Blackjack is all about making the right decisions. Choosing when to hit, stand, split, and other things can mean the difference between success and failure at this popular casino game. And while some of these decisions may be obvious and straightforward, many have something to do with situations that aren’t clear-cut.
Here are a few of the more difficult blackjack decisions you may face:
A typical move many blackjack players make is to split 10s. The logic is that 10s are a strong starting hand, and splitting them turns two good hands into two great ones. However, the reality of the situation is much more complicated.
Splitting 10s against any other card in the dealer’s hand increases your chances of winning by a very low margin. It is not worth it in the long run since the odds still favor the house. Keeping the 10s as a solid starting hand would be best in most cases.
Furthermore, splitting 10s can maximize your losses if you draw a weaker hand than what was presented. For example, if you split two 10s and draw a 5 and a 2, you would have a total of 7 instead of the 20 you started with. In such cases, trying to outsmart the dealer can backfire and cost you more money than it’s worth.
Experienced blackjack players know that splitting 10s can be a tricky decision. Splitting 10s will give you two hands with much lower expected values than keeping the 20 and hoping to get 21, which is why some people advise against it. However, if the dealer is showing a low card like a 6 or 7, there’s a much higher chance that splitting 10s could be beneficial.
Pair of 7s
Most blackjack players think that when they’re dealt a pair of 7s, the best move is to split them. However, this is only sometimes the case. Splitting 7s is only beneficial if the dealer’s up-card is 2 through 7 since this increases your chances of getting a better hand than what the dealer has.
But if the dealer has an 8 or higher, it’s usually better to just hit instead of splitting the 7s. The logic is that the dealer has a higher chance of making 21 than you do, so it’s best to stick with what you have and hope for the best. If you split your 7s and draw two more low cards, you will likely end up with 14 or lower, which is not very advantageous.
Soft Hands – Which Ones to Hit or Stand?
Soft hands, defined as any hand with an Ace, require more thought when you play blackjack. The main reason is that the Ace in blackjack can be counted as either 1 or 11, giving you a lot of leeway to decide which move will give you the best chance at winning.
The general rule for soft hands is to stand if your total is 18 or higher. Anything below 18 is a riskier proposition, so evaluating the dealer’s hand is essential before deciding which move to make. If the dealer has a 2 through 6, hitting could be beneficial since they will likely bust. On the other hand, if the dealer has a higher card, then it might be wise to stand since there is a chance that they could make 21.
Soft 16 – Hit or Stand?
Soft 16 is a rather special case compared to others because if the dealer has a 10-value card as their up-card, you’re in trouble no matter what. That’s why it’s best to stand since hitting will only worsen your chances of winning.
The key here is understanding the dealer’s up-card and your odds of success. If they have a 7 or higher, it is generally wiser to hit to increase your chances of getting closer to 21. On the other hand, if the dealer has a 6 or lower, it may be best to stand, as you have a higher chance of winning than hitting and going bust.
Insurance is a bet the dealer will offer you if their up card is an Ace. If the player takes insurance, they are betting that the dealer has blackjack and will be paid out at 2:1 odds if they do. If you take insurance, you can win even if your hand loses to the dealer’s blackjack.
However, this can be a tricky move as the odds of the dealer having blackjack are not in your favor. In most cases, it is best to avoid taking insurance and only do so if you have an incredibly strong hand. Taking insurance too often will cost you more money than it’s worth in the long run.
Another difficult decision in blackjack online or live is surrendering. That means you give up half your bet and forfeit the hand instead of playing it out. Again, while this could seem smart in some scenarios, it may not be worth it in the long run.
Surrendering is not statistically beneficial to the player in most cases. That is because surrendering will only save you half of your bet but still counts as a loss in terms of win-loss records. Furthermore, if you surrender too often, you may miss out on potential wins that could have been had if you had just kept playing.
The best time to surrender is when the dealer has a good hand, and you have a weak one. Here, giving up your bet to minimize losses makes sense instead of trying for an unlikely win. When considering surrendering, it is important to weigh both options’ potential costs and benefits before making a decision.
Make the Right Blackjack Shots
A blackjack game can be tricky, as small decisions can have big implications. Knowing when to hit, stand, double down, split, and take insurance is essential for success at the table.
It may seem daunting, but with practice and understanding of how the odds work, you can become an expert. With the right strategy and luck, you can maximize your chances of winning and have a great time at the blackjack table. Good luck!