The dealer has a 2 of hearts showing. The person at third base says “you know that the 2 is a dealer’s ace.” The person in between us says “ugh, we’re done.” I take a drink and tell them “no” and “settle down,” respectively. A 2 is not the dealers Ace and no, we’re not done.
For some reason, there’s a lot of mystery about blackjack. There are more blackjack tables in casinos than any other game. More people are playing blackjack and risking more money at the game, yet they don’t really understand simple basic strategy or probability of hands occurring. This doesn’t make much sense.
Recreational gamblers have built up many blackjack myths over the years. Perhaps these myths have been created to protect players who continually make the wrong plays. The majority of gamblers are spending their discretionary income on a night at a casino instead of going to the movies, for example. Not everyone prepares for a night in a casino or vacation by studying.
Dealer Bust Odds
The odds of a dealer busting when they’re showing a 2 are 35.30%. The odds of the dealer busting when they show an Ace is much lower. Dealers bust 11.65% when they have an Ace showing. That’s 2/3rds less often than when a 2 is showing. No, a 2 showing isn’t the same as having an Ace showing.
I’m often a contrarian when I hear random people spouting off about the odds of something happening in a casino. It’s good to have data to back up your point if you’re arguing against conventional thinking. Here are the actual odds of the dealer busting based on their up card:
2 – 35.30%
3 – 37.56%
4 – 40.28%
5 – 42.89%
6 – 42.08%
7 – 25.99%
8 – 23.86%
9 – 23.34%
J,Q,K – 21.43%
A – 11.65%
Dealer bust cards 2-6 are called that for a reason. When the dealer shows those cards, they’re much more inclined to bust. Looking at the bust probability of a dealer is a good way to understand why certain plays are recommended when playing blackjack basic strategy.
If a player doesn’t use basic strategy, they’re looking at approximately an 8% disadvantage. Playing perfect basic strategy can bring the disadvantage down to as little as 0.5%. Counting cards without getting caught can even help the player find a small 1%-2% advantage when playing blackjack. Of course, the rules of a specific game will dictate the advantage.
Blackjack Is A Game Of Skill
Not every game in a casino takes skill. The odds in roulette don’t change when a player makes a certain wager. The only skill with 3 Card Poker is whether or not to play a hand. Even though I always set my dice with a flying V (two 3’s with the dots meeting one another) I know that setting dice in craps doesn’t actually change anything.
Blackjack is a different game than most in a casino. Over time playing blackjack with correct basic strategy will reduce the house edge the casino has over the player. Every wrong play is an edge for the casino. Learning the skill of basic strategy will allow players to enjoy more time at the table and increase the possibility of hitting a hot streak and walking away from the table as a winner.