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blackjack strategy

By following a Blackjack strategy, you can significantly reduce the house edge, the strategies listed below are mathematically proven to ensure you have the very best chance of winning.  Pay attention to the different versions - make sure you use the correct one for the right game.

We've listed the two main Blackjack strategies in this section, for the commonly found single and multi deck versions of the game.  We have also included 2 articles written by Alan Au Yeung from Winneronline on the 'Hitting on 16' debate

Visit our Blackjack Rules section for full and comprehensive rules.


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The ‘Hitting on 16 debate’

Both articles below are by Alan Au Yeung from

Why hit on 16?

“We've often told you that, to play blackjack effectively, you need to follow the basic blackjack strategy. You may or may not have taken this advice, and if you did, you've probably detoured from it on occassion -- especially when it comes to hitting on 16 when the dealer shows a 7. I'll admit, I've done it too.

For myself, and others who are curious as to why we should hit on 16, we went to our good friend Michael Shackleford, better known as the Wizard of Odds.

"First you are in a damned-if-you-do damned-if-you-don't situation with 16 against a 7. You will probably lose either way. However your probability of winning or pushing is better by taking a hit. For every dollar you bet you will lose 40.86 cents by hitting and 47.65 cents by standing? Wouldn't you rather save the extra 6.79%?"

6.79% is a fairly decent savings. According to the Wiz's blackjack appendix 9i (based on a 6 deck game), here's another interesting example of a damned-if-you-do damned-if-you-don't situation:

While holding 10,2 against a dealer's 4, you can expect to lose 21.11% if you STAND and 21.04% if you HIT. That's only a savings of 0.07% if you HIT. However, if you hold a 8,4; 9,3; or 7,5 against a dealer's 4, you can expect to GAIN 0.69%, 0.74%, and 0.78% respectively if you choose to STAND.

So, the next time want to take a risk by detouring from the basic blackjack strategy, remember that it's safer take a gamble on a 12 vs a dealer 4 rather than a 16 vs a dealer 7”

Follow up to ‘Why hit on 16’

In response to a previous article, Why hit on 16, Brian S. wrote to us explaining why he thought players should STAND on 16. His ideas were well thought out and we were sure other people have had similar concerns. For this reason, we decided to investigate the issue further. You can read Brian's email here.

To study this senario, we decided to write a program which simulated 10 million hands of blackjack in which the player held 16 and the dealer showed a 7. The results are shown below. The figures should be accurate to within + or -0.1%.

Player HITS on 16 when dealer shows 7

BUST 5,834,208 hands (58.3%)
LOSE 761,815 hands (7.6%)
TIE 613,452 hands (6.1%)
WIN 2,790,525 hands (27.9%)

Player STANDS on 16 when dealer shows 7

BUST: 0 (0)
LOSE: 7,340,567 hands (73.4%)
TIE: 0 (0)
WIN: 2,659,433 hands (26.6%)

In this senario, where the player HITs on 16, he will win 27.9% of the time and tie 6.1% of the time. When the player STANDs on 16, he will win 26.6% of the time and will not tie any hands. It's fairly obvious that HITTING on 16 would be better in this case because you will win more.

We also ran the program in a senario where the player STANDS on 16 while dealer holds 10 (as Brian suggested). Here are the results:

Player STAND on 16 when dealer shows 10

BUST: 0 (0)
LOSE: 7,881,486 hands (78.8%)
TIE: 0 (0)
WIN: 2,118,514 hands (21.2%)

Player HIT on 16 when dealer shows 10

BUST: 5,831,517 hands (58.3%)
LOSE: 1,451,422 hands (14.5%)
TIE: 656,850 hands (6.6%)
WIN: 2,060,211 hands (20.6%)

In the senario where the player STANDS on 16 when the dealer shows a 10, the player will win 21.2% of the time. If the player was to HIT on 16 in this senario, the player will win 20.6% of the time and will tie 6.6% of the time.

It appears that the player will win 0.8% more hands of he STANDs, however, we need to keep in mind that the player who HITs will tie 6.6% of the hands. So...

If a player played $1 blackjack where every time he would get 16 and the dealer would show 10: At the end of his 10 million STAND-on-16 session, he would have $4,240,000. If he was to HIT on 16, he would have $4,120,000 (WINS) + $660,000 (TIES) = $4,780,000. This would be $540,000 (12.7%) MORE if a player HIT on 16 when the dealer shows a 10.

By these results, we can see that the basic strategy is indeed correct in telling the player to HIT on 16 when the dealer shows 7 or higher.

We recommend William Hill Casino for your next Blackjack Game


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