• August 3, 2021

Blackjack Hard Hands

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Where strategy becomes more complicated in application is when playing what’s known as a “hard” hand. A hard hand is any hand that doesn’t include an Ace, or where an Ace can’t be counted as 11. Hard hands differ from both “soft” hands that contain an Ace and “stiff” hands which are likely to bust on a hit.
The first key to a hard hand strategy is to always expect that the dealer’s down card is a 10. That’s because there are more cards that can count as 10s than any other amount in a 52-card deck. Multiply the 16 10-count cards in one deck by the number of decks in play, and you get a good idea of how many 10s can be in play. For this reason, it’s also a good idea to assume that any hit you take will give you a 10, and to plan out how that will affect your hand. Following both of those suggestions can help you discern the proper strategy for you, no matter what hand you’ve been dealt.
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Tens are also vital when hoping to be dealt a blackjack, since a 10 and an Ace will give you a winning total of 21, what’s known as natural blackjack. Natural blackjack even pays out better, at 3 to 2, than other hands. This makes quite a difference to the player edge.
Fives can be troublesome. They can create stiff hands in an instant, and it’s startlingly easy to go bust on a stiff hand. Consider this: If all the four 5 cards were removed from the deck, the advantage instantly shifts from the house to the player. Just four cards out of 52 can alter the entire probability of the game.
Finally, the blackjack strategy of card counting would be impossible without 5s or 10s in the deck. That’s how important those two cards are to the overall probability of winning in blackjack. Now that you know this, here are some general guidelines for playing other cards in a hard hand.
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Steve Carr

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