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Hard Hands - Blackjack Basic Strategy

Hard hands are called this because there is not really any slack for hitting and drawing high numbers without busting. Usually the big difference between the soft hand and the hard hand is a hard hand doesn't normally contain an ace and you have a higher risk of going over 21 points.

Basically, the strategy for hard hands is simple. Players should always hit on a hard 8 or less as our blackjack basic strategy guide states. On the other end, players should always stand when there is a hard 17 or higher due to the high risk of busting on a ten. The real strategy for hard hands happens for all the hands in between.

Stiff Hand

Hard hands usually end up being stiff hands, which are point totals of 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. These are the worst hands a player can have because there is a high probability of going bust. The only way this wouldn't be must of a problem is if the dealer also has a stiff card facing up, which is normally a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Any 10 point card or face card is going to make a stiff hand go bust according to basic strategy.

There are a few great hard hands that players can use for double down options. A hard 9, 10 and 11 are great because hitting a ten card would give the player a powerful hand to stand on with a good chance of winning. Check out our basic strategy pages in the navigation bar above to learn how to play hard hands and the reasons behind the strategy.

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