Blackjack Odds: Chance of Busting

If you are new to the game of blackjack, whether you prefer to play at online casinos or the brick and mortar variety, you have likely studied the basic strategy charts. You may have even studied the reasons behind each of the player decisions, as I have covered in various series in this blog.

Player decisions are based on the likelihood of your hand beating the dealer’s hand. One thing that plays heavily into that strategy is the odds of busting, both for the dealer and for the player. Anytime you have a certain hand, there are a number of cards that can help you and a number that will not. Depending on the hand, some cards may cause you to bust. Therefore, being a good blackjack players means knowing how likely you and the dealer are to bust. Here is a short guide to help you with that.

Players and dealers can only bust if they have a hand of a hard 12 or more. If you have a 12, there is a 31% chance of busting if you take a hit. Hitting a hand of 13 gives you 39% odds of busting. A full chart is listed below. You may notice that as your hand total gets higher, so do your odds of busting. That is because as your hand gets higher, you are getting closer to 21, so that means more cards would put you over that limit. Remember that the dealer will always draw to a 17:

Hand value — % of busting
21 – 100%
20 – 92%
19 – 85%
18 – 77%
17 – 69%
16 – 62%
15 – 58%
14 – 56%
13 – 39%
12 – 31%

In the next blog I will show the dealer’s likelihood of busting based on his up card as well as the player’s odds when that card is shown.

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