The majority of blackjack players have a wavering relationship with the ace. They rejoice it when they get an ace, but they dislike it when the dealer shows the ace. Why is the dealer’s upcard containing an ace is so crucial?
Clearly, when the dealer is showing an Ace, we are often in a big trouble because the dealer will rarely bust. The dealer’s probability of going bust is only 16% (assuming he doesn’t have a blackjack). This means the player is more likely to lose in this scenario.
The rest of the time, he will end up with a Blackjack like an ace with any picture, except that 7.5 % times where he will have any total between 17 and 21 but not a Blackjack.
That’s how these stats hurt the players. They trouble players and please casinos.
So how do you play blackjack in this scenario? You know the dealer's odds of busting are slim and more often than not he/she will finish with a good hand. The best thing a player can do in this situation is to play their hand in a way so as to minimise losses. Following are the strategies which can be taken into account:
1. If the rules allow surrender in your online BlackJack game or casino, gladly surrender if you have a hard 16 against a dealer Ace.
Surrender allows you to fold your hand and receive half your bet back. Instead of playing out the hand, you can surrender and save money compared to using any other strategy. If the rules specify that the dealer hits on hard 17, then consider surrendering a hard 15 hand too.
2. Players don’t like hitting a stiff hand (a hard hand with a value of 12 through 16). They are afraid to bust. One has to hit in order to improve the hand (yes, we lose money when we hit, but we lose less).
3. Avoid doubling down unless you have a total of 11 in a single or double deck game or in a six- and eight-deck game if the rules allow the dealer to hit on hard 17.
4. Always hit against the ace with the objective to get to either a hard 17 to 21 or a soft 19 to 21 and never stand with a soft 13 through 18.
5. Don’t split any pairs except aces and 8s (to lose less in the long run).
So far we have seen how this magical card works great for the dealer. To make the most of the ace when it appears in player’s starting hand, apply the following strategy:
Avoid playing the game with payouts lower than 3:2 as it will lessen the value of the Ace.
You have a soft hand when your first two cards include an ace. If you have a soft 13 through a soft 18 , double down against either a dealer's 5 or 6.
Always split Aces.
In a game of blackjack, sometimes the right strategy is to settle for less. As they say, “A penny saved is a penny earned”.