Misplayed Hands In Blackjack

Herbert Hanson By Herbert Hanson

3 min read

This article details the ten most often misplayed blackjack hands and provides tips on how to proceed when you encounter one. The key to developing a winning blackjack strategy is to avoid making these common mistakes

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games. People are attracted to the game because it requires both chance and skills to win. 

Players can manage the game and win more often than they lose if they are skilled at calculating. To earn massively from blackjack and other table games, however, you must be aware of all possible combinations, including misplayed hands in blackjack.

Top 10 Misplayed Hands in Blackjack


A Pair of 9s Against a 9

When you hold a pair of nines and the dealer also reveals a nine, your gut will urge you to stand since you have a hard 18 and cannot win. Your chances of winning in blackjack are more significant if you split rather than stand.

With such a hard 18 up against a 9, your odds of winning are eight out of twenty. Not a terrible set of odds, but if you separate 9s, each 9 will have a chance of garnering 9.5 winning hands in blackjack out of every 20 hands. This indicates that by dividing your 9s in this instance, your chances of winning are 1.5 times greater than if you did not split.


6-5 vs. 10

When a player gets a 6-5 against a dealer’s upcard of 10, he usually doesn’t double down because he feels the dealer has a solid 20 and isn’t willing to risk extra money.

Did you know that when you’re dealt a two-card 11 (e.g., 6-5, 9-2, 7-4), you’ll make a 20 or 21 more frequently than the dealer? In essence, if you double down, you’ll win six times for every five times you lose.


12 vs. 3

Only hands containing a ten or a face card will go bust on a 12, so any hand between 17 and 21 has a good chance of being one of the winning hands in blackjack if you hit.

Despite this, the three are not as feeble as one may believe. The dealer’s likelihood of busting is relatively low compared to other low cards; therefore, the odds are not to your advantage, regardless of whether you choose to stand or hit.


Standing on a Soft 18 vs. Dealer’s 9

This hand is highly risky as it will result in a net loss in the long term. Most players should stand rather than risk busting or finishing with a weaker hand.

Eight out of twenty times, standing on a soft 18 versus a dealer’s 9 will result in a victory. Hitting at this position will result in nine out of twenty victories.


A-7 vs. 9

The majority of players decide to stand when their hand consists of an A-7 (soft 18) against the dealer’s upcard 9, since they believe that an 18 is sufficient to win against the dealer. However, that is a negative expectation, and the dealer’s 9 upcard doesn’t help matters.

Your ace provides you versatility. Eight out of twenty times, standing will win. If you hit soft 19, hard 17, or bust, you’ll win nine out of twenty hands. Choose between eight standing victories or nine hitting wins. Hitting soft 18 is the right play.


A Pair of Eights Versus Ten

This hand can be one of the worst blackjack hands ever played. Players are usually discouraged by the fact that the dealer has a ten, which is complete foolishness. As 8,8 is one of the strongest hands in the deck and should be split almost every time, and 16 vs. 10 is the worst possible matchup, winning just 23% of the time.

Splitting is the best choice, as hitting on a 16 is extremely dangerous. The probability of winning a hand while starting with an 8 is 38%; thus, this parabolic increase in odds more than supports splitting.


Hard 16 vs. 10

The possible worst blackjack hand is a hard 16, mainly if the dealer displays a high card. Blackjack players cannot win by standing and risk busting by hitting, so what should they do?

If your table permits to surrender, you should do so. You may lose half of your wager, but you are more likely to lose all your earnings if you hit or stand, so this is the safest option.


A Pair of Nines vs. a Dealer Nine

In such a scenario, it is only natural that your instinct triggers you to stand. However, splitting is the optimal strategy here, as you will have a significantly higher win rate. If you stand, you’ll win 40% of the time. If you split, you’ll win 47.5% of the time, which is a massive boost in the win rate.


Soft 18 vs. 9 or 9+

In theory, it is highly recommended that you stand on an 18 always since this is a strong hand, albeit it is not the greatest. If you were consistently dealt an 18, you would lose in the long term.

A hard 18 has the danger of busting, but a soft 18 is safe to hit. If you stand, you have an 8 out of 20 chance of winning, but if you hit, you may improve your hand. Hitting boosts this percentage to 9 out of 20 hands, so you have nothing to lose.


11 vs. Dealer 10

It is not uncommon to be advised never to double when the dealer wields a 10 at the blackjack table. You have a 56% chance of winning if you hit on your 11. However, doubling decreases your blackjack odds of winning to 54%.

At first glance, it could seem that hitting has the advantage in this scenario, but a deeper examination reveals otherwise. Which is more desirable? Obtaining a payout of $5 56% of the time or obtaining a payout of $10 54% of the time. Obviously, the double.

Worst Blackjack Hands: Summary

In blackjack, a starting hand of 16 against a dealer card of 10 is statistically the worst blackjack hand. At 16, you should pick another card and pray for luck since the dealer will probably end up with a score of 20 or lower due to his card.

If you’re dealt a 16, and the dealer has an ace, you’re in the worst possible position. If the dealer has a 9, your hand is even worse. If the dealer shows a ten, ace, nine, etc., you’ll need to weigh your 15-value hands against theirs.

Final Thoughts

All of the scenarios mentioned above may be regarded to be on edge, but blackjack is a game with very tight margins. If you execute these moves correctly, the house will have a minimal advantage over you, providing you with a much-increased chance of securing a winning session.

If you want to know what the best blackjack hand is or what the worst hands are, the only way to find out is to play the game and see for yourself. After that, if you feel comfortable, you should deposit real money and proceed to the online blackjack tables or live dealer games.

Icon Misplayed Hands in Blackjack FAQs

Can these hands be used with a blackjack strategy chart when playing at a casino?

Yes, they can. Take a simple strategy chart with you to the casino and utilize it for any hand. Basic strategy cards are even available for purchase at several casinos.

Why does the dealer’s 10 make a soft 18 a bad hand?

A soft 18 loses to a hard 20 if the dealer’s next card has a 30 percent probability of being a 10. Hitting allows you to improve your hand, as stated by the fundamental blackjack strategy.

If the dealer also has an 8, should I split my 9s?

Only when the dealer shows a seven, ten, or ace should you ever divide a pair of nines. The best timing to split in any given blackjack situation is discussed in detail in lesson four of season two of Blackjack Academy.

Do dealers also know about fundamental strategy?

The dealers at a blackjack table will know the fundamental strategy, but they are forbidden from really using it. They have to play by the house rules, which state that on a soft 17, they must choose between standing and hitting.

Are there hands that should never be split?

In a word, yes. With a pair of 10s in your hand, you should never split. Instead, regardless of the dealer’s upcard, you should always stand. For one thing, you’ll be in an advantageous position with a hand like that since you’ll have a very high total. If you play it safe and stand, you have a 90% probability of winning since the value of the hand is more than enough to win most of the time.

Herbert Hanson

Herbert Hanson


Herb has spent years working in the gambling industry, helping to provide gambling entertainment. He started from the land-based casino and then moved to the iGaming industry and joined our team as an author with great knowledge of the Las Vegas casino industry. His unique approach is the key to our content creation strategy. Do you need the latest bonuses and promotions; Herbert Hanson is your man with great knowledge.

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