Blackjack Card Values: Point Values, Hand Total, and Terms

Blackjack card values

Blackjack card values are crucial to understand when playing the popular casino game. Using a standard deck of 52 cards, each card has a corresponding point value that determines the total of a hand. In this article, we will explore the various card values and how they impact the game.

Card Values in Blackjack

The cards 2 through 10 count their face value, meaning a 2 of any suit is worth two points, a 3 is worth three points, and so on. All face cards, which include the King, Queen, and Jack, have a point value of 10. The Ace is a unique card in blackjack, as it can count as either 1 or 11. It is generally assumed that the Ace counts as 11 unless doing so would make the total exceed 21, in which case it reverts to a value of 1.

Blackjack Hands and Scoring

When totaling a hand, the sum of the point values of each card in the hand is taken. If the initial two cards dealt to a player total 21, this is known as a blackjack hand. A player blackjack will beat a dealer hand that totals 21 in three or more cards.

It is important to note that when splitting a pair of Aces, the resulting hands total 21 and not blackjack. When an initial two-card hand contains an Ace, the Ace should always count as 11. However, if the total point value of the hand exceeds 21, the Ace should be counted as 1.

Picture Cards and Splitting

All the picture cards in blackjack have the same point value of 10. Players are allowed to split any initial two-card hand when the point value of the two cards is the same. Splitting can provide an advantage to the player, as it allows them to play two separate hands, potentially increasing their chances of winning.

Hard and Soft Hands

In blackjack, it’s not just the total of the hand that determines how to play it, but also the composition of the cards in the hand, especially when an Ace is present. A hard hand is any hand that either does not contain an Ace or, if it does, counts the Ace as 1. A soft hand is any hand that contains an Ace that counts as 11.

Understanding the difference between hard and soft hands is essential when making decisions about whether to hit, stand, or double down. For example, a soft hand offers more flexibility when hitting, as the Ace can change its value to prevent the hand from exceeding 21.

Importance of Understanding Blackjack Card Values

Grasping the concept of blackjack card values is vital for both beginner and experienced players. It allows players to make informed decisions about their gameplay, increasing their chances of success. By knowing the value of each card, players can develop strategies and make choices based on the likelihood of achieving a winning hand.

Moreover, understanding blackjack card values can help players decide when to split, double down, or surrender. These decisions can significantly impact the outcome of a hand, making it essential to have a thorough knowledge of card values.


In summary, understanding blackjack card values is crucial to playing the game effectively. The cards 2 through 10 count face value, all face cards count 10, and the Ace can count as 1 or 11. The total of a hand is the sum of the point values of the cards in the hand, and a blackjack is any initial two-card hand that contains a 10-value card and an Ace. By mastering the concept of card values, players can improve their gameplay and increase their chances of success at the blackjack table.

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