How to Play a Hard 16 in Blackjack?

How to Play a Hard 16 in Blackjack?

Published Date · July 30, 2019 · Last Updated · March 13, 2024 ·Read Time · 3 mins


In blackjack, Hard 16 is a game most players dread. If you hit, stand or split a hard 16, your chances of winning would still be so low. So, what’s the best way to play out a hard 16 hand in blackjack.

In the post, we would be showing you an illustration of what to do if you have a hard 16. A hard 16 hand is a blackjack hand that doesn’t contain an ACE. And if the hard 16 contains an ACE, the ACE is counted as 1. For example:

  • 10-6
  • 7-9
  • 4-4-8
  • 7-8-ACE

Do you hit on 16 blackjack? Well, there can be more than one blackjack strategy for this.

What are your playing option for Hard 16

When you have a hard 16, there are three playing options you can choose; hit, stand, or surrender. Whatever you choose to be played depends on the dealer’s upcard, as well as the blackjack rules.

Blackjack Hard 16 hand strategy: Basic blackjack strategy

There is a basic blackjack strategy for playing blackjack when you have a hard 16 for optimum result. Below is a summary of how to play your cards against the dealer’s upcard. It should be a helpful read for what to do in an online blackjack game.

  • In a single or double deck game, we advise that you surrender against a dealers 10 or ACE upcard,
  • Still, in a single or double-deck game, stand against a dealer’s 2 through to 7 upcards,
  • Lastly, when you’re playing a single or double-deck game, you should hit against a dealer’s upcard of 9, 10, or ACE.
  • In a multi-deck game, we advise players to surrender against a dealer’s 9, 10, or ACE upcards,
  • Still, in a multi-deck game, you should stand against a dealer’s 2 through to 7 upcards,
  • Lastly, when you’re playing a multi-deck game, hit against a dealer’s upcard of 7 or 8,
  • If surrender isn’t an option allowed, hit on your hard 16 instead to try not to lose.

Blackjack Hard 16 hand strategy: Advanced Strategy

If you want to make use of the advanced playing strategy to play your hard 16 hands, you would need to consider the composition of your cards that makes use of advanced-strategy to play the hard 16 hand. For instance, if your card is made up of 3-cards or more let’s say 5, 6, 5, you’d have to play the cards differently compared to when you have a 10, 6-cards. What you’re to do in the different components of your hard 16 hands using the advanced playing strategy is as follows:

  • In a single or double deck, if your hard 16 is made up of three or more cards, you should follow the same options as mentioned in the basic strategy above. You’re to stand against a dealer’s 10-upcards rather than surrendering
  • In a single deck with soft 17 hits on a 9-7 against the dealer ACE upcard rather than surrendering.

Reason for this Strategies

The hard 16 is one of the worst hands you can have in an online blackjack game. No matter what you choose to play, you will lose more hands then you win. However, you can optimize your chances of winning by following the above strategy to minimize losses.

So, the reason why you sometimes surrender in hard 16 is that your chance of winning is less than one out of the four hands you have, that means your winning chances in the game is less than 50%. Statistically, when playing blackjack, if your chances of winning a hand is 25% and your chance of losing is 75%, you should surrender and walk away with 50%. Surrendering would earn you more money in the long run.

The reason why you stand in hard 16 is that in a case when the dealer’s upcard is small let’s say between 2 and 6, the dealer’s chances of bursting is high about 35% and 42%. So, in that case, you shouldn’t risk bursting by picking another card.

When the dealer has an ACE down to 7 upcards, the dealer can hardly burst with this type of cards. However, you should hit and risk burst rather than standing and still low; however, that is if the surrender posts option is not available.


Phoebe Greenwood

Content Writer