The simple strategy followed by most players is that they always stay when dealt an 18. You can get an 18 while playing blackJack in many ways. And, it is known to be the most misplayed hands in BlackJack. You could either get a soft 18 or a hard 18.
First, let us understand the difference between hard and soft blackjack hands. A hard hand is any hand which doesn’t have an Ace or if it does, it will be counted as 1. For example, 8-7, ace-3-10-2, 9-7. Where as, a soft hand is any hand which contains an ace, such as A-2, A-3, A-4.
Now that we have understood the difference between the two hands, let us look at all the different rules this dicey blackjack hand can be played.
The strategy for a hard 18 is pretty straightforward. Always Stay. It doesn’t matter what cards the dealer has. And, the same strategy applies to other hands such as hard 17, hard 19, hard 20 and hard 21. These are pretty decent hands which give you the best chance of winning so you must always stay.
However, always winning a hard 18 is not certain as the dealer could get a higher card than you. So, don’t get all excited when you are dealt a hard 18.
The manner in which you play a soft BlackJack hand determines how much you know about the game. A well played basic strategy while playing a Soft 18 should be:
When to double down on Soft 18
It is ideal to double down when the dealer has a 3, 4, 5, or 6 as the dealer would eventually bust.
When to hit on Soft 18
Take a hit when the dealer has a 9, 10, or Ace.
You should always hit to try to get a better hand value than 18 to improve your chances of winning and don’t be afraid of busting.
When to stay on Soft 18
Stay when the dealer has a 2, 7, or 8
Multi-Card Soft 18
A lot of confusion arises among BlackJack players while playing a multi card soft hand. For example, suppose you were dealt a 4-3 and the dealer shows a 4. You hit and draw an ace and that becomes a soft 18.
So what action would you take here? Doubling down is not an option when you are draw a third card.
So to play multi-card soft hands perfectly, get one rule in your head: Always stay on dealer’s 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 and hit when he has a 9, 10 or ace.
Pair of 9s
A pair of 9s is a decent hand, so the correct strategy is to always split 9s when the dealer shows 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 or 9. To earn more points, split your pair of nines rather than play them as one hand. If you see that the dealer has a 7, Ace or a ten, it makes sense to just stay on your cards.
I hope this blog has helped you understand what BlackJack strategy to follow when dealt an 18. Best of luck at the tables!