Have you ever seen Austin Powers? The classic spy parody movie starring Mike Myers features a famous Blackjack scene in which a player sits down at the table, receives 17, and opts to hit on the dealer’s face card. It’s a foolish move under ordinary circumstances, but he argues he likes to live dangerously. It turns out the player’s eye patch lets him use x-ray technology to see the dealer’s next card. He’s dealt a 4 and hits 21.
Austin, who is sitting with a 3 and a 5, opts to stay. The dealer asks him if he’s sure he wants to stay, to which he responds, “I also like to live dangerously”. He ultimately loses and reveals that Blackjack isn’t really his game.
While hilarious for most Blackjack players, scenes like this happen more often than you think. Sure, most people aren’t foolish enough to stand on anything lower than a 10, but most players actually have no idea when to stand. Even those who claim they know aren’t necessarily following sound advice.
New to Blackjack? Here’s what you need to know
Blackjack is an amazing game that puts you in control the second your two cards hit the felt and the dealer’s up card is visible. You can hit, stand, stay, or split. Your decision depends on both what you’re holding and what the dealer is showing.
There are some variations on when to split and double down, but we’re not focusing on that. Today, we’re talking specifically about when you should stand at the Blackjack tables.
Now, this advice is nothing new. There are tons of Blackjack strategy charts out there that tell you exactly what you should do. Unfortunately, they don’t tell you why you should do it. So we’re digging deep to show you what to do and the reasoning behind it. We hope you enjoy it and find it rewarding at the Blackjack tables, online or off.
You’ve got 12: Dealer has 4, 5, 6
When you’re dealt a 12, whether that’s an 8 and 4 or a 10 or a 2, you’ll want to hit only when the dealer is showing a 4, 5, or 6. Their chances of busting with these cards are relatively high. However, if the dealer is showing a 2 or a 3, they have more outs. If you’re not familiar with outs, it’s a poker term used to describe when a player has opportunities that could give them the victory. It applies to Blackjack when facing off against the dealer. If the up card is a 7, 8, 9 or 10, you’ll definitely want to hit. That’s because the dealer will most likely end up staying on those cards, particularly if their cards is a 10.
You’ve got 13, 14, 15, 16: Dealer has 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
When you’ve got 13 through 16, you have a little more wiggle room to play with. In this situation, it’s wise to hit with all dealer bust cards (which is 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6). Because 13 through 16 come with the same standing rules, this should be relatively easy for you to remember, especially when you’re playing live. If you’re playing at an online casino, feel free to print out one of those handy charts.
You’ve got 17: Dealer has anything
17 is one of those hands that gets players nervous, particularly when the dealer is showing a 10. Newbie Blackjack players may be tempted to hit on a 17. After all, we’re always told to assume that the dealer is showing a 10 under there, so why not hit? Well, 17 is just one of those hands that you should never hit on, regardless of what the dealer is showing. If the dealer has a bust card, like a 6, you’re in good shape. If he’s showing a 10, the cards might not be in your favor, but there’s still a chance that he’ll flip over a bust card and be forced to hit again. The bottom line? There are far too many variables that could ruin your hand if you hit, so stand and hope for the best.
You’ve got A, 8 or an A, 9: Dealer has anything
Conventional wisdom says you should hit on a soft hand, or possibly double down. When you do, you’re guaranteed to be able to hit once more. That’s because an Ace and a 4 is worth 15 or 5. If you get a 6, you’ve got 21, if you get a 9, you’ve now got 14 instead of 24, since 24 would bust you. Several players, particularly those who crave risk, will hit on any hand with an Ace. However, an Ace and an 8 gives you 19 and an Ace with a 9 gives you 20. You’re essentially risking it all to end up with a lower hand. Remember, there are more cards in the deck that can give you a worse hand than you already have than there are cards to give you a better hand.
You’ve got two tens, dealer has anything
Whether you’ve got two tens, two Jacks, two Queens, two Kings, or any combination involving cards valued at 10, your best bet is to stay. Another common mistake many players make is splitting two tens. You’ve got the next best hand to Blackjack and the only thing that will beat you is if the dealer manages to work his way to 21. While it happens, the odds of you winning that hand with 20 are usually better.
Put these Blackjack standing rules to the test
Like what you’ve read? We hope you’ve found it valuable. If you want to put this newfound Blackjack knowledge to the test, we invite you to hit the Prism Casino tables right now. You’re welcome to play for free without risking one red cent. All it takes is a free account to get started. When you’re ready to play for real, it’s easy to jump onto the real money Blackjack tables in a snap.