When to Use Aggression and Passivity in the Game of Blackjack
May 17, 2013
In sports and games, aggression is usually rewarded more often than passivity. Aggression allows you to score and keep your opponents from scoring. However, in the game of blackjack, aggression isn't always a good thing. It's very important to pick your spots correctly when it comes to applying aggression in blackjack, and there are often times when it's much better to be passive instead. Our purpose here is to help you distinguish between the times that it's better to be aggressive and the times it's best to slow down.
Aggression in blackjack involves hitting and doubling trying to get a high total, and passivity generally means just standing instead. When you have a low total against a dealer card that is likely to bust, that's a great time to be passive. With a hard total that's even as low as 12, you should always stand if you're facing a dealer with a four, five or six. Dealers with these cards are so likely to bust out that it's not worth it to try to get a higher total. With hard totals of 13 or higher, you'll do best to remain passive when you're facing any dealer card that's six or lower.
When you have these hard totals and you're facing a dealer card of seven or higher, then it's time to be more aggressive. Generally speaking, you should always hit if you have a hard total of 16 or less and the dealer has a seven or higher showing. There are some exceptions to this rule like when you should double with 10s and 11s and when you should surrender with 15 or 16 in certain games. In most cases, however, you should be aggressive against strong dealer cards.
Another time that you should be aggressive is when you have a soft hand. You will never stand with a soft total of 17 or lower, and sometimes you should even hit with a soft 18. If you have a soft total of 17 or lower, and you're facing a weak dealer card, that's when it's time to really ramp up the aggression. These situations are usually excellent for doubling because you have so many good chances to make a strong hand while your opponent has a high chance of going bust. The combination of these factors make these hands perfect for doubling.