Last week, we tackled part I of this series. We talked about staying off side bets and not deviating too much from the general and widely used Blackjack strategy. Today, we’re going to focus on certain hands that you should and shouldn’t be playing, even if it may go against conventional wisdom.
How you play these hands will require some gut instinct and some reading of the table, however it’s important to recognize when you’re in a hand that requires a different way of thinking.
Hand #1 – Standing on a 16 When Dealer Shows An Ace
When the Dealer is showing an Ace, you almost always want to hit. However, sometimes when a player has 16, he/she is afraid of busting so they’ll just stand.
If you are one of these people, this is a warning sign that you are bad at Blackjack.
Yes, you have a high chance of busting but when you compare that to the odds of a Dealer busting while showing an Ace, you quickly realize the only shot you have to win is to hit your 16 and give yourself a shot at winning the hand.
This is a bad hand and more than likely, you’re going to lose. However, as Wayne Gretzky once put it, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Put yourself in a position to steal the hand and always hit on your 16.
Hand #2 – Splitting 10’s When Dealer Shows A 6
Yes, this seems like the smart move. Why not double your chances at winning by playing 2 10s face up vs. a showing 6? There are many reasons to convince yourself that this is a good idea, but here’s the one key detail that everyone seems to forget: When you split 2 10s, you are openly throwing away a 20. Last time we checked, 20 is the 2nd best hand anyone can get in a game of Blackjack and you’d be throwing it away for the chance to maybe double up your money.
Bird in hand or two in the bush? How you answer this question will probably determine what you do in this situation moving forward. However, if the idea of the game is to beat the Dealer, it’s hard to ask for a better opening hand than a 20.
Hand #3 – Standing on an 18 When Dealer Shows A 9
This is the trickiest of tricky situations as giving up on an 18 will twist and churn your stomach more than the free booze you get at the table. Normally you don’t want to risk your 18, however with a near 40% chance that the Dealer turns over a 10 or Ace, your 18 won’t hold up.
This one may require some table reading, however more times than not your instinct should be to hit your 18. We know this is painful and you probably will still stay on your 18, but if you want to give yourself the best shot at winning, then you have to bite the bullet and ask for more on your 18.
Next week, we’ll conclude this series with part 3 and take a look at playing insurance, hitting 11s, and leveraging your tablemates.
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