When Dealer Hits In Blackjack

This time it was the Live Dealer Blackjack tables on ACR that hit the headlines rather than the US-facing site’s poker tables, with ‘MR2SALTY4YA’ enjoying an afternoon birthday bash session. Depending on the cards in the dealer’s hand, the blackjack rules at the table will dictate whether the dealer will hit or stand. Once the dealer’s final hand is established, all players who did not go bust compare their scores to the dealer’s hand.

The entire game of blackjack is based around the two words “Hit me”. All of the strategy and logic in the game comes down to whether or not you want to get another card added on top of your first two cards. Remember, the goal of blackjack is to either make the dealer bust, hit 21 yourself, or have a higher number than the dealer ends up with.

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Most of the variance in the game comes from the idea of hitting or standing when you either get another card dealt to you, at risk of busting, or stay where you are, and risk the dealer beating you. This is a complex decision making process, and it’s important to know how to approach it.

  • When Does The Dealer Have To Hit In Blackjack The basic rules that most dealers follow, across the board, are determined to their mathematical advantage over years of study and play. The dealer will always hit on anything below a 16 total.
  • It's not a rule, it's just probabilities. 17 is a safe bet. 16 is usually a loss. Myself, I usually stay on 16 and let the dealer bust. The dealer has to beat the other players, so he will often.
  • A total of 17 is not strong enough in blackjack where the average winning hand totals 18.5. A dealer who hits soft 17 is less susceptible to exceeding 21 and thus, losing because of the flexible value of the Ace. If a higher-ranking card is drawn, the dealer’s Ace will count as 1. This practically makes it impossible for them to bust.

This page details all of the methods you can use to understand when to hit or stand, and at the end, you can find a chart explaining why. Let’s jump right into it with a discussion of the dealer’s up card and why that matters.

Knowing When To Hit Or Stand - The Dealer’s Up Card

Understanding the implications of the dealer’s up card is very important. Basically, you get to see one of the dealer’s cards, and that allows you to make some guesses as to what number they are at, and what their decision making process will be. The higher the dealer’s up card, the more likely the player is to want to hit, as a general rule. This is because, once again, the goal is to beat the dealer - to get the closest to 21 without going over. The card you see tells you a lot about the range of possibilities they could have. For example, if you see a 2, you know that their total is relatively low, and if you have a decent total, it could be correct to stand. That’s the basics of understanding a dealer’s up card, but there’s so much more to understand what the process is behind choosing to stand.

When To Stand In Blackjack

The basic idea of when you want to stand in blackjack is when you have a pretty good idea that your total is pretty close to 21, you don’t want to risk going over, and you want to put the onus on the dealer to beat your total. This tends to mean that you want to start seriously considering standing at around 17 total. The idea here is that, unless you can see an ace from the dealer, you’re fairly likely to have more than them at this point, given the amount of times cards that are worth more than 7 appear in the deck. If you have 19, you’re always standing, for example. You’re likely to bust if you hit, and it’s relatively hard to beat. The rules for this are fairly fluid so understand them well.

When To Hit In Blackjack

When

The basic idea behind when you want to hit in blackjack is twofold. First, you want to hit when you aren’t in much danger of going over or busting. Second, you want to hit when you need to beat a decent dealer total. This means that if you have a middling hand, let’s say 15, you’ll want to stand if the dealer’s face up card is fairly low, but hit if the dealer’s face up card is higher. This is because you can extrapolate the range of possible outcomes from the dealer’s face up card, and understand when you need to hit, and when you need to stand. There’s a lot of math that goes into this, but you can play by intuition as well. Remember, the goal of the game is to beat the dealer without going over - and that’s devilishly simple, but devilishly tricky as well.

When Does The Dealer Have To Hit In Blackjack

The basic rules that most dealers follow, across the board, are determined to their mathematical advantage over years of study and play. The dealer will always hit on anything below a 16 total. This is why, when you have a 17, you tend to consider staying - you have something fairly close to what they tend to stay at. This can get a little more complex when people start considering aces, which allow the concept of hard and soft 17s to enter the equation, but that’s mostly a discussion for a different page. Suffice to say, the basic rule they follow is that they will hit anything that is a 16 total or below.

Blackjack hands chart

Blackjack Guide Chart

When Does The Dealer Have To Stay In Blackjack

Dealers in blackjack follow strict rules - rules that are designed for them to play as optimally as possible against you. The basic idea behind most of them is to optimize their mathematical odds at victory. For this reason, almost all dealers will stand when their total is 17 or above. As before, aces throw a bit of a wrench into this equation, but there is a lot of grey area in Blackjack. The basic rule they follow is to stand on 17 because that puts the onus on you to beat a 17, which is pretty hard to do without going over.

Hit Or Stand Cheat Sheets

Here is a very basic legal blackjack hit or stand cheat sheet. Remember that the math changes depending on which type of blackjack you’re playing, so make sure you understand what’s going on in each variant you play.

When Dealer Hits In Blackjack No Deposit

Your HandUp Card
2345678910A
<11HitHitHitHitHitHitHitHitHitHit
12HitHitStandStandStandHitHitHitHitHit
13StandStandStandStandStandHitHitHitHitHit
14StandStandStandStandStandHitHitHitHitHit
15StandStandStandStandStandHitHitHitHitHit
16StandStandStandStandStandHitHitHitHitHit
17-21StandStandStandStandStandStandStandStandStandStand