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How to play blackjack best hands and ace the game

How to play blackjack best hands and ace the game

How to play blackjack best hands and ace the game

Mon Jan 16 2023 07:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

In blackjack, where one wrong decision can cost you the pot, learning the perfect blackjack strategy can mean the difference between hitting it big and throwing in your cards. It tells you what to do with all blackjack hands in all variations, so you don't play blind even though you're gambling

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What should you do when you get the worst blackjack hand? Do you hit or split? What about blackjack winning hands? What are they, and what do you do when you get them? Find out in this blackjack hand guide and learn how to gauge your cards for better chances of winning in this favourite casino game.

What is a blackjack hand?

blackjack hand consists of two cards, given each to the player and the croupier. These cards form the total hand value when added, determining whether they win. The higher the hand total is, the better since it's closer to 21, which is the goal.

At the start of the casino game, the dealer deals two cards face-up to all players and deals one face-up card and one face-down card to themselves. The latter is called the hole card since it's the only unrevealed information.

After seeing their hands, players can decide whether to hit or stand. If they hit, they add one more card and increase their hand value. If they stand, they don't want any more cards and are content with their hand.

Your chances of winning in blackjack depend on the value of the cards dealt to you. The best hand in blackjack is a natural wherein your two cards are equivalent to 21. This is achieved by having an ace card valued at 11 and a high card with a value of 10, which are King, Queen, Jack and 10. However, this is quite rare, with a hit frequency of only 4.75%. 

The worst hand in blackjack is a 16 since it is more likely to lose, especially when the dealer's up card is a 10. With this card, they're likely to finish with a hand closer to 21. Even if you hit, there's a high chance that your hand will bust, especially if the card is 6 and above. 

When a dealer's up card is a 4, 5 or 6, there's a high probability that their hand will go bust. This means that with the right blackjack strategy, you can win against the dealer.


Blackjack hand chart

Since there are thousands of possible combinations, you must play your hand by ear. The blackjack hand chart below can help you understand further what actions you should take depending on your hand's value.

The top row is the total hand value of your cards, while the leftmost column corresponds to the dealer's upcard. The cell where they intersect tell which action you should take if you get these cards. 

They're denoted as such:

  • H - Hit
  • S - Stand
  • D - Doubling down
  • SP - Split
  • H/SR - Hit or surrender.

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Blackjack hand types

Blackjack hands are categorised into three types—soft, hard and stiff—based on their cards and total value. Among these, some have better winning chances since they're closer to 21, while others have lower chances. Thus, distinguishing them is important to know whether you have a good hand worth hitting or a bad one worth surrendering.

Additionally, you can only determine your hand type and not the dealer since their hole card is hidden and only their face card is visible.

Blackjack soft hand

When you have a soft hand or soft total in blackjack, one of the cards you hold is an ace, and your hand total can change depending on which gives you more advantage

If you have a high-valued card paired with your ace, its value can be 1. On the other hand, if you pair it with a low-valued card, its value can be 11. For example, if your hand is an Ace and 9, its value can either be 10 or 20, but since the latter is higher, it's the better hand value. 

Moreover, a soft hand cannot bust because if you hit and receive a card that would make the hand worth more than 21, you can switch the value of the ace to 1 instead of 11. You'll then have a lower-valued hand that you can hit. 

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How to play soft hands

If you have a soft hand, you should either stand or hit depending on the dealer's up card. Following the example earlier, where you have a hand that's either 10 or 20, you have to stand because there's a probability that you win the round except when the dealer hits 21.

Splitting is only allowed with soft hands when you have two Aces. This will always be split because the total is 2 or 22, putting you at a disadvantage. 

The blackjack hands table below shows how you should take action when you have soft hands. The rows above are the dealer's upcard, while the leftmost column shows what hand you have. Columns are denoted with H for a hit, S for the stand, and D and Ds for doubling down. 

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Hard hand blackjack

All blackjack hands that don't have an Ace are considered hard hands or hard totals since their values are already set. For example, if you are dealt a high-valued card of Jack and Queen, this has only one possible total, which is 20, making it a hard hand in blackjack.  

It doesn't offer the flexibility of a soft hand, but having it doesn't put you at a disadvantage. Moreover, this doesn't affect whether you can double down or not because this still depends on the total of your hand. 

The table below shows what you can do when you have hard hands. The rows above are the dealer's upcard, while the leftmost row shows your hand. Columns are denoted with H for the hit, S for the stand, and D for doubling down.

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Blackjack stiff hand

A stiff hand is valued between 12 and 16. You are at risk when you are dealt a stiff hand because it's likely to bust when you hit and unlikely to win when you stand. When you hit on 12, there's a 30% chance you'll bust. Nearing 16 also increases your chances of busting up to 62%. 

The best hands in blackjack are always seen on the hard and soft blackjack hands and never when it's stiff. 

The table below shows when you should surrender when you have a stiff hand:

Photo taken from

Blackjack winning hands 

To win in blackjack, you need to have a hand equal to or closer to 21 without going over. The highest hand in blackjack you can get is 21, achieved if you're dealt an Ace followed by a 10, Jack, Queen or King. With these cards, there's almost no chance you lose except when the dealer also draws a blackjack and you tie. 

Another one of the best hands in blackjack is the hard 20, which consists of two cards with a value of 10. According to the mathematics, you win 80% of the time, except for the chance the dealer also scores 20 or a natural. 

Aside from these two possibilities, a 10 or 11 starting hand is also good since it gives you more chances to use basic strategy and double down. This is where you double your wager and take another card with a high chance of making a 20 or 21. However, the same can be said for the dealer's cards, so it still has a risk. 

Card counting also comes in handy in creating blackjack best hands. With this strategy, you can predict which cards come next on the deck using statistical probabilities and card marks, thus giving you an edge on your play. However, this is a high-level technique that's indubitably hard to master, let alone use in casinos where it is highly frowned upon. 

Best hand in blackjack

What is the best blackjack hand? Nothing beats the blackjack that's equal to 21. This automatically makes it the best hand in blackjack because you're at an advantage. You're most likely to win the round unless the dealer also comes up with a natural blackjack

Your hand is natural if it's a soft hand containing an Ace paired with a 10-value card, namely 10, Jack, Queen or King. However, you can also get a blackjack even with hard hands. For example, if you're dealt a 5 and 9 and hit and draw a 7, you have a blackjack.

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Worst hand in blackjack

A pair of eights is the worst hand in blackjack because it's valued at 16, close but not close enough to 21. You can hit or stand, but there are high odds that you'll either bust or lose to the dealer. Most players opt to split a pair of eights when playing, reducing their chances of losing hands. 

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Equipped with the right knowledge of blackjack best hands and strategies for playing and winning, you'd be an unstoppable force at casino tables! From Evolution's Lightning Blackjack to OneTouch's Blackjack Classic Pro, you have plenty of opportunities to gain the upper hand and profit from the payouts you reap. Put your knowledge to the test and play online blackjack at Bitcasino, the leading website for online casino brands.

FAQs about blackjack best hands

Do playing multiple blackjack hands affect odds?

Some players believe that spreading to two hands later in the game affects the chances of winning. However, having multiple hands doesn't affect your odds of winning. The house edge remains the same. The only thing that will change is how many hands you play per hour of gaming. 

For example, there are 80 rounds per hour, and you'll have to play 160 hands. This means your attention will be split into two every round you play. 

How to deal a blackjack hand?

First, you have to shuffle the cards. Then, deal the cards from the dealer's left, starting with the player from the far left. Distribute one face-up card to each player and then set a face-down card for the dealer. After that, distribute the second face-up card to each player and lay down the face-up card for the dealer. 

How to split a hand in blackjack?

You can split your hand in blackjack when you get a pair of matching cards. Point a V sign with your fingers to indicate you want to split the cards in land-based casinos. On online casinos, just click the dialogue box that would appear to split your hand.

What is the most common opening blackjack hand?

Since there are a lot of 10-value cards on a deck, the most common opening blackjack hand is a pair of 10s. About 9.2% of the time, you'll be dealt with this card pair. This gives you an advantage over the game since this is the second-best hand in blackjack.

Words by: Sunday Carreon

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How to play blackjack best hands and ace the game