Nov

02

2016

# What are the Chances of a 20 Hand Winning in Blackjack?

With the exception of blackjacks, all player hands lose sometimes, and even blackjacks push if the dealer also has a two-card 21.

There are times when even 20s just can’t seem to win. The dealer gets on a roll and pulls a 21 – and another and another. Player frustration follows.

That’s the way it went recently for Chuck, a player who emailed me his experience.

“One hand, three of us had 20s and the dealer had a blackjack,” Chuck said in the email.” Three times within five hands I was dealt 20s. On one, the dealer also had a 20, and on the other two she pulled 21s. Other players were having that kind of luck, too.

“One of the other players said, ‘When you can’t win with 20, it’s time to go.’ The dealer was an old veteran who looked to be in his 60s, and he said, ‘I see this all the time. Twenty is not a winning hand. It loses as often as it wins.’

“That’s surely an exaggeration.  Twenty has to win more than it loses, doesn’t it?”

I can sympathize with Chuck, having been through many a streak like that. But players win with 20 a lot more often than they lose, with about 70.2 percent of player 20s winning, 12.2 percent losing and 17.6 percent pushing.

Twenty is a profitable hand for players against every dealer face up card. Let’s look at player 10-10 vs. each dealer possibility in a six-deck game in which the dealer hits soft 17.

The least profitable situation comes when the dealer has a 10 up. The player’s average profit when standing on 10-10 is 56 cents for each dollar wagered – and that’s an outcome I’d take any time.

Average player profits per \$1 wagered are 60 cents vs. Ace, 63 cents vs. 2, 64 cents vs. 3, 65 cents vs. 4, 67 cents vs. 5, 68 cents vs. 6, 77 cents vs. 7, 79 cents vs. 8 and 76 cents vs. 9.

Those are all healthy profit levels. A player 20 is not a sure thing. But the dealer’s statement that “20 is not a winning hand” is incorrect.