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Blackjack Hard Hand strategy

"Hard hands" are basically the card hands that don't include Aces. For example, you get a "Hard 15" when your cards are 10 (or, say, Queen) and 5. In fact, "Hard" hands can contain Aces in cases when other cards in a hand equal 11 and more. The Ace in such case has to be counted as 1. For example, a "Hard 15" with an Ace can look like 10 plus 4 plus an Ace counted as 1.

Correct basic blackjack strategy for "Hard hands" may significantly reduce the house edge in the game and possibly give the player an opportunity to beat the dealer's hand.

Favorable and unfavorable situations

"Stiff hands" are the hands that value between 12 and 16. Such hands are usually too weak to win and also have good odds of eventually going bust. Most blackjack guides recommend surrendering such hands if there is an opportunity.

"Hard hands" from "Hard 9" to "Hard 11" are seen as Potential Double hands. It is recommended to double in most cases when the player gets such hands.

Using the "Hard hand" strategy

Just like in the strategy for Soft hands, here it is very important to keep in mind the dealer's face-up card ad build your strategy respectively. According to the basic strategy chart for Soft Totals, the players are to make the following decisions:

  • In case the player's hand total makes 8 or less, the player should always hit.
  • With a total hand value of 9 the players should double the bet with the dealer's 3 to 6 and hit in other cases.
  • With a hand value of 10, it is possible to double when the dealer's face-up card is 2 to 9. The players are to hit in the rest of cases.
  • When the player has 11, he or she can double with the dealer's 2 to 10 and hit when the dealer has an Ace.
  • With a 12, it is recommended to stand when the dealer has 4 to 6 and hit in other cases.
  • With a 13 to 16 it is better to stand if the dealer's card is 2 to 6. In other cases players may hit.
  • With 17 to 21 the only possible option is Stand.

Applying the Hard Hand strategy it is also important to remember that the odds of dealer's face-down card being a 10 are very high. In fact, the number of cards valued 10 in the deck of 52 cards is 16, which is higher compared to other cards. One can also suppose that another hit may bring a 10-valued card and make his or her decisions while playing blackjack accordingly.