Hard 16 Meet the Dealer’s 7

This seems to be a rather tricky play for blackjack players to make.

When faced with a hard 16 against a dealer’s 7 you should be hitting it, not standing.

Okay, it’s not that it’s a tricky play, it’s that it’s a tough one to make, both in online blackjack and land-based blackjack. Tough as in your brain is telling you, ‘No, no, no! You’re going to bust! Don’t hit that 16! No!’

But let’s look at it this way for a moment, and you better tell your brain to pay attention to this. Let’s say that you have been dealt a hard 16. The dealer has a 7 showing. What play do you make? Hit or stand?

You should hit and here’s why. Using that defensive blackjack strategy in which you assume that the hole card is worth 10. Based on that assumption, then with that 7 and assumed 10 hole card the dealer would have 17. And if you had chosen to stand on your hard 16 you would have lost.

So why set yourself up to lose when you have the chance to better your hand by hitting.

Want further proof? Look at a blackjack basic strategy chart—look at the line for hard 16. Notice that you’re told to stand on 2-6 and hit 7-10 and the Ace. This is because with all hands 7 and up would beat a hard 16 that you stood on if you assumed that those up card were matched with a 10. Any hole card of 2-6 there is the chance that the dealer will hit to bust.

So in blackjack, again both online blackjack and land-based blackjack, you want to hit a hard 16 when faced with a dealer’s 7. It gives you the chance to build your hand into something stronger. And you know that the dealer is going to hit his hand whatever his hole card turns out to be.

Standing on a hard 16 against a dealer’s 7 is like giving up before you give yourself the chance. So give yourself and your hand a shot at winning. You may, you may not. But if you stand on that hard 16 you’re setting yourself up for a loss.