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Wildz Casino

Blackjack Hands

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Blackjack is an eternally popular casino game played in land-based casinos worldwide, so naturally, it’s become a staple game in online casinos like Wildz. Unlike other casino games like roulette, in which you need to place a bet and wait to see if you’ve won, you can change the course of a blackjack game by playing strategically.

Here at Wildz, we’re home to an array of online blackjack games, including Live Casino Blackjack, Power Blackjack, and Classic Blackjack. Our games are beginner-friendly, but you can get much more out of your experience by understanding and utilizing the blackjack strategy. It all begins with your starting hands – the first two cards you’re dealt in the game – and in this guide, we’ll take you through the best and worst blackjack starting hands and how to play them.

This is how to play the best Blackjack hands

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in the world because it’s so easy to play. Anyone can learn how to play blackjack properly with a thorough grasp of the rules and some basic blackjack strategy. The aim of blackjack is to beat the dealer by making a hand as close to 21 as possible, and the rules are easy to remember too:

  • All face cards are worth ten points
  • Numbered cards represent their numeric value
  • Aces can be worth 1 or 11

Some hands, however, are much easier to play than others.

As you may have guessed from the name, the best hand to play in blackjack is the Blackjack. This is a hand that totals 21 and is comprised of an ace, a ten or a face card. It’s a starting hand that can’t be beaten; if the dealer has a blackjack too, the result is a tie.

The next best hand to play is a Hard 20, which is comprised of two ten-value cards – either tens or face cards. This is a hand that you want to stand on since, on average, a hard 20 can win 80% of the time.

Other good starting hands are those that have a combined value of Ten or 11. You can play such hands by ‘doubling down’ - betting your initial stake again to receive another card. If the dealer also has a ten-card, be wary of doubling down since they are just as likely to make a hand of 20 as well.

Now that you know the best starting hands in blackjack, it’s important to be aware of the worst ones. A hand that’s worth 16 can be troublesome when the dealer holds a 10, an ace or a nine. Since there’s a high percentage of the dealer’s second card bringing their total to 20 (or just below), your best option is to draw a third card or ‘surrender’ your hand.

How to play Soft hands and Hard hands

In blackjack, you can be dealt soft hands and hard hands. They’re terms that you won’t see mentioned frequently in our Casino Guide as they don’t apply to other card and table games like roulette or baccarat, but they’re essential to blackjack players.

Playing Soft Hands

When you’re dealt an ace in your starting hand, you hold what’s known as a soft hand. Such hands are ideal and give you the flexibility to make several decisions during the course of the game. When you hold a soft hand, there’s no risk of going over twenty-one (and losing your bet) since you can change the value of the ace from 1 to 11 at any time.

Hand ValueWhat to do
13-14Hit against a dealer up card of 2-6 & Double down cards of 5-6
15-17Hit against dealer up cards of between 2-6 & Double down against 4-6
18Stand against dealer up cards of 2, 7, and 8 & Hit against 4-9
19+Always stand

Playing Hard Hands

Hard hands are fixed value hands that either don’t contain an ace or contain an ace with a value of one. Higher-value hard hands like 12 or 17 can be riskier to play since they increase your chances of going bust should you decide to hit. Hard hands with a low value ranging from four to eight can be improved, so there’s not as much risk involved in playing these.

Hand ValueWhat to do
4-8Always hit
9Double down against dealer up cards 2-6 & Hit against cards of 7+ (incl Ace)
10-11Double down against dealer up cards of 2-9
12-16Stand against dealer up cards of 2-6 & Hit against cards of 7+ (incl Ace)
17+Always Stand

Which hands should you split?

A unique aspect of blackjack is that you can split your hand if you’re dealt pair cards in your starting hand. This gives you the option to play two hands instead of one, but you will need to place an additional bet on the new hand that’s equivalent to your original stake. Beginners often make the mistake of splitting every pair-card hand they’re dealt, which actually works against them when trying to improve their blackjack odds.
Instead, focus only on splitting the following hands:

  • Aces – since there are plenty of ten-value cards in blackjack, you should always split a pair of aces.
  • Eights – a pair of eights is a poor starting hand since a third card above five will see you go bust. Always split your eights to improve your chances of making a competitive hand.

Furthermore, you should:

  • Split twos, threes or sevens against dealer two to seven
  • Split nines against dealer two to six, eight, or nine
  • Split sixes against dealer two to six

FAQs

What hand is strong in Blackjack?

An Ace and a ten make a natural blackjack hand. The ten can be any face card. The only negative outcome here is a tie, which means the dealer also got a natural.

How are face cards valued in Blackjack?

All the face cards have a value of 10 each. Aces count as either 1 or 11. An Ace will have a value of 11 unless that would give a player or the dealer a score above 21, in which case, it has a value of 1.

What is the worst hand in Blackjack?

If a player is dealt a pair of eights, a total of 16, considered a troublesome hand. The value 16 is said to be the worst hand one can have in Blackjack.

What does hitting on Soft 17 mean?

A soft 17 is 17 with an Ace. Ace can be counted as 11 or 1, providing flexibility on whether you should hit or not. The dealers must hit or stand on a soft 17, depending on the casino.

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