Beating the Odds – The 5 Most Misplayed Hands in BlackJack

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#5 Most Misplayed Hand in Blackjack – 9,9 Vs 9

It is logical to split nines when the dealer has a small card, but what about when the dealer also has a nine? According to Henry Tamburin, a gambling author with a background in mathematics, most players have a hard time splitting their nines when the dealer also holds a nine. He goes on to explain that if you stick at eighteen, while the dealer holds a nine upcard, then you are mathematically only going to win 8 out of 20 times. However, if you split the nines, each of them is going to win on average nine and half times out of twenty, which means you would win one and half more times when you split nines, against a dealer nine, rather than standing.

#4 Most Misplayed Hand in Blackjack – 10,2 Vs 3

There is an unwritten rule in blackjack that if you have a stiff hand and the dealer has a weak upcard then you generally shouldn’t hit. But in the instance of twelve versus three, you should take a look at the percentages. If you look at your twelve, there are only four cards that could bust you, the ten, the jack, the queen and the king while there are five cards that will get you into the “safe range” of seventeen to twenty-one. Another reason to hit on a 12 versus three is that the three is not such a weak card for the dealer as you might expect. Your dealer has less chance of busting with a three than a four or five. Therefore when you have a twelve against a three, your best percentage play is to always hit that hand.

#3 Most Misplayed Hand in Blackjack – 6,10 Vs 10

There is no question that being dealt a sixteen against a dealer’s ten is a bad hand, no matter what you do, you’re in a losing situation. However, assuming you are not holding a pair of eights, the most cost-effective play that you can make in this instance is to surrender. When you surrender, you lose fifty percent of your bet, which means most players like to surrender because they feel like they are just giving away half of their money to the casino. The fact is, if you don’t surrender, the probability of you losing is greater than fifty percent.

If the casino doesn’t offer the surrender rule, your play should be to hit your sixteen, which will put you in a slightly better position than standing. Unless your sixteen is made up of three or more cards. In that instance, you already have a few low cards, so the odds slip slightly. You have already removed some small cards from the deck, therefore you are less likely to hit another small card and make a hand.

#2 Most Misplayed Hand in Blackjack – A,7 Vs 9

Most players believe when they have an eighteen that it’s a strong hand, they shouldn’t mess with it and should always stand. Most blackjack players can’t comprehend that even if the casino dealt them eighteen every hand for the rest of their life, then they would die a loser. In Blackjack, an eighteen is not good enough. So, when you are holding a soft eighteen (A,7), you have an out. That out is to hit. If you stand on a soft eighteen against a dealer’s 9, you are only going to win 8 out of twenty hands. If instead you hit, until you either get a soft nineteen, hard seventeen, or you bust, you are going to win nine out of twenty hands. Therefore you will win one more time in every twenty, when you hit soft eighteen against a nine, versus standing.

#1 Most Misplayed Hand in Blackjack – 8,8 Vs 10

This hand is misplayed more often than all other hands in blackjack. Most players feel that the dealer has a strong upcard, they are already in a losing situation with a pair of eights and if they choose to split they will lose two bets instead of one. It is true that sixteen versus ten is the worst hand you could be dealt in blackjack. You are only going to win twenty-three percent of the time. However, when your sixteen consists of a pair of eights you have an out, you should split the eights. Because when you split the eight, you are starting a hand with an 8. The chance of winning the hand when you start with an eight against a dealer’s ten, is thirty eight percent. So by splitting, you are increasing your chances of winning from twenty three percent up to thirty eight percent. Therefore you should always split your eight’s against a dealer’s ten.

Source: Henry Tamburin & American Casino Guide

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Hayley Reeve

Hayley Reeve is a digital content marketer for Casino Tours Abroad. In her spare time she can usually be found at the "Texas Hold 'em" poker tables.

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