Blackjack Tips: Fear of Busting

One mistake that a lot of blackjack players make is being afraid of busting. They know that if you draw a hand over 21, you lose, so when their hand starts creeping up there, they back down and stand when they should hit or even split. Playing too timidly gives the dealer an additional advantage. To take advantage of the low house edge, you have to stick to basic strategy, even if it means hitting when you might bust.

If you have a hard 12 or higher, you might bust. A hard 12 has a 31% chance of busting. Hands of 12 through 16 are called stiff hands because you have a good chance of busting if you hit, but they aren’t generally high enough to win. So basically you will often lose with them regardless. If you have a hand of 16, there is a 62% chance you will bust if you hit. So does that mean you should always stand with that hand?

No, it does not. If the dealer shows a 7 or 8 as an up card, you should hit. If the dealer shows a 9, 10 or ace, you should surrender if you can. If the rules don’t allow it, you should hit, even though you have a 62% chance of busting. That is because your odds of losing are even worse if you stand. If the dealer shows a 7 or better, the odds are they have your hand of 16 beat. In fact, due to the dealer’s rules, the dealer will always beat a hand of 16 unless they bust. For that reason, you would take a chance and try to better your hand. If the dealer shows anything less than a 7, though, don’t take the chance, since the dealer has good odds of having a stiff hand and busting.

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