When to Stand in Online Blackjack

If you're new to the game of online blackjack a question you probably ask yourself is when to stand in the game. Obviously the aim of the game is to get as close to 21 as possible but there is also the risk of busting if you hit with a higher total and this of course means that you'll lose the wager you have made.

Here we'll take a look at basic blackjack strategy to answer that question so that you'll know how to play to win.

If your hand totals eleven or less then busting is not a concern and you can happily hit in order to obtain another card, which will put you closer to 21.

If however your hand totals 12 or more, then you will need to be more cautious as the probability of busting is 32% due to the fact that if you are dealt a 10 value card (any of the Royal suite ‐ including a King, Queen or Jack) your total will be 22 and you will bust resulting in a losing bet. That said though standing with a value of 12 does not put you in a very strong position to win either because you still have to play your hand against the dealer.

On the other end of this extreme, if your hand totals 20 then there is a 92% of busting if you opt to hit. So all hands inbetween 12 and 20 have between 32% and 92% chance of busting. This leads to the question of when to stop hitting.

The answer is unfortunately not all that straightforward as it will largely depend on what the dealer is holding and you will have to judge what to do based on his face up card, whether you are holding a soft or a hard hand as well as what rules apply to the blackjack game you are playing (different variants have different rules).

The solution however has been obtained after computer simulations of hundreds of thousands of hands in order to find the optimum blackjack strategy for standing. This can be illustrated in eight deck American Blackjack where the dealer stands on soft 17 and will check for blackjack at the start of the game.

If you hold a hard hand then the rules will dictate the following ‐ for a hand totalling 12 you should stand if the dealer's upcard is four, five or six. For hands totalling 13 to 16 then stand only if the dealer is holding six or less. If the dealer holds higher values then you should always hit as the dealer has good odds of reaching around 20 when he does. Finally, for hands totalling 17 and above, always stand.

However, should you hold a soft hand then you can afford to play more aggressively because should your total exceed 21, the Ace you are holding can be counted as one instead of 11 so in this instance you can always hit on values up to 17 and stand on a value of 19 or more and only stand if you have a hand valued at 18 and the dealer has 8 or less.