When Dealer Hits In Blackjack



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.

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.

Common blackjack variations that are extremely popular among players don’t have much of an impact on the basic blackjack strategy and therefore you can play confidently knowing that the basic blackjack chart provided above will be good enough to cover popular variations where the dealer hits on soft 17 and when you double down after a split. You have an option to add more blackjack cards by choosing 'hit', but you lose automatically if your value of cards exceeds 21. Step 5: click ‘stand’ Click 'stand' when you are ready to play your hand. Step 6: learn the dealer’s hand. The dealer will reveal his hidden blackjack card and must always hit. The goal of Blackjack is simple—beat the dealer’s hand without going over 21. Both you and the dealer are dealt two cards each. However, while yours are face-up, only one of the dealer’s cards is visible. The dealer has to hit on 16 or less, and stand on 17 (standing on a soft-17 varies from casino to casino). When to hit in Blackjack. According to some casino rules, the dealer hits on soft 17. Soft 17 is a blackjack hand made up of a Six and an Ace which is being counted as 11 points. Any other combination that adds up to a value of 17, for example Ten plus Seven, is called “hard 17.” To determine whether a dealer hits on soft 17, look at the blackjack table layout.

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

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.

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.

Blackjack Guide Chart

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.

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

One important feature of all blackjack games, including Live Dealer Blackjack, that distinguishes them from most other casino games is that the outcome depends on not just luck, but also on the player’s skill. Knowing the correct Live Dealer Blackjack basic strategy won’t guarantee that you’ll have a winning session, but it improves your chances by reducing the house edge.

Rules matter

Rules matter, too, and all blackjack games are not created equal. Unfortunately, the price you have to pay for the extra entertainment you enjoy when you play Live Dealer Blackjack is less than ideal rules.

Eight decks

One unfavorable rule in Live Dealer Blackjack is that the game uses eight decks. So do many other land-based and online blackjack games, but certainly not all of them. Especially at higher minimum tables, standard blackjack games using fewer decks are available.

Other things being equal, the fewer the number of decks, the better the odds for the player. So eight deck games are not the best, but with Live Dealer Blackjack, you don’t have a choice.

Dealer must hit soft 17

Another rule that works against you in Live Dealer Blackjack is that the dealer must hit soft 17. For the benefit of those of you who are new to the game, a soft 17 is a hand including an Ace, whose total value can be either 7 or 17, depending on whether the Ace is counted as 1 or 11. In games where the dealer stands on soft 17, the Ace (in the two-card hand A-6 or a multi-card hand like A-2-4) always counts as 11. However, in a game where the dealer hits soft 17, the value of the Ace is only 1. So the dealer must continue to draw until the total value of the hand is at least a hard 17.

By the way, you, the player, should never stand on a soft 17. Against certain dealer up-cards, the correct Live Dealer blackjack strategy is to double down. Otherwise, and with all multi-card soft 17s, the correct basic strategy is to hit.

How the dealer hitting soft 17 hurts the player

Blackjack

When Dealer Hits In Blackjack No Deposit

The rule that the dealer has to hit soft 17 is bad for the player and good for the house. That’s because 17 is not a very strong standing hand. You can beat a dealer’s 17 with any hand of 18 or better or tie the dealer if you have a hand of 17 as well. The only way you could lose the hand is to bust.

On the other hand, by drawing an A, 2, 3, or 4, the dealer’s hand can improve to an 18, 19, 20, or 21. If the dealer’s next card drawn to a soft 17 is a 10, the hand becomes a hard 17. Or the dealer’s next card could be a 5-9. That would create a “stiff” hand (12-16), but it could still turn into a winning hand if the next card after that doesn’t bring the total to over 21.

When Dealer Hits In Blackjack Games

In short, with all the extra chances the dealer gets to improve, there are many different ways the dealer hitting soft 17 can work against you. That rule, combined with having to play with eight decks, increases the house edge to almost 1 percent, about twice that of some of the other blackjack games you can play.

When dealer hits in blackjack machines

Live Dealer Blackjack Basic Strategy

Given the above facts, you could choose not to play Live Dealer Blackjack at all. In fact, that’s exactly what I recommend if you’re a high stakes player. You need every possible edge you can get, and if you’re betting big money, even a small difference in house edge could add up to a big difference in bankroll.

On the other hand, for lower stakes players with busy schedules and limited playing time, Live Dealer Blackjack is an excellent game choice. It offers the same opportunity for fun and social interaction that you find in a real casino, but without the extra time and expense of traveling there and likelihood of higher minimum tables than desired.

Furthermore, of all the Live Dealer games available to you–blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and casino hold ‘em–blackjack has the lowest house edge of the bunch. But only if you follow the correct basic strategy.

How Live Dealer Blackjack Basic Strategy differs from Standard Blackjack Basic Strategy

Blackjack Hit Card

If you are already familiar with the correct basic strategy in multi-deck games where the dealer stands on soft 17, the good news is that the basic strategy when the dealer hits soft 17 is for the most part identical. So you don’t have to learn a whole new set of guidelines.

But there are a few changes when the dealer hits soft 17. So you need to be aware of them. That way, when the situation comes up in a Live Dealer Blackjack game, you will know and be able to apply the correct play.

According to “Wizard of Odds” Michael Shackleford and other blackjack experts, in the following situations, whenever the dealer has to hit soft 17, the correct basic strategy play is not the same as when the dealer stands on soft 17, but the following:

  • 11 vs. dealer Ace: double down instead of hit
  • A-7 vs. dealer 2: double down instead of stand
  • A-8 vs. dealer 6: double down instead of stand

Blackjack Dealer Rules

These plays may surprise you, but statistically they are correct. Basically, they give you an opportunity to try make a little extra money, and with the house edge for Live Dealer Blackjack being higher than in many other blackjack games, any extra advantage you can give yourself is worth taking.

Electronic Blackjack Machines

Of course, to maximize your chances of winning in Live Dealer Blackjack or any blackjack game, you should know the correct basic strategy for every possible combination of cards. This information is readily available online in easy to understand tables that you can copy and have with you when you play.