17 Dec

False: I Can’t Lose if I Never Bust!

If the blackjack dealer advantage is the player busting, then I just won’t bust!

If the Blackjack Dealer Advantage is Player Busting, then Don't Bust?Did you ever hear of a strategy like this before? Sounds cray, right? So crazy that it just might work? A lot of casino strategies fall into that so-called-enigmatic category. Ultimately, none of them really work, and for two simple reasons.

  1. Such crazy schemes are always full of holes.
  2. There’s no (legal) way to gain an advantage over the house.

For clarification purposes, we’ll take a closer look at why the “never bust” approach to blackjack might sound appealing at first, and why it doesn’t work in the long run.

Blackjack Dealer Advantage is Player Busting

Like so many falsifiable schemes, this blackjack strategy rests solely upon the fact that the dealer’s advantage comes from the player busting before he/she takes a turn. Let’s reflect on that for a moment…

Theoretically speaking, everyone has the exact same odds of being dealt any specific hand value. A player could be dealt a natural blackjack just as easy as the dealer, the same as either one could receive 5+7, 6+8, or 10+J. Those odds are equal, and do not change.

The player has the right to do what he/she wants with their hand, while the dealer must follow strict ‘house rules‘, dictating when they must hit or stand. This also changes nothing.

Players could just as easily follow the ‘house way‘ when playing their hand, but it won’t give them any advantage. The casino’s edge in blackjack—as slight as it is—comes from one simple fact. The player can bust, giving the house an automatic win, no matter what cards the dealer is holding. Even if the dealer goes on to bust, the player who busted first will still lose.

And this is what brings about the theory that a player who never allows his/her hand to bust can regain that marginal advantage from the casino.

That Settles It – I’ll Never Bust!

This strategy is as simple to use as it was for its creator to concoct. By these rules, you follow the decisions of a basic strategy, except for one thing. Any time you’re dealt a hard hand total of 12+, you stand. To hit would be to risk busting, therefore you don’t do it. Instead, you stand and see what happens with the dealer’s hand.

Just as playing the ‘house way‘ won’t give you an advantage over the dealer, neither will never busting your hand. The basic strategy you’re supposed to be following (except never busting) will tell you to hit in a lot of situations that could result in a bust. That’s because the basic strategy is doing exactly what it was intended to do—giving you the highest possible chance of winning each hand based on genuine mathematical probabilities.

Let’s take a look of some of that math…

You’re dealt a hand total of 12. Of the 13 possible card values you could receive, 9 will help, but only 4 can hurt. So, without regard to deck depletion (card counting), if you hit, your odds of busting are 30.8%. Your odds of improving that hand in any way (not busting) are 69.2%. That’ a fairly compelling argent to hit, but there’s more.

Now, let’s look at it this way. If you stand on 12, the only way you can possibly win this hand is for the dealer to bust. The dealer has an average bust rate of 28.36% on any given hand. That means that, 71.64% of the time, the dealer will not bust. So, 71.64% of the time, you’re going to lose.

The dealer’s bust rate will fluctuate based on his/her up-card, of course, but it never exceeds 43%.

Blackjack Dealer Odds of Busting

Up-Card

Bust Rate

Up-Card

Bust Rate

Ace

11.65%

6

42.08%

2

35.30%

7

25.99%

3

37.56%

8

23.86%

4

40.28%

9

23.34%

5

42.89%

10

21.43%

This strategy is an absolute fallacy. Despite the fact that the blackjack dealer advantage comes from the player busting out, to never bust is to give the house an additional edge of 5%. You’re much better off following basic strategy, even if it means the possibility of busting your hand.

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