What is a 'Breaking Hand'?
A breaking hand refers to a hand in the game of blackjack
which can go over 21 or “break” with a one-card draw, such as a hard 12 to 16. This term should not be confused with the Blackjack term “bust
”, which means a hand with a total that has already exceeded 21.
'Breaking Hand' Explained
A breaking hand, also known as a “stiff hand
” or “hard hand
” is a blackjack hand which does not contain an ace or a hand where it is possible to go over 21 with the addition of just one more card.In blackjack, hands are known as “soft”, “hard” and “stiff”. An ace is the most important card in a game of blackjack. It can either be counted as a one or an 11 – whichever is more beneficial to the player.A “breaking hand” or “hard hand” is a blackjack hand with either no ace, or one that must count as a one. For example, a blackjack hand containing an ace, a five and a seven is a “Hard 13”. The ace must be counted as a one in this case, as the hand would go over 21 or become “bust” if it was counted as an 11.A “break card” is the card which can send the hand over 21. In order to win at blackjack, players must understand the importance of “break cards
” and “breaking hands”. The player has to be closer to 21 than the dealer, without going over 21.If the player goes over, this is called “busted.” In the case of a “tie
”, neither the player nor the house wins the game.In casino blackjack, the “house’s” greatest advantage
is that the player must act first – which means that if a player goes over 21 or “busts”, the casino immediately takes the player's money.