How to Win the Most Misplayed Hands in Blackjack
In some blackjack hands, the odds between you and the dealer winning are nearly fifty-fifty. Learn how to navigate these tricky hands with Mr Blackjack.
- There are several hands in blackjack where the odds between the dealer and player are really close. Lesson 7, How to Win the Most Misplayed Hands in Blackjack. Even if you play them correctly using basic strategy, there's not always a guarantee you'll win them every time. However, what I can tell you is the most commonly misplayed hands, and that if you play basic strategy, you'll win them more often.
Misplayed hand number 1, player 12 on a deal or two or three, do you hit or do you stay? With 12, you have to think about what cards hurt you if they come out, which are 10, jack, queen, and king. You also need to consider which cards can help you-- ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.
So you have four cards that hurt you and nine cards that help you. In this case, you hit because you have a better chance at making a better hand. The dealer also has a better chance at making a better hand, so you basically have the same odds at this point. However, if you don't take a card, your odds go way down.
Another misplayed hand is a player's soft 18 on a dealer 10. Do you hit or do you stay? In this situation, you have to think that behind the dealer's 10 is another 10, therefore giving him 20. This makes your 18 a losing hand.
You have to hit your hand and hope for an ace, 2, or 3 in order to improve your current hand to get closer to 21. I would never suggest this with hard 18. But when you have an Ace in your hand and you can never bust, you should take that tiny advantage that you have and try to better your score.
Another hand is 9 on a dealer 3. Sometimes it's obvious when you get 11 and when you get 10. But when you have 9, you can't forget to double. Even if there's no card that can get you to 21, you're still in a favorable position versus the dealer's bust cards. You will double any 9 against a dealer 3 or 6.
Two 9's versus a dealer 7. So you find yourself with 18 against a dealer 7. You have to think the dealer has 17 under there, and you have 18 with your two 9's. It is tempting to want to split those 9's so you can maximize your profit. However, there's no guarantee that the dealer will bust.
And let's say you potentially get one 10, giving you 19, and the second card, you get a 7, giving you 16. So now you have a winning hand and a losing hand, putting your profit at zero. At this point, you wish you would had stayed with the original 18. Do yourself a favor. Don't force the action. Split when it's time and stay when the math says so.
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What this lesson covers
- Tricky hands in blackjack
- Why these hands are hard to win
- The best moves to make in these hands
Meet Mr Blackjack
With a career spanning two decades, Mathieu Blake knows his way around a blackjack table. He's taught and entertained over 100,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel NeverSplit10's . In this series he'll take you through basic strategy, card counting, and bankroll management. Take a seat with Mr Blackjack and become a winning player.
- Should I hit or stand on a 12 vs a dealer’s three?
You have a weak hand and the dealer has a bust card. In this situation, you must look at your potential to make a better hand and hit.
- Why is a soft 18 considered a weak hand if the dealer has a 10?
If the dealer has a 30% chance of their next card being a 10, then it beats a soft 18. According to basic blackjack strategy, hitting gives you a chance to make a better hand.
- What are soft and hard hands in blackjack?
Soft hands have an Ace as one of the starting cards. Given Aces are worth one or 11, these are called ‘soft’ hands because their value is flexible.
- Is there a particular strategy I should use for soft hands in blackjack?
Basic strategy incorporates the optimal move for soft hands in any scenario in blackjack. No additional strategy is needed for these hand values.
- Should I split my 9s if the dealer has an eight too?
The only time you should never split a pair of 9s is when the dealer’s up-card is a seven, 10, or an Ace. On these occasions, you should stand. Lesson four on splitting in season two of Blackjack Academy will tell you the optimal time to split in any blackjack scenario.
- Do dealers know basic strategy?
Blackjack dealers will have some knowledge of basic strategy at least, but they cannot use it. They must follow the casino’s blackjack table rules and either stand or hit on a soft 17.
- Can you use blackjack cheat sheets on these hands in the casino?
You can bring basic strategy charts to the casino to use on any hand. Some casinos will even sell you basic strategy cards at their premises.