To hit or stand?

Hit or standFor players new to the world of online gambling the sheer number of new terms to learn can be overwhelming. And all this terminology is in addition to brushing up on your blackjack strategy and understanding how the game of blackjack works.

Two terms that are crucial to a game of blackjack are hit and stand. If you’re serious about blackjack you need to have a good grasp of what these terms mean and how they’ll affect your approach to the game.

A hit refers to taking another card from the deck of cards. Another term used for this is “hit me”.  However, at the blackjack table a player would never say “hit” or “hit me”. To ask the dealer for another card, a player would either tap his/her cards or the table.

Part of blackjack strategy would include an understanding of when it’s a good idea to hit.  A player needs to evaluate the cards in hand and decide whether another card would make the total sum of the cards closer or equal to 21. If however there is a chance that another card could make the card’s sum more than 21, hitting is not a good idea.

A stand refers to a player’s decision to remain with the cards in hand. A player would choose to stand if the player feels the cards are a winning hand or if another card would make the player go bust, i.e. have a total sum or more than 21.

It’s important for players to remember that in blackjack they are playing against the dealer and not the other players. This affects how a player chooses to play a hand and means that a player needs to pay close attention to the dealer’s standing card. A good grasp of when to hit and when to stand can improve a player’s chances of winning at a game of blackjack immensely. It’s estimated that good hitting and standing technique can increase a player’s odds  of winning by over 3 %.

There is no real formula to help a player decide whether to hit or stand. A player needs enough knowledge of the game to be able to assess the situation according to the cards dealt as well as the dealer’s standing card. Below is a breakdown of various scenarios to help a player decide how to play when faced with the dealer’s cards.

When the dealer’s card is an Ace:

This is a very strong hand for the dealer. An Ace puts the dealer at an immediate advantage and increases the chances of the dealer getting 21 before going bust. This is largely because cards with a value of 10 (10, Jack, Queen and King) appear most frequently.  Should the dealer then pick up one of those cards the dealer will have, in all likelihood, won. In such a scenario, a player should hit with the aim of getting of at least 17 as quickly as possible before going bust.

When the dealer’s card is a 10, Jack, Queen or King:

With such a hand, the dealer once again has a very strong hand. It is estimated that if the dealer’s standing card is one of those cards the dealer has a 1 in 13 chance of getting blackjack. Players therefore need to approach such a scenario with care and a well thought-out strategy. In such a situation a player’s aim should be to hit if the card value is 10 but stand once the card value is 17.

When the dealer’s card is 7, 8 or 9:

In such a scenario the dealer has less chance of getting blackjack. The dealer could still get a hand of 17 so the player needs a strong hand to win. The players aim should be to hit until the card sum is between 12 and 16 at which point the player would be wise to stand.

When the dealer’s card is 4, 5 or 6:

This hand is a weak one and puts the dealer at a disadvantage. With such a hand it would be easy for the dealer to go bust. The aim of the player is to play strong and hit if they have a hand of 8 or less. And once the player hits 12 the player would be wise to stand.

When the dealer’s card is 3:

With such a hand the dealer is likely to go bust. A player should take advantage of this and continue to hit if the player has 12. If the player has 13, the player should consider standing.

When the dealer’s card is 2:

With such a hand there is only a 10% chance that the dealer will get two cards which total 20. This means that while this is a weak hand there is less chance that the dealer will go bust. This means that if a player has 9 or 12 they should hit. Yet 13 or above means that player should stand.

It’s important for players to keep in mind that dealers need to stand once they get to 17. At such a point the player can take advantage of the dealer’s forced stand in the hope of getting closer to 21. Players need to be careful that they don’t go bust in such a situation.

The different approaches to these blackjack scenarios may seem complicated but over time and with lots of patience they’ll become natural and intuitive. All it takes is an understanding of the rules of the game and lots of practice.

For those who are ready to try their hands at a game of blackjack, look no further than Golden Riviera Casino.

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