When to “Hit” at BlackJack: Guide for Beginners

BlackJack, often referred to as “21”, is one of the most popular and iconic casino games played today.

The objective is simple: to beat the dealer by having a hand total closer to 21 without exceeding it.

One of the key decisions in Blackjack is knowing when to ‘hit’, which means asking for another card.

Here’s a guide to help beginners make informed decisions about when to hit (as well as stand, or double-down).

Before diving into when to hit, it’s important to grasp the basic rules and objectives of Blackjack:

  • The game is played with one or more decks of 52 cards.
  • Each card has a point value: Number cards are worth their face value, face cards (Jack, Queen, King) are worth 10, and Aces can be 1 or 11.
  • The goal is to have a hand total that is higher than the dealer’s total point value – but not exceeding 21.

Whether or not to “hit” (or take another card) in Blackjack depends on your hand’s total as well as the dealer’s face-up card. Other options include “standing” (taking no more cards) or doubling-down (doubling your bet – allowed in some situations).

How Many Times Can You Hit in Blackjack?

If you hit in a blackjack hand, you can do so as many times as it’s possible to do so without busting (exceeding 21). So, if you have a particularly low hand, like two deuces against a dealer’s face up Ace card – you might want to hit two, three, or even more times in a row depending on the rank of the next card(s) you hit. You won’t be penalized for hitting more frequently, but you should remember that your hand total cannot over 21, or you lose your money on that particular hand (bust).

When To Hit at Casino BlackJack

Here are some general heuristics / guidelines regarding when to hit in BlackJack:

Your Hand Total is 8 or Less:

  • Always hit. You cannot bust (go over 21), and a higher total will improve your chances of winning.

Your Hand Total is 9 to 11:

  • Consider doubling down if the dealer has a lower card. If doubling down is not possible or advisable, hit, especially if the dealer shows a 7 or higher.

Your Hand Total is 12 to 16:

  • Hit if the dealer shows a 7 or higher. This is a risky zone, as there’s a higher chance of busting, but if the dealer has a strong card, hitting is often your best bet.
  • Stay if the dealer shows 6 or lower. In this case, the dealer has a higher chance of busting.

Your Hand Total is 17 or Higher:

  • Usually stand. The risk of busting is high, and you have a strong hand.

Soft Hands (A hand with an Ace counting as 11):

  • Hit on soft 17 or less. Since the Ace can be 1 or 11, you have a lower risk of busting.
  • Consider the dealer’s card. If the dealer has a strong card (7 or higher), you might need to hit even on soft 18.

Table of Blackjack “Hit”, Double-Down or Stand Examples

When to double down, hit or stand in Casino BlackJack
Your Hand Dealer’s Face-Up Card Action
8 or less Any Hit
9 2 to 6 Hit
9 7 to Ace Hit
10 or 11 2 to 9 Double Down or Hit
10 or 11 10 or Ace Hit
12 to 16 2 to 6 Stand
12 to 16 7 to Ace Hit
17+ Any Stand
Soft 17 or less Any Hit
Soft 18 2 to 6 Stand
Soft 18 7 to 8 Stand
Soft 18 9 to Ace Hit

Understanding when to hit in Blackjack is crucial for beginners. It’s important to assess both your hand and the dealer’s face-up card. Remember, these guidelines are not foolproof but are based on statistical probabilities. As you gain experience, you’ll be able to make more nuanced decisions. Always play responsibly and within your means.

Note: This guide assumes a standard set of rules without specific variations like Blackjack pays 6:5, dealer hits on soft 17, etc. House rules can affect these decisions, so make sure to know the specific rules of the table you’re playing at before wagering any of your own money.