When to Hit or Stand in Blackjack

When playing blackjack, whether it is in a land-based casino or at an online gambling site, one of the most important decisions that must be made is when to hit or stand. A player’s choice to either hit or not to hit can have a direct impact on their chances of winning, so the decision should never be taken lightly.

In order to make the right choice, players need to understand basic strategy. While this may sound simple enough, many novices find themselves struggling when they first play the game. The reason for this is that there are a number of different rules to consider, including when it is best to hit or stand.

Hitting in blackjack means that the player wants to draw an additional card in an attempt to improve their hand’s total. This is usually done by waving a finger or otherwise signalling to the dealer that they would like to hit. In contrast, standing in blackjack indicates that the player is satisfied with their current hand and does not want to take any further action.

If the player’s hand consists of two 8s, for example, it is always better to split them than to try and form a straight or a pair of consecutive cards. This is because it increases the odds that at least one of the cards will create a strong blackjack hand. In addition, splitting a pair of eights provides the opportunity to increase the player’s overall winning chances by taking advantage of the fact that blackjack pays 3:2 instead of 1:1.

On the other hand, it is advisable to hit any hands that consist of four or more cards that are worth 13 or higher, particularly if the dealer shows a card of 2 through 6. This will give the player the best chance of getting a good blackjack hand, which in turn will result in more money being won than lost.

Those who wish to learn how to play blackjack should also familiarise themselves with the basic strategy table. This is a handy tool that recommends the correct strategy for every possible hand situation. It displays the dealer’s card across the top and every possible player hand down the left hand side, so that you can simply scan the chart to see what you should do.

However, this basic strategy does not consider the type of card that is in your hand, so it is worth considering how hard or soft your hand is before deciding to hit or stand. This extra level of precision is known as composition-dependent basic strategy and can reduce the house edge by up to 0.5 percent.

Of course, the ultimate way to reduce the house edge when playing blackjack is by learning to count cards. This is not a simple task, and requires significant dedication, but it is one that can be very rewarding when successful. By following these basic tips, players can maximise their chances of winning blackjack and having a fun time in the process.