Good or bad, know the best ways to play these blackjack hands
Here are some of the best and worst hands you find yourself and the perfect way to play them all
Blackjack is a game of runs. Even the most experienced player will tell you luck has a lot to do with it: good or bad. But there is something to be said about knowing what to do with the cards you’ve been dealt.
Here are some of the best and worst hands you find yourself with at the blackjack table, and the Casino Blackjack Tips for the perfect way to play them all:
The Soft 18 sees you holding an Ace and a Seven. The reason this hand is so great is the versatility of that Ace, which can be valued at One or 11. That means depending on what the dealer is showing, and the cards on the table, the player can either stand with the 18 – a very good blackjack hand – or hit, knowing that the Ace can be used a One.
If the dealer is showing a Nine, 10/face card, or Ace, the player can then determine to take another card to secure something closer to 21. If the dealer is showing a low up-card – values 3-6 – it is wise to double-down on the Soft 18, and if the dealer is showing cards Two, Seven or Eight, the recommended play is to stand with the 18.
So, you’re looking at a Hard 11 which means you have a combo of Eight and Three, Nine and Two, Six and Five, or Seven and Four. This puts the player in a very advantageous spot, as there are still multiple 10-value cards available and even drawing an Eight or Nine will boost your chances of winning versus the dealer.
In that instance, it is recommended that you double-down on the Hard 11 – regardless of what the dealer is showing. While you can’t hit after drawing your one card from the shoe on the double-down, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with a high count and no chance you can go bust.
Hard 20 Paired
This would seem like the simplest hand to manage outside of automatically drawing a blackjack. But you’d be surprised at the number of players who manage to lose despite drawing one of the toughest hands to beat in the game.
The error is a product of greed, swapping out a winning hand for the potential to win two hands. Players will split a matching pair of 10-value cards – two 10s, two Jacks, two Queens, two Kings – trying to land another high-value card and create two winning hands. The problem is there are already at least two 10-value cards out of the deck (your hand) and depending on what’s showing for other players and the dealer, there could be fewer. Just take your 20 and your chips and be happy with the Hard 20 paired.
This is where we separate the men from the boys. The Hard 16 will make even the most steady blackjack player feel weak in the knees, automatically up against it, caught in blackjack’s “no man’s land. The issue is the player has a tough call to either stand or hit, knowing 17 or better will beat their 16 or hitting can result in a bust card with plenty of 6-10 cards waiting in the shoe.
However, the Hard 16 is not an instant death sentence for your chips. Players should take a deep breath and look at the dealer’s up-card. If the dealer is showing values 2-6, then the player should stand – knowing the dealer must draw at least twice to beat their Hard 16. If the dealer is showing values 7-10, the player should hit, knowing that the dealer only needs a 10-value card to beat their hand.
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