Do You Know When the Dealer Will Bust?

Wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly when the dealer will bust? It could make the difference in how you play out your hand in a game of blackjack, maybe make you less hesitant to double down or split a pair if you knew the dealer was going to bust.

Some players believe there are such things as dealer bust cards, meaning that the dealer will bust if he’s showing that card. Don’t believe this. There is no single card that is a red flag for busting. Unfortunately there is no precise way of knowing when the dealer will bust.

But there are cards that he is more likely to bust with. While these don’t guarantee a bust, knowing that you have a better chance can still impact your own playing confidence. Let’s take a look at the percentage of busting for each up card:

2-35%
3-37%
4-40%
5-42%
6-42%
7-26%
8-24%
9-23%
10-23%
Ace-17%

Just looking at that list you can see that the dealer has the highest chance of busting in blackjack when he is showing a 5 or 6, with 4 not all that much further behind those two. This applies to both regular casino blackjack and online blackjack as well. The game is still has the same rules whether it’s played on a computer or not.

How does knowing this impact your own blackjack game?

Take a moment to pull up a basic strategy chart. We’re going to look at the most obvious reasoning: stiff hands. What do you notice about the recommended plays for stiff hands, particularly a hard 13 through a hard 16?

You will notice that basic strategy advises that you stand against a 2 through 6, but to hit against a 7 through Ace.

Now look at the dealer’s bust percentages for 2 through 6. You will see that he has the highest chances of busting in blackjack with those up cards. This is why it is recommended that you stand. You yourself have a pretty good shot of busting so you don’t want to hit. But against the cards that the dealer has a greater chance of busting you stand because you are hoping that he’ll bust.

You can see how the reasoning can be applied to the plays for stiff hands when compared to the chances of the dealer busting. Take your basic strategy chart and keep looking at how the plays that are recommended do have a correlation to the dealer’s chances of busting.

Keep this reasoning in mind while playing blackjack, and it will further enforce how valuable basic strategy is to your blackjack strategy.