How do you play your 11 if the dealer has an Ace showing? We are going to say that you are playing Vegas Strip Blackjack and the dealer has checked for a natural blackjack and does not have it. Which 11 is stronger, yours or his? And how do you play an 11 versus an Ace?
If you look at your basic strategy chart because I know you have one, you will see that you do not double down on a hard 11 against Ace despite doubling down on against all other dealer up cards. And there is a very good reason for this.
As a player you would think that your 11 is stronger than the dealer’s Ace because the dealer does not have blackjack. For starters, that does not mean that the dealer cannot win; he could still, with his hole card or through hitting, wind up with a strong soft hand. And furthermore, that Ace is a lot more flexible than your 11, and it is that flexibility that makes the dealer’s Ace stronger than your hard 11.
Even with showing an Ace you cannot expect the dealer to bust simply because of that flexibility. If need be necessary, the Ace can be reduced to a 1—the same reason why players like Aces and why Aces are the strongest cards a player can hold.
In all reality, the dealer will only bust 17% of the time. Otherwise here is the run down on hands of 17 or more and the dealer’s chances of winding up with one of those hands:
A hand of 17 or more: 83%
A hand of 18 or more: 65%
A hand of 19 or more: 46%
A hand of 20 or more: 27%
A hand of 21: 8%
From the start of the round the dealer has the upper hand. This is all because that Ace gives him more room to wiggle. And because he has more Flexibility, you need to keep doubling down against an Ace out of your blackjack strategy.
Doubling down will actually hurt your odds here because the dealer has the slightly stronger hand. Blackjack strategy is meant to increase your odds in opportune moments, and is meant to preserve your wager as best possible if you do not have the upper hand. This is one of those non-upper hand times and your blackjack strategy needs to reflect that. So now doubling down.