First Two Cards Advantage

What are the good Blackjack hands?

Here we see the same 34 hands. But instead of the frequency of each hand, we see the advantage of each hand. That is, average gain or loss if you get the hand. Obviously Blackjack is the best hand to receive at just under 150% advantage. The advantage would be exactly 150% except that sometimes the dealer will also get a Blackjack. The next best hand is a 20, either ten, ten or ace, nine followed by 19 and 11. Pairs are not good hands overall except for pairs of aces and tens and to a lesser extent nines. Although this is heavily dependent on the dealer upcard. As you would expect, stiffs (12-16) are the worst hands. But 17 is nearly as bad. Most players feel safe with a 17, but it wins only about 29% of the time and pushes 13% of the time. Most soft hands also don't fare well even though you may have two chances to improve them.

What about single-deck Blackjack?

Now let us look at the difference in advantage between six decks and single-deck. Wherever you see a bar pointing upward, that hand is more advantageous in single-deck. If the bar points downward, the hand is more advantageous in shoes. For example, ace, ace is substantially more valuable in single-deck games. This is partly due to the fact that there are only two aces left making it unlikely that the dealer has a Blackjack. But it's more due to the fact that the dealer is less likely to have a soft hand reducing dealer busts. In fact most of the hands that contain an ace are better in single-deck games. Pairs are substantially worse in the single-deck game in these sims for two reasons. First, Resplits are substantially less likely in single-deck games. Secondly because the single-deck game examined here was simmed without the Double after Split rule - less common in single-deck.


Sim details

  • Six decks, S17, DAS, LS, Heads-Up, Basic Strategy, 75% Penetration
  • Single-deck, H17, nDAS, Heads-Up, Basic Strategy, Six Rounds
  • Ten billion rounds each


copyright © 2007, Norm Wattenberger, All rights reserved