Blackjack Dealer Hands

What are dealer hand total and bust frequencies?

Much is made of the dealer bust rates by some voodoo Blackjack system sellers. In this chart, the percentages of each possible final dealer hand are displayed for tables with 1, 3 and 6 players. At the far right you will find the overall dealer bust rates. Blue displays the dealer totals at a table with one player. Here we note that the dealer does end up with totals of 4 through 16. But, there are almost no hands at these totals when there are other players at the table. This is because the dealer will not draw cards if the player busts or receives a Blackjack. But with a full table, it is unlikely that every player will bust or get a Blackjack — so the dealer will nearly always need to complete his/her hand. When we look at the overall bust rates, we see that a single-player table sees substantially fewer dealer busts. But, this has no effect on your advantage. It simply means that the dealer needs to finish the hand for other players at the table. It should be noted that the dealer bust rate can also be affected by decks and rules. What it comes down to is that dealer bust rate is useless information.

How does this look by dealer upcard?

This chart provides the dealer bust final-hand rates for a three-player table broken down by dealer upcard. For example, red bars are the final-hand percentages for an Ace up. 4-16 are tiny numbers and have been removed.


How about by true count?

This chart displays the dealer final hands by true counts -6 through +12. Busts are in cyan. What this chart tells us is that the dealer bust rate is actually lower when the count is high. That is, a high dealer bust rate is more likely to indicate a good table than a bad table as thought by followers of TARGET and other voodoo strategies. The reason can be seen by the orange line. The dealer receives substantially more tens since there are more tens in the deck in high-count situations. Fortunately, the player also receives more good hands, more Blackjacks and makes more on insurance, doubles and splits. On balance, the player fares much better at high counts even with a lower dealer bust rate.


Sim details

  • Six decks, S17, DAS, 1, 3 & 6 players, Hi-Lo, truncate, Sweet 16 indexes, half-deck resolution, 5/6 penetration, Spread $10-$150
  • Ten billion rounds each


copyright © 2007, Norm Wattenberger, All rights reserved