Blackjack Strategy: Dealer 4 Card

This is the third part in the series covering what to do based on what up card the dealer shows. This is according to blackjack basic strategy, the accepted means of reducing the house edge to as low as 0.5%.

If the dealer shows a 4 card, he had a good chance of having a stiff hand (12-16), especially considering that there are more cards with a value of 10 than any other value (which would give the dealer a 14). With that in mind, here is what you should do when the dealer has a 4 as an upcard.

You should obviously hit with an 8 or lower, because there is no risk of busting and your cards aren’t good. If you have a 9, 10 or 11, you should double down. That is because the dealer has a bad hand that is likely to bust anyway. You, on the other hand, will have a hand of a 19, 20 or 21 if the next card you draw is a 10. Your chance of a good hand combined with the dealer’s likelihood of busting means this is a good situation to double your bet and take one more card.

If you have a hard 17 or more, you should stand as always. Against a dealer up card of 4, you should also stand if you have a hard 12-16. That is because you have a stiff hand and if you hit, you have a good chance of busting and low odds of improving your hand. On the other hand, the dealer also likely has a stiff hand. If you both bust, you lose, but if only the dealer busts, you win no matter what hand you have. Therefore, in this situation it is best to stand and hope the dealer busts.

Soft hands are a little more complicated when the dealer shows a 4. If you have a soft 13 or 14, you should take a hit, because your hand isn’t great, you have no risk of busting, and your hand would only win if the dealer busts. If you have a soft 15-18, you should double down. In this situation, there is no risk of busting. If you draw a low card you improve your hand but even if you draw a high card you are left with a stiff hand, which isn’t any worse than what you started in the case of the 15 and 16. Also, the dealer has a good chance of busting with his hand, so doubling the bet makes sense.

If you have a soft 19 or 20, you should always stand, no matter what card the dealer shows. You have a great hand that can only be improved with an ace or two and even though you can’t bust, your odds of ending up with a lower hand are better than your odds of improving your hand.

When it comes to pair splitting strategy, there is a lot to remember. If you have a pair of twos or threes, you should split against a dealer 4. The dealer is likely to bust and hands of 4 and 6 are likely to land you right in the middle of a stiff hand. It is better then to double your bet and start each hand with a two or three. If you have a pair of fours, though, you should hit because your 8 can become a hand of 18 if you draw a 10. If you have a pair of fives, you should double down because you have a good chance of drawing a 20 by taking one more card.

If you have a pair of sixes through nines, you should split when the dealer shows a 4. Hands of 12-16 are stiff hands that you always want to break up when you can. A pair of nines is a good hand (18), but if you split them you have a good chance of getting 2 hands of 19. If you have a pair of tens, you should always stand, because you already have a 20, which can only be improved with an ace. If you have a pair of aces, you should always split because an ace is the most powerful card with which to start a hand.

The above strategy works at online casinos and brick and mortar casinos.

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