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Blackjack Hand Values

These are the blackjack card values used in almost all blackjack game variations:

  • Number cards (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10_ are played at face value.
  • Kings, queens, and jacks are worth 10.
  • Aces may be used as either 1 or 11

Player hand

One goal of blackjack is to get a hand as close to 21 as possible, but the main goal is to get a better hand than the dealer who is also trying to get to a value of 21 without going over.

The best of all blackjack hand values to have is the “Natural Blackjack” . This consists of an Ace plus a second card worth 10 (either a 10 or a face card). If a player is dealt this hand, then the hand is immediately compared with the dealer’s hand. Unless the dealer also has a natural blackjack, the player wins. If the dealer also has natural blackjack, this would result in a tie, also called a “push”, and the player’s original bet is returned.

Players can also get blackjack with three or more cards, but because there is risk involved in trying to get such a hand, a natural blackjack is obviously preferred.

Dealer hand

Dealers are bound by a few key rules that usually work in the player’s favor. These rules govern when the dealer can stand and when they can hit. They usualy involve a hand of 17, requiring that dealers hit to 17, and stand on any hand of 17 or more.

Sometimes, rules talk of “soft 17” or “hard 17”. A soft hand is one that contains an ace, so a “soft 17” is an ace plus a 6. IF a dealer can hit until hard 17 and they are dealt a soft 17, they must take another card. This is generally bad for players, since another card will force the ace to drop from a value of 11 to a value of 1, which can greatly improve the dealer’s hand.