Blackjack guide - The Worst Blackjack Hand

worst blackjack handIf you are a blackjack player you don’t surely like a hand with the point value of 16. Such a hand has always instilled fear in players. Most players with this hand avoid hitting the hand because the possibility to bust is very high. Many get so disappointed and frightened when they get this hand that they don’t pay any attention to the dealer’s face up card and stand at once. Others choose the surrender if available preferring to lose half a bet than to lose it all. If the 16 is a pair of 8’s the majority of players don’t want to split since there is a possibility to lose two bets in place of one. There is also the 16 which is made up with an Ace that is a soft 16. So what should you do when your hand is a 16?

We’ll start with a hard 16 hand. That is a hand without an Ace or with the Ace counted as one, for example, 7-9 or 4-6-6 or 8-7-Ace. According to the basic blackjack strategy, the player has to stand if the dealer’s face up card has a point value of between 2 and 6 and hit when the dealer’s card is 7, 8, 9, 10, or Ace. This strategy does not promise you to win every time but in the long term you will lose less.

Let’s see an example. You have a 9-7 and the dealer has an 8 face up. If you hit, you will lose 70% of the time on average and win 30%. If you stand you will lose 74% and win 26% on average.

You see your chances of winning are 4% better if you hit than if you stood. The dealer is the downright favourite, he wins 70% of the hands while you do only 30%. But it is really better than 26% if you stand. Therefore you should hit since your chance of winning in that case will increase by 4%, not very much, but when playing blackjack every percentage does matter in the long run.

So, remember when you have a hard 16 hand you’d better follow the basic blackjack strategy. Even if you lose more hands than you win using the basic blackjack strategy in the long run your losses will be less than if you use any other strategy. To lose less on bad hands is as important as to win more on good ones.

What to do if your 16 value hand is made up of three or more cards like 4-6-6? The basic strategy does not tell you what you need to do in this case. But, if your hard 16 hand consists of three or more cards, you’d better stand if the dealer shows a 10 because you are holding several small cards needed if you wanted to draw. So the odds are in favour of standing.