have soft 20 or soft 19 – there are more chances that you will make your hand weaker than improving it. The thing is that in order to improve soft 19 (A, 8), you need another Ace or 10 on the next hit, and the chances of this happening are low. If you take two hits, the chance of getting more than 19 is low as well.
  • When getting 13-16 with the dealer’s 2-6 you better stand. The thing is that in this situation, the dealer has to have a high-value second card to beat your hand. For example, if you have 16, and the dealer has 6, he has to have 10 or an Ace to equal or beat your hand. Even if the second card is of low value like a 2 or 3, you still have more chances to win.

When you should not stand in Blackjack?

There are also situations when standing will always be a bad idea:

  • If you have 4-11, there is no chance standing would be a good idea. The thing is that if you hit in this situation, you only have chances to improve your hand, and you are safe from getting more than 21. 
  • Never stand if you have soft 12-16 – standing on this position would be a bad idea as most of the dealers play till soft 17, and even soft 16 can sometimes not be enough to win the match. It would be much better to hit in this situation, with high chances of improving your hand. 

Hit & Stand Chart

This is one of the basic strategy charts, which is absolutely essential to beat the house edge when you play blackjack.

Hit and stand chart for Blackjack that shows when to hit and when to stand.

Hit & Stand Ultimate FAQ

This FAQ is composed of the most popular questions on hit & stand decisions in Blackjack. 

Do you hit on a 12 in blackjack?

Only if the dealer does not have a 4-6 upcard. Otherwise, it is better to hit. 

Should I hit or stand on 16?

It depends on whether you have soft or hard 16. If you have hard 16, hit if the dealer has 7-Ace, for soft 16 never stand. 

How many times can you hit in blackjack?

As many times as you want until you get 21 or more value in your hand. However, in some BJ games, there is a 7 Cards Charlie situation – if you get 7 cards in your hand after hitting and you do not bust, your hand is valued as 21. 

Does the dealer hit on soft 17?

Usually, all dealers stop on soft hand 17. However, it depends on the game you play. Clarify that in your online casino if you play online blackjack or from a dealer in a land-based casino. 

Other Blackjack Strategies

Along with the hit & stand solutions, there are also other, more advanced moves you can use to your benefit. You can choose among double down, split or surrender as well. Of course, you can limit your decisions with hit & stand, and still exploiting other moves in the right way will increase your chances to win when you use long-term strategies. 

Double Down

Double down is a solution that allows you to increase your initial bet up to 100% (depending on Blackjack game rules), and add one more card to your hand. This is a good decision when you have a strong hand against the dealer’s weak one. It allows you to increase your winnings up to 2 times. The only shortcoming of this decision – you cannot hit after you double down. 

Split

Split is a decision that allows you to turn one hand into two hands and play each hand separately. Splitting is allowed when you get pairs in your initial hand (5-5, 6-6, etc.).

Depending on the Blackjack game you play, you can split more than once during the game, split Aces, etc. This is a good move in some situations. To use this move to your benefit, you should consider the dealer’s hand as well. 

Surrender

Surrender is a decision that allows you to save 50% of your bet. It considers that you can stop the game if you have a weak hand against the dealer’s strong hand. This decision can be valuable if you want to cut your losses. It depends on the BJ game rules, whether it is possible to make the surrender move.