Blackjack is a rare casino game that requires a great deal of skill yet is still highly dependent on chance. Though you can’t control which cards you and the dealer receive and don’t know ahead of time what they will be, by playing correct strategy you can maximize your chances of winning. Blackjack basic strategy was developed over time and uses statistics to give you the best odds of winning. Previously I have covered what to do with soft hands. In addition, I have covered the strategy for hard hands through a hard 10. Here is what to do if you’re staring down at a hard 11.
Like the other hard hands I have covered so far, you should never stand on a hard 11. If the dealer shows a 2 through a 10 as an upcard, you should double down. If the dealer shows an ace, however, you should take a hit.
The reason you should never stand on a hard 11 is that there is no possibility of going bust. The highest value card that you can be dealt is a 10, and that would bring you to 21.
A hand of 21 is unbeatable; the best the dealer can do is tie it for a push. That is why you should double down if the dealer shows anything other than an ace. Your chances of winning with a hard ten are very good, regardless of what the dealer has. Since there are 16 ten-value cards in the deck, you have a better chance of drawing a 10 than any other number. That means you have a great chance of getting a hard of 21. When the odds are tilted that far in your favor, doubling down is a good idea because it puts more money into play.
If the dealer shows an ace, however, things are different. Because the odds say there is a good chance that the dealer’s hole card is a 10, there is a high probability that the dealer has a natural blackjack. That hand can’t be beaten. For that reason, though you still want to hit and take another card, you don’t want to put more money in play.
Following this strategy doesn’t guarantee success. After all, sometimes when you hit your hard 10 you will still be overdrawn by the dealer, especially if he has 21. However, following this strategy in the long run gives you the best odds of winning. In the game of blackjack, that’s what you need to do: Play for the long run.