Only five cards (ace - 5) can improve a 16. That leaves 8 out of 13 cards (61.5%) which will bust my hand!

If I hit on a 16 I have less than a 38.5% chance of improving my hand...

I realize that the strategy ONLY calls for a player to draw if the dealer is showing a 7 - ace but that’s 61.5% of the time that I’ll be hitting on 16. Wouldnt I be better off taking my chances of not busting, since the chances of busting are much higher when hitting with a 16?

Thank you!

Quote:Richyrich561Just like, mathematically, buying insurance on a dealer ace doesn’t make sense because it pays 2-1 when the odds of the dealer drawing a 10 are only 3-1, can anyone explain how hitting on 16, as recommended in “basic blackjack strategy” makes sense when the chances of busting when hitting on 16 are 61.5%?

Only five cards (ace - 5) can improve a 16. That leaves 8 out of 13 cards (61.5%) which will bust my hand!

If I hit on a 16 I have less than a 38.5% chance of improving my hand...

I realize that the strategy ONLY calls for a player to draw if the dealer is showing a 7 - ace but that’s 61.5% of the time that I’ll be hitting on 16. Wouldnt I be better off taking my chances of not busting, since the chances of busting are much higher when hitting with a 16?

Thank you!

A player standing on 16 or less can only win if the dealer busts. While it's true that hitting on 16 gives only about 38% chance to improve, I estimate the chance that the dealer busts when showing a 7 is somewhere in the range of 25-28%. (I bet there are tables on this somewhere, and the exact probabilities will vary based on game rules, number of decks, etc.) The dealer's chance of busting only decreases with an upcard of 8, 9, T, or A.

So a first pass at your question is that standing on 16 against a 7 gives you a (say) 28% chance to win, while hitting gives you a 38% chance to improve. This alone isn't enough to answer the question, since you might improve but still lose, but at least it points out why hitting on 16 might be the correct play.

The odds for a dealer drawing a 10 are 2.25:1 against. Hitting (16 v T) shows virtually the same expectation as standing and both underperform against surrender. The chance of the dealer making his hand is > 75%.

Quote:unJonFacing a T is so close you should stand if you have a 4 or 5 in your hand.

Especially in single deck, stand if there are more 6s remaining than 5s. The 6 is more significant than a 4 or a 5. What Sklansky would call a "key card".

Quote:bobbartopEspecially in single deck, stand if there are more 6s remaining than 5s. The 6 is more significant than a 4 or a 5. What Sklansky would call a "key card".

I believe you are better off standing on any three card hard 16.

When you're in a situation of having to hit 16, you will lose most of the time. If you choose to stand on that 16, you will lose even more.

Quote:smoothgrhThe other aspect to remember is that hitting on 16 means you will lose less in the long run, not win in the long run.

When you're in a situation of having to hit 16, you will lose most of the time. If you choose to stand on that 16, you will lose even more.

That is true of a two card 16. A three card 16 is the opposite.

Quote:billryanThat is true of a two card 16. A three card 16 is the opposite.

That multi-card rule applies only against a dealer 10. If the dealer is showing 7, 8, 9, or A, hitting is always better than standing (unless you know the count and the index is high enough to warrant standing).

You have to carefully work out the math for every scenario and probabilistically weigh the frequency of the scenarios. When you do that, it turns out to be slightly better to hit 16 vs 10, and significantly better to hit 16 vs 7.

Whether you Hit or Stand 16v10 there will be a lot of blood on the floor and most of it will be yours.

Quote:gordonm888You have to carefully work out the math for every scenario and probabilistically weigh the frequency of the scenarios. When you do that, it turns out to be slightly better to hit 16 vs 10, and significantly better to hit 16 vs 7.

Keep in mind that the decision of hitting or not 16 vs 10 also depends on the composition of the remaining deck.

For infinite cards, it is slightly better to hit. But there might be other scenarios where it is not.

And the adverb "slightly" means that there is really a tiny difference on the expected value. Although by running a large number of statistical runs one can make it bigger than the standard deviation of the ev, for practical purposes it is tiny enough to make the decision of whether to hit or not, "almost" equal.

Quote:billryanI believe you are better off standing on any three card hard 16.

A 6 is a high card. Typical counts will not serve justice to the question of hitting or standing on 16 v T, because they treat 6s as low cards. A better rule for this situation is to stand if there are more 6s remaining than 5s. If no 5s or 6s have been exposed it's probably better to stand, 6s are that strong.

In Griffin's Theory of Blackjack, page 74, "effects of removal", he assigns 6s positive 1.65 whereas 9s are +.55 and Tens are +1.12. All other cards are "low" cards, including the 7 and 8.

I'd have to think about it a bit but I'm guessing there are a few 3-card hard 16s that should be hit against a Dealer Ten. 664, for example. Not only are there 5s remaining but two 6s are gone also.

In the hand of 78A, a close stand is called for and ALL the 5s and 6s are still out. Another example of how strong the 6 is.

If someone is not familiar with Sklansky's "Key Card Concept", I'll try to do it justice, briefly.

He says to figure a specific card is NEXT off the deck. Ask yourself what the play would be. Then, figure that same card is the Dealer's hole card, and again ask yourself what the play would be. If the answer is the same in both situations, it is a "Key Card".

In 16 v. Ten, there is only one key card, a 6, not a 4 or a 5, only a 6.

Another key card example, and there are many, would be in 15 v 9. Only the 7 fits the bill. In the same Griffin tables I mentioned, a 7 is ranked +1.92, whereas a Ten is only +1.03. Most counts ignore or downgrade 7s, but for the situation of 15 v 9, the 7 is the most important card in the deck, by far.

Quote:gordonm888However, even when you don't bust a 16 vs 10, you will still lose when you draw an Ace, 2 or 3 if the dealer's downcard is a Ten, giving dealer 20.

You have to carefully work out the math for every scenario and probabilistically weigh the frequency of the scenarios. When you do that, it turns out to be slightly better to hit 16 vs 10, and significantly better to hit 16 vs 7.

Whether you Hit or Stand 16v10 there will be a lot of blood on the floor and most of it will be yours.

Side note, a reason to ALWAYS stand on 16 v Ten, is because ploppies do it. And if you stand on 16 v T in a negative deck/shoe, hopefully your bet will be smaller. Cheap camouflage.

Quote:bobbartop

I'd have to think about it a bit but I'm guessing there are a few 3-card hard 16s that should be hit against a Dealer Ten. 664, for example. Not only are there 5s remaining but two 6s are gone also.

When I first replied to this, I guess I wasn't thinking too clearly. There are four, exactly. 664, 763, 862, 96A. And each has a 6, none have a 5.

If you're happy to work on infinite deck (and then adjust for finite decks later) then consider when the dealer draws their card immediately after you (i.e. UK rules) then you can create a spreadsheet with all the cards that could be waiting in the shoe.Quote:gordonm888...You have to carefully work out the math for every scenario...

(7-T) If the next card is 7 8 9 or 10 it doesn't matter what you do - you're destined to lose.

(A) A good decision whatever happens, if you stood you would lose to a BJ.

(6) If you stood you had a good chance to win, but hitting is a loss.

(2-3) It depends (e.g. if the next card is a 7 or 8 then you got it right, if it's a 10 you got it wrong).

(4-5) The time it does matter is if the next two cards were both low, hitting was correct. If it was a low card and a big card (where the dealer busts) then it did't matter, you were destined to win.

If you go through all these then it's just better to hit 16 vs 10. However with US rules you have a slightly better chance of drawing an Ace, since you know the Dealer's card isn't one.

Quote:bobbartopA 6 is a high card. Typical counts will not serve justice to the question of hitting or standing on 16 v T, because they treat 6s as low cards. A better rule for this situation is to stand if there are more 6s remaining than 5s. If no 5s or 6s have been exposed it's probably better to stand, 6s are that strong.

In Griffin's Theory of Blackjack, page 74, "effects of removal", he assigns 6s positive 1.65 whereas 9s are +.55 and Tens are +1.12. All other cards are "low" cards, including the 7 and 8.

I'd have to think about it a bit but I'm guessing there are a few 3-card hard 16s that should be hit against a Dealer Ten. 664, for example. Not only are there 5s remaining but two 6s are gone also.

In the hand of 78A, a close stand is called for and ALL the 5s and 6s are still out. Another example of how strong the 6 is.

If someone is not familiar with Sklansky's "Key Card Concept", I'll try to do it justice, briefly.

He says to figure a specific card is NEXT off the deck. Ask yourself what the play would be. Then, figure that same card is the Dealer's hole card, and again ask yourself what the play would be. If the answer is the same in both situations, it is a "Key Card".

In 16 v. Ten, there is only one key card, a 6, not a 4 or a 5, only a 6.

Another key card example, and there are many, would be in 15 v 9. Only the 7 fits the bill. In the same Griffin tables I mentioned, a 7 is ranked +1.92, whereas a Ten is only +1.03. Most counts ignore or downgrade 7s, but for the situation of 15 v 9, the 7 is the most important card in the deck, by far.

Here's an example of what Bobbartop is talking about. These are the EORs for 16vT, 8decks. I had done these original calculations and prepared this image -and many others like it for other close-call BJ hands - for a possible WOO article, but then discovered that Peter Griffin had beat me to the calculations (on single deck blackjack) in his 1988 book.

As you can see, any counting system that lumps in sixes and fives cannot be efficient at providing guidance on when to hit vs stand on 16vT.

Quote:gordonm888Here's an alternative graphical image of the Effect of Removal on the Hit/Stand decision for 16 vs Ten, 8 decks. I'm just playing around, trying for an impactful graphical image.

I like them both but like the first one better.