Blackjack Standing

by Henry Tamburin

This lesson deals with Blackjack Standing on 17-21, strategy and the chances of winning at Learn to Play Blackjack. Playing blackjack, your final hand can be one of these possibilities:
a blackjack, 21, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16 or less, or you could bust (total exceeds 21).
However, what about winning when you stand on 17 – 21?
Example, blackjack standing on 17 in a six-deck game where the dealer stands on soft 17.  Most players are happy to have a 17 and stand.
But, you will lose more money than win when the dealer has any face card except the 6. You will lose the most money when the dealer shows a 9 and the least when he shows a 4 or 5.
It’s only when the dealer has a 6 showing that you stand a fighting chance of winning some money in the long run.
So what’s a player to do? Actually, there is nothing you can do. Hitting a hard 17 would result in even greater losses, so you should be standing. Often times you will stand on 17 and win a hand but over time, you will end up losing more then you win except against the dealer’s 6. Standing on 17 is definitely not the best way.
Because 17 is not a good hand for players, this is the reason you should never stand on soft 17 such as Ace-6 (you should hit or double down on soft 17 but never stand).
Blackjack Standing on 18:
Surely, we must fair better then standing on 17. And we do but not as much as you think. You’ll make money on that 18 in the long run when the dealer shows a 2 through 8 face card but you’ll lose money against the dealer’s 9, 10 or ace.
This is the reason why you should hit soft 18 when the dealer shows a 9, 10, or ace rather than stand.

Here’s a casino scenario. You would be permitted to bet as much as you want and the casino would give you an automatic 18 on every hand for blackjack.
Would you take that bet? If you did, you would wind up losing about 60 cents for every $100 you wagered. Like it or not, 18 won’t make us a winner when we play blackjack.
Blackjack Standing on 19:
Surely, this must be a winning hand. Well almost except when the dealer shows a 10 or ace. Then, our 19 still isn’t good enough and in the long run we will lose more then we win against these dealer’s upcards.
Blackjack Standing on 20:
Lastly, it’s only when we have a 20 do we really have a strong hand. Against any dealer’s upcard included an ace, we will make money in the long run. Since 20 is such a strong hand this is the reason why 10-10 should never be split and A-9 should never be doubled.
You’ve got a winning hand with 20 so it’s best to leave it alone.
Additionally, 70% of your total winnings arise from being dealt these two hands: A-10 and 10-10.
Nearly all the rest of your winnings are won by these 5 hands: 11, 10-9, 10, A-9, and A-8. It’s important to know the correct blackjack playing strategy for them because they count so much toward your overall chances of winning.
In multiple deck blackjack games always double down on 11 when the dealer shows 10 or less and double 10 when dealer shows 9 or less.
You should always stand on hard and soft 19 and with a soft 18; you double down when the dealer shows a 3 through 6, hit when he shows a 9, 10 or ace and stand on 2, 7, and 8. This assumes the dealer stands on soft 17.

If the dealer hits soft 17 in a 6 or 8 deck game, you need change two rules: double 11 against dealer ace and double soft 19 against dealer’s 6.
Alternatively, the following hands will account for about 85% of our financial losses – hard 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17. We already covered the 17 and the stiff 12 through 16 hands are overall losers even when we follow the basic playing strategy.
Statistics are interesting, but it won’t put money in your pocket. What will is knowing the basic playing strategy and betting more when the undealt cards are rich in tens and aces.  That’s how you can turn the odds in your favor when you play blackjack.

Blackjack Standing on 17-21 is followed by Blackjack Control
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