Learning how to play online blackjack for real money can be fun and profitable. To be successful you must master some basic blackjack skills and strategies. One of these is understanding the best starting hands that both you and the dealer can have. This will help you make the decisions that are required of you at the blackjack table. Let’s evaluate the starting hands in online blackjack and how you should proceed.
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1 – A-10 (Blackjack)
This is obviously the hand that you want to be dealt in a game of online blackjack. Unless the dealer also has a blackjack you are a winner. You’ll also be paid off at 3-2 for making a blackjack on your original two cards. There are no decisions to make here unless the dealer shows an ace. You’ll then need to decide if you will take insurance or decline it.
2 – 10-10 (20)
The second best starting hand in online blackjack is two ten-valued cards. In blackjack all tens and face cards are regarded the same. Each has a value of ten. You could have K-J, Q-Q, or K-10. It doesn’t matter. All of those hands give you a starting total of 10, and that practically guarantees you a win. The only decision here is to stand no matter what card the dealer is showing. The only way a dealer can beat you is with a total of 21. NEVER split 10’s at the blackjack table. You are giving away a winning hand when you do.
3 – A-8 (19)
19 is obviously the next best starting total that you can have in blackjack, but there are two ways to make it. This hand of A-8 is known as a soft 19 because there is no card in the deck that will bust you. In other words, you can take a hit without worrying about busting. Why would you want to take a hit on a total of 19? In almost every case you wouldn’t. But if the dealer were showing a 10 and you were card counting, maybe there are situations where you would hit the hand. We ranked it higher than a regular 19 only because it is a soft hand. In online blackjack always stand with this hand.
4 – 10-9 (19)
This total is called a hard 19 because it can be busted with almost any card in the deck. When you start with this hand in online blackjack you will always stand. It doesn’t matter what the dealer shows. In most cases you will be a winner whenever you have a 19 to start.
5 – A-7 (18)
A soft 18 is next on the list of best starting hands in online blackjack. Once again, the hand only gets ranked higher than a hard 18 because there is no card in the deck that will bust it. In online blackjack you should always stand with this total regardless of whether it is hard or soft. In a live casino the very experienced card counter might do something different, but that would be a rare occurrence indeed.
6 – 10-8 (18)
Closing out our list of starting blackjack hands is the hard 18. This hand also requires no thinking on your part. You are going to stand with the hand in all situations. An 18 is a very strong total in blackjack, and you will win in most cases when you are dealt this total to start.
Aren’t Some Other Starting Blackjack Hands Better?
You will notice that we ended our list with a starting total of 18. We expect that we will get a few emails or comments from experienced blackjack players who will want to know why we didn’t include hands like A-A, 8-8, or 8-3. Those can be very powerful starting blackjack hands. Why didn’t they make the list?
The answer is that to arrive at the best starting hands for online blackjack we approached the subject from the standpoint of a beginner. In our opinion the best case scenario for the beginner is one that doesn’t require much thought. The hands that we chose all require the online blackjack player to do one thing – stand. The only exception to that is a blackjack which may require an insurance decision.
Players that are new to blackjack need to perfect basic blackjack strategy, that it true. They also need to practice until the right decision is intuitive. That takes time, and hands like A-A or 8-3 will not always require the same player response. The action that the player takes will be dependent upon the dealer’s upcard. In the hands we have chosen the dealer’s upcard doesn’t matter.
Stand, stand, stand.
Keep It Simple at the Online Blackjack Table
The beginner would do well to remember to keep things simple at the online blackjack table. There is no need to get fancy with your play. When you have a strong hand to start, stand on it. Perhaps the biggest mistake made by the new online blackjack player or the newcomer to a live casino is the splitting of 10-10. It happens with regularity.
The simple act of not doing that will increase your chances of winning at online blackjack. Standing on the totals that we have mentioned will improve your odds because these hands will win a large number of blackjack games. Always stick to the basic blackjack skills when you play online. Don’t let hunches or sheer gambling affect how you play.