BlackjackGuru's Blog

For Smart Women Only: Make Blackjack Pay

Your Blackjack Hand: 13 to 16

Posted by blackjackguru on June 18, 2009

6 decks, S17, DAS, No Surrender, Peek
Estimated casino edge for these rules: 0.44 %
Dealer Upcard
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
13-16 S S S S S H H H H H

Your stiff totals of 13 through 16 do not warrant the risk of a hit against any of the dealer’s stiff upcards. Even against the dealer’s 2 or 3, you are better off standing if you have 13 through 16. Basic Strategy is to stand to minimize your loss.

The sad reality is you will lose in the long run with 13 through 16, even against so-called dealer’s “bust cards” of 2 through 6. You should therefore expect to lose, and if the dealer does bust, consider yourself lucky. I already mentioned in an earlier lesson that the dealer bust rates for stiff upcards 2 through 6 are just 35% to 42%.

Your approximate loss rate by standing on 13 through 16 in percent of total wagers placed, from a neutral shoe:

vs Dealer 4 is -21%
vs Dealer 5 is -17%
vs Dealer 6 is -15%

Now against the dealer’s pat upcards of 7 through Ace, you should hit your 13 to 16. The reason you should not stand here is because the dealer with a pat upcard would bust at most 25% of the time in the long run, and so you would lose at least 75% for standing. And, you cannot push by standing with these totals. Your net loss by standing is about 50% of total wagers placed. Hitting your stiffs under these situations is the mathematically correct thing to do. You might push and sometimes beat the dealer total. Overall, you will lose, but by hitting, you will lose less. The range of long term loss percent of total wagers placed, from a neutral shoe, card by card, playing Basic Strategy, against vs dealer 7 to A, are:

Your 13 = net loss -27% to -43%

Your 14 = net loss -32% to -47%

Your 15 = net loss -37% to -50%

Your 16 = net loss -41% to -54%

These are the worst loss rates of all of Blackjack. The loss rates are lowest when your cards are closest to 13 and worsen to 16, not surprisingly, because you bust more hitting the higher stiff starting totals.

Common Loser Mistakes:

  • Saying “It’s not what the Player has, it’s what the Dealer has that’s important” – what utter nonsense. Even with the dealer upcards of 2 through 6, the dealer bust rate in a full table from a neutral shoe is at best 42%. The Advanced Player knows she still needs to have a good pat hand (18 or higher) to beat the dealer in the long run. Even a player with 17 will lose in the long run against the dealer upcards of 2 through 5.
  • Standing 16 vs Dealer’s 7 to A. The fear of busting is greatest at 16, obviously, but the math will prove from a neutral shoe that standing on 16 here will lose more than hitting.

Did You Know?

Standing on 16 vs 10 is an Advanced Playing Strategy for Card Counters only. I will teach you in my Advanced Playing Strategy lessons on how this is done. In the meantime, if you see another player standing sometimes on 16 vs 10, but not at other times, she may be an Advantage Player winning a lot of money in the long run, not a loser…so don’t be quick to judge. Just work on improving your own game.


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