Blackjack - When to Hit and when to Split

Since arriving from France to the US in the nineteenth century, blackjack has become one of the most popular casino games in the world. The idea behind the game is simple: you and anyone present at the table, including the dealer, receive two cards. The goal is to score twenty-one, or at least get to it as close as possible, and beat the dealer.


Once you get the first two cards, it’s time to make a crucial decision. You’ll have two options, to “hit” or “stand”. You’ll choose to stand if you’re satisfied with the cards you’ve got, and you don’t need any additional cards. However, if you want to improve your hand, the best move is to draw more cards.

To make the right decision, you’ll need to understand the rules of the game and know the value of each card in your hand. The numbered cards have the value of the number on them, while face cards (jack, queen, and king) are worth ten points. An ace can be worth one or ten points, depending on which suits your hand better.

Apart from being an essential part of the game, knowing when to hit can decrease the house edge by half. So, if you’re looking for improved odds, you need to know when to make such a move. The same goes when it comes to split, which we’ll discuss later.

Players can choose to hit on any hand totaling twenty-one or less, although they shouldn’t do that always. It’s not advisable to hit if you’re too close to twenty-one because you’ll lose your bet if the hand exceeds that value.

On the other hand, there are moments when hitting is the best option for a player. Here are the situations when it absolutely makes sense to hit.

If you have a total of eight in your hand, it’s advisable to hit. With so many ten-value cards in the decks, your odds of having a good hand are high. The same goes if the dealer has a higher-value card, such as seven, eight, or nine, in the hand. With such a card, it’s likely the dealer will make it to twenty-one, and as we previously mentioned, the main objective of blackjack is to beat his hand.

Some players decide to hit with a hand totaling twelve or thirteen, and the dealer has a lower-value card. We don’t suggest making this move since the hand is not likely to win, although that might happen depending on the next card you draw.

If you have a total of eleven, and the dealer has an ace, be sure to hit. You should do the same if you have a ten, and one of the dealer’s face-up cards is ten or an ace. Go ahead and hit if you got a nine, and the dealer has a two, seven, eight, nine, ten, any of the face cards, or an ace. On five, six, seven, and eight is always smart to hit.


The split becomes one of the options when the initial two cards you receive are of the same value.

It allows you to split your cards into two separate hands, and if you opt to do so, you will receive an additional card for each of your hands. To split also means you will have to place a new bet on your second hand. The bet must be equal to the original wager made at the beginning of the game.

We need to point out that some hands are more favorable to split, while in some instances, you should avoid making that move. Also, your decision to split or not will sometimes depend on the dealer’s up-card.

These are not rules, meaning the final decision will be up to you, but you need to keep in mind you are more likely to win if you follow this advice.

You should always split a pair of aces since there are lots of cards with a value of ten. If you don’t split, one will have a value of eleven, while the other will be given a value of one. In practice, that means you’ll need nine to get to twenty-win. If you draw a ten-value card, you’ll only have twelve, as both aces will be counted as one.

Having two eights is not considered a good hand in blackjack, no matter whether you decide to split or not. However, since you won’t have any room for maneuver, you should always split in this case. Doing so will improve your odds of a competitive hand.

As we mentioned earlier, on some occasions, your decision to split will depend on the dealer’s card.

Always split if you have two, threes, or sevens, and the dealer’s card is two to seven. The said cards are also known as “stinkers”. They can easily bust in one or two hits, but splitting them improves your chances of having a competitive hand.

Always hit if you have two nines, and the dealer’s up-card is two, three, four, five, six, eight, or nine. Choosing to hit on eighteen is pure madness, while standing doesn’t come with high odds of winning. Splitting is the best move you can make.

Also, split when you have sixes, and the dealer’s card is two, three, four, five, or six. Your odds of defeating a dealer are better if you split the sixes than if you play them as a single hand.

Now you know the right strategy, Go and try your luck at one of our recommended online casinos!

*Photo by Javon Swaby from Pexels

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