Blackjack Dealers Never Bust!

December 31, 20098 Comments

“The dealer never busts!”

While this statement obviously isn’t true, you will commonly hear blackjack players make this complaint at the tables. So what are the odds that a dealer will bust? That all depends on what card the dealer is showing and what cards are left in the deck. Let’s take a look at the dealer’s probability of making various hands when showing a 6 on a double deck game…

Odds of the Dealer Busting

Dealer Probability of Busting

As you can see, it’s less than a 50/50 shot of the dealer busting. To be exact, the dealer has just over a 42% chance of busting. Keep in mind, that’s with a 6 showing! If you have a weak hand such as a 12-16, you stand against a dealer’s 6 in hopes that he’ll bust. Unfortunately that’s probably not going to happen for you.

Now let’s have a look at how card counting could help you take advantage of changing probabilities. If you’re counting accurately you will know when the deck is rich in high cards. Let’s make a rough example by looking at a double deck game with half of the 2-6’s removed. Now what are the odds of a dealer busting when showing a 6?

Busting Probability Increased

Dealer Busting Odds

So now you have a better than 50/50 shot of getting the dealer to bust. Not only are you a little safer standing on a 12-16, but doubles and splits are looking extra lucrative against a dealer’s 6.

To be fair let’s have a look at the opposite situation. What does it look like if you remove half the face cards and half the aces from a double deck game?

Busting Probability Decreased

Dealer Busts Less

The odds of the dealer busting a 6 are pretty low here. Just imagine how small the chances are of busting a 2 or 3!

So what’s the moral to the story? You can’t just sit back and expect the dealer to bust for you. Odds are that the dealer’s going to pull a hand even when showing a 6. However, good blackjack players will know when the dealer is more likely to bust and will increase their bets accordingly. Along with adjusting your bets, you should be adjusting how you play some of your hands to fully maximize your edge over the house.

Blackjack Trainer
About the "Blackjack Instructor":

When I'm on a card counting trip, I'm hitting the tables hard. When I'm home with the family, I run BlackjackClassroom.com and go by the title "Blackjack Instructor". I hope you've enjoyed the site and come back soon. If you're interested in any of my training services, please don't hesitate to contact me to discuss your options.

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8 Responses to “Blackjack Dealers Never Bust!”

  1. Mike S. says:

    Do you know the odds of a dealer busting a 10 or an ace? Sorry for all the questions, but I really appreciate your insight.

    • Blackjack Instructor says:

      Mike: For a double deck game like I used in the above examples, the dealer has just over a 21% chance of busting a 10 or facecard. Keep in mind that the odds change when cards are removed from the decks.

      The odds of a dealer busting an ace are a lot lower. If it’s a “stand on soft 17″ double deck game, then the dealer will bust roughly 11.5% of the time when showing an ace. If it’s a “hit on soft 17″ game, then the odds of the dealer busting increases to just under 14%. Although a “hit soft 17″ game gives a greater chance of the dealer busting on an ace, it gives the player worse overall odds. A dealer with a Soft 17 will usually improve the hand when hitting.

  2. Anonymous says:

    WHAT ARE THE ODDS OF A DEALER GETTING 21 WITH A 6 SHOWING IN A 6 DECK GAME?

    • Blackjack Instructor says:

      Great question! That actually depends on whether the dealer will hit on a Soft 17 (H17) or stand on a Soft 17 (S17). If the dealer is going to hit on Soft 17, then there’s a slightly greater chance for the dealer to pull 21 since another card will be taken. Instead of being forced to stick with a 17 in this situation, the dealer could potentially hit with a 4 or hit with two 8s or any other combination that would make 21.

      So here’s your answer for the odds of a dealer turning a 6 into a 21…

      H17 6-Deck Blackjack: 10.6% chance
      S17 6-Deck Blackjack: 9.7% chance

      It happens a lot more often than you might think!

  3. Michael S. says:

    i have played for a long time and consider myself to be an above average player however iam hearing/reading more and more about card counting i didnt think that was realy possible on 6deck games??? so now iam thinking that i can?? does this also work given the fact that it seems that the outcome depends alot on where your sittng and the plays of others??

    • Blackjack Instructor says:

      Michael: Card counting on a 6-deck shoe is a lot easier than you might think. It’s various factors other than the actual counting part that cause people to fail.

      Over time, especially on a 6-deck game, where you sit and what other players do will not hurt your odds. That’s a common misconception about blackjack that I can further elaborate on if you’re interested.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What are the odds of a dealer going 32 hands in a row without busting? That is the current record I have observed. I’ve seen many that went dozens of hands without busting.

    • Blackjack Instructor says:

      To give you an exact answer, could you please tell me how many players are at the table, how many decks are being used, and does the dealer hit or stand on Soft 17? The dealer will bust more often with more players, because a dealer doesn’t play out his hand if all the players bust first. More players means it’s less likely that everyone busts before the dealer gets a chance to take a hit. The odds of a dealer busting will also increase if the rules of the table have the dealer hitting on Soft 17.

      32 hands in a row is rare, but certainly not impossible. If you could provide a few more details I can give you an exact percentage answer.

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