Below, we’ve included several examples of how various blackjack hands can turn out. We’ve included several because blackjack hands might play out. We’ve included several because we wanted to demonstrate how the various rules work in the game.
A player takes insurance
A player bets $50 on a hand of blackjack. The player is dealt a jack and a deuce for a total of 12. The dealer has an ace appearing face up.
The player decides to take out insurance. He posted another $50. The dealer checks his card and sure enough, it has a 10 in the hole, so the player wins $50 on the insurance bet, but he still loses his initial $50 bet. Any other players at the table they also lose their bet unless they have a total of 21, in which case the dealer ties for a push.
A player surrenders
A player bets $50 on a hand of blackjack. The player is dealt a ten and a six for a total of 16. The dealer shows a face-up 10.
The player decides to surrender. The dealer takes $25 from the player and the hand is over for that player.
In this case, surrender makes sense, because the player faces a greater than 50% chance of losing with a total of 16 regardless of their move. He thinks he’s better off with a 100% chance of losing half his bet than a 54% chance of losing his entire bet.
A player splits
A player bets $100 on a hand of blackjack. He gets two aces. He splits his hand, then puts in an additional $100, and he now has two hands, with $100 bet on each hand.
In hand #1, he is dealt a ten for his additional card, so he wins $150 in that hand.
In hand #2, he is dealt a nine for his additional card. The dealer ends up with an 18 at showdown, so the player, with a total of 19, wins even money on this hand: $100.
A player doubles down
A player bets $100 on a hand of blackjack, and he is dealt a nine and two for a total of 11. The dealer is showing a six.
The player announces, “Double up” and adds another $100 to his bet.
He is dealt a ten, for a total of 21. The dealer busts, so the player receives a payout of $200.
A player hits
A player bets $100 on a hand of blackjack and is dealt a nine and a seven for a total of 16.
The dealer has a nine as his upcard.
The player hits and gets a five. His total is now 21. He stays on this total.
The dealer flips his card over to show a ten. Since she has to stay on all totals of 18 or more, she loses, and the player wins $100.
A player gets up
A player bets $100 on a hand of blackjack and is dealt a nine and a seven. He has a total of 16. The dealer has five showing.
The player gets up. The dealer flips the card over and shows a ten, so it has a total of 15. It hits and gets another ten for a total of 25. It busts and the player wins.
Soft hands versus hard hands
We mentioned the difference between soft hands and hard hands earlier. It’s important to recognize the difference between these hands, because your decisions about how to play them will differ depending on whether you have a hard total or a soft total.
- You always have a hard total if you don’t have any aces in your hand.
- You sometimes have a soft total if you have an ace in your hand, but not always.
- A soft hand becomes a hard hand when the ace has to be counted as 1 to avoid going bust.
Generally speaking, you will play soft hands more aggressively than the same value hard hand.
The basic strategy page on this site provides more details on how to play strong hands versus soft hands.