To Hit or Not To Hit: 16 v. 7, Blackjack Strategy

 To Hit or Not To Hit: 16 v. 7, Blackjack Strategy

Blackjack basic strategy sometimes calls on us to make plays that make players a little queasy. When dealt 16 while the dealer has a 7 face up, we know the right play is to hit, yet we also know we’re going to bust more often than not.

That was disturbing to a player who on a losing streak. He emailed me to say, “Playing blackjack, I busted when hitting 16 against a 7 five times in a row, and nine times out of 10. I feel like maybe if I stand, I’m at least in the game.”

Problem is, being in the game means waiting for the dealer to make a hand of 17 or better 74 percent of the time.

The fact is that no matter what you do with a hard 16 against a dealer’s 7, you’re going to lose more often than you win. If you hit, you’re going to bust a little more than 61 percent of the time. If you stand, you’re going to lose those 74 percent of hands when the dealer goes on to make a standing hand.

Losing streaks are going to happen, no matter which play you make. The odds are against you every single time you’re dealt a 16 and face a dealer’s 7. There will be times you lose five in a row and 9 of 10. You don’t know when the streaks are coming, and there’s nothing you can do to change them.

Basic strategy in blackjack isn’t always about winning. Sometimes it’s about losing less, doing your best to conserve your bankroll so that you’re still in the game for better hands. Dealt 16 vs. 7, I’m hitting every time, no matter what kind of streak I’m on.

Leave a comment