What Is an Ace in Blackjack?

Table of Contents

Blackjack is a casino favorite, loved for its fairly simple rules. But there is one thing that is still capable of causing confusion. What happens when you hit an Ace? The amount this card is worth will vary, depending on the hand you hold. Luckily, this isn’t as baffling as it appears. Let’s look at how Aces work. 

Deciding The Value Of An Ace In Blackjack

Aces are worth either 1 or 11. The value you choose depends on the other cards that you have been dealt. The Ace has a ‘soft’ value of 11 points. This is the default. However, if valuing the Ace at 11 would cause you to go bust, it moves to its ‘hard’ value of 1. 

Practical Example

When you first hear about this, it can be a little confusing. But looking at a few practical examples should help clear things up.

Let’s start with an example of where the Ace will be valued at 11. Let’s say that your first two cards are a King and an Ace. In this case, the Ace would be counted as an 11. When paired with a King, which is worth 10, your score would be 21, winning you the game. 

Let’s look at another example. Imagine that your first two cards are a 7 and a 3, netting you a score of 10. Based on this, you decide to take another card. You end up being lucky and get an Ace. It’s valued at 11, giving you a score of 21, and allowing you to win the hand. 

Now, here’s an example of when the Ace is valued at one. In this scenario, you begin the game with an Ace and a 3. The Ace starts being worth 11 points, giving you a score of 14. This is known as a soft hand, meaning the Ace is valued at 11. You decide to get another card and land an 8. This would be worth 22, causing you to go bust. To prevent this, the Ace changes from its soft value of 11 to its hard value of 1. Now, your hand is worth 12 points. 

Let’s look at one final example. Let’s assume that you get dealt two Aces. Obviously, they can’t both be valued at 11, or you would get a score of 22 and go bust. So, you value the first Ace at 11 and the second at 1, for a score of 12. You decide to get a third card and get a Queen. Picture cards are valued at 10. To avoid going bust, both your Aces must be valued at 1, giving you a score of 12. 

Conclusion

Every card in the deck has a set value, except for the Ace. Better yet, the card’s value shifting allows you to build the strongest hand possible. It’s no wonder blackjack players start smiling whenever the dealer hands them an Ace.

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