Types of Hands in Blackjack

It’s very important to understand the four different types of starting hands you can receive in blackjack in order for you to make the right call on your next move in the game. Ultimately the aim is to beat the dealer’s hand and not reach 21, the latter is the biggest misconception in the game.

Here is a look at how you should treat each of the four different starting hands at the start of your game.

Soft total

A soft total in blackjack is a hand where one of your two cards is an Ace. The Ace is the only card in the pack which has a dual value. It can either be used as 11 or 1.

An Ace is an attractive card to have as it can be used as an insurance. For example, if your starting hand is A5, your total is 16. In most cases you probably would not take an extra card on 16 but you should with a soft 16 because if you pick up a six or above, you will not bust your score as your Ace will convert into a 1. You can then build again or stand on your new total.

Hard total

Unfortunately with a hard total in blackjack, you get no second chances. Once you bust 21, it is game over. You should therefore be more cautious and use the dealer’s upcard to guide you into your next move.

It is always worth taking into account with a hard total that there are more cards to the value of 10 than any other in a pack of cards. This means it is always a risk to gamble on 14, 15 or 16. You should therefore never be afraid to stand on one of these totals. It is better to make the dealer earn the win by playing out their hand rather than busting and the game being over before they even turn their second card over.


When you a dealt a pair in your starting hand in blackjack, you have two options. You can leave them together and continue your hand like you would with any other two cards or you can separate them to create two hands.

The first thing you need to bear in mind if you do split your pair, is that you need to match your initial stake. You are then effectively playing with multiple hands, you as you would if you have played Atlantic City Blackjack Multi Hand with Betway where you can play up to five hands per game.

Obviously there are certain hands you should never consider splitting. A pair or 10s or Queens both equate to 20 and that is enough to win most hands. However, with a pair of 8s, you have the chance to covert a vulnerable score of 16 into two solid hands if you hit a 10 with each of your 8s.


If you are lucky enough to hit Blackjack in your starting hand, you cannot lose. Unless the dealer matches you with Blackjack themselves, in which case it is a push, you get paid out at odds of 3/2.

If the dealer has one of the two cards required for Blackjack as their upcard, you are able to take out an insurance. This is something which is not advised though as you will lose more money in the long run taking out these insurances than you will by being paid out on the dealer making Blackjack.

Practice Makes Perfect

The more hands you play in blackjack, the better placed you will be to know how best to play the above hands and what probability you are to win with your score. Hopefully you get your fair share of Blackjack which means you don’t have to do anything and you get paid our handsomely at 3/2.

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