bcmarshall
• Posts: 38
Joined: Jul 11, 2021
September 2nd, 2024 at 1:07:20 AM permalink
I know this should be a settled issue. Basic strategy is clear regarding what to do, and I've never really questioned it when playing. When I'm faced with that combination I just simply hit without giving it any thought.

However, I ran across a posting to Sam Barrington at Ask Dr. Blackjack that has completely thrown me off. I have no idea if the numbers he cited numbers are correct or not, but if they are his logic sounds escapable. In a nutshell, he is saying that the best strategy is simply to stand no matter what the dealer has showing.

I would ask you all to read the posting as it was presented and comment. I would love to hear whether you agree or disagree with what he said. I simply have no idea if he is right or wrong, but I will say that he sounds convincing.

The difference in his numbers is that he is factoring in the few times that a push occurs after hitting. If you stand you can only win or lose. There is no opportunity for push so those numbers don't exist.

Question: “What are the rules on hitting a “hard 16?”
Sam says: “This is a tricky play you have to watch out for or it can cost you a little money. To sum it up, never do it. Just sit there like a lump.
The “hard 16” is the worst hand you can get, so as the saying goes. You work with what you got when facing the dealer’s up-card of 7 through an ace.
If you hit the 16, you will win 25.23 percent of the time, bust out 69.31 percent of the time and push 5.46 percent of the time for a net loss of 44.08 percent of the time.
By standing on the “hard 16” you will win 29.01 percent of the time and lose 70.99 percent of the time for a loss of 41.98 percent of the time.
You end up 2.10 percent better off by “standing”.
That’s the same as winning two more hands out of every 100 times you face that scenario.
That’s better than the annual return on a CD, and you can do this hundreds of times a year.
ChumpChange
• Posts: 5017
Joined: Jun 15, 2018
September 2nd, 2024 at 2:05:59 AM permalink
I surrender with a 15 against a 10 and a 16 against a 9, 10, Ace and some chart somewhere indicates those hands are better surrendered than hit or standed on, so losing half the bet instead of more it is. Not sure how this affects the calculations about what to do with a 16 vs a 7 or 8 with what you bring up, but the charts say to hit. Of course surrender isn't always available. If you've lost patience with busting out you can try standing against the 7, 8, but the math wizards probably know better why they hit instead of stand and it may be such a miniscule difference that in the short term it wouldn't make much difference except based on your luck and bet sizes.

Of course if I'm down 2,500 bets due to bad luck, that's a lot of bad freakin' luck! I'm down 0.5% in total bet amounts but down near 100% on number of bets bought in for on my Roku 3 BJ home game. If I just win 50 hands ahead, I could win it all back, as if. There's no surrender in this game so I must hit hard 16's against 7-Ace unless I'm trying to fake out the computer a little.
Last edited by: ChumpChange on Sep 2, 2024
Torghatten
• Posts: 127
Joined: Feb 3, 2012
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September 2nd, 2024 at 2:23:37 AM permalink
Standing on 16 vs 10 is a small mistake, costing you about 0,5%
Standing on 16 vs 7-8 is a big mistake costing you 6-7%
bcmarshall
• Posts: 38
Joined: Jul 11, 2021
September 2nd, 2024 at 2:41:50 AM permalink

If I'm understanding you correctly, you disagree with the specific number that he offered?

Neither of you provided specific numbers, and each of you explained the way you feel is best to play it, but what I am struggling with is the very hard and specific numbers that he offered which say categorically no matter what you're playing against it's smarter than stand than it is to hit.

Do either of you, or anyone else for that matter, have any way to refute the actual numbers that he presented in his argument?
ChumpChange
• Posts: 5017
Joined: Jun 15, 2018
September 2nd, 2024 at 3:34:31 AM permalink
I'll keep my faking the dealer out and switching the cards order up by standing on a 16 against a 10 if need be to keep the hit to the HA lower than on other 16 stands. I mean you could have a good run for a couple shoes with your stand on 16 strategy and watch the dealer bust while you don't and rake it in.

I'm sure I've seen a recent YouTube video of something else in play (Hit, But Never Bust Strategy) and it worked out for him for the video. But the math is horribly against him. It's like a 7% HA to play that way overall with a hit but never bust strategy. I'd only try it if I have money to burn, or I'm desperate to win on dealer busts, and never at a table with other players because they will get angry.

There have been charts floating around giving the EV for each hand against a dealer card. I don't have a link to that off-hand, maybe someone else will soon. You're adding up stand 16's against 7-Ace whereas the chart just gives individual answers for each stand 16 position against the individual dealer hand. Seeing how hitting is preferable to standing for all of those, I don't see how standing on all of those adds up to a better result. Just erasing the ties and folding most of them into the win column more is all it takes? I'm clearly falling into some gambler's fallacy here. Ties would be 17 or more and you'd still have 16, how can you win previous ties by not getting to at least 17? You would lose those previous ties!

I'd switch the numbers around, but don't take them as accurate or truthful because when you don't hit, your win rate should go down below 25.23%.
Quote: bcmarshall

I would ask you all to read the posting as it was presented and comment. I would love to hear whether you agree or disagree with what he said. I simply have no idea if he is right or wrong, but I will say that he sounds convincing.

The difference in his numbers is that he is factoring in the few times that a push occurs after hitting. If you stand you can only win or lose. There is no opportunity for push so those numbers don't exist.

Question: “What are the rules on hitting a “hard 16?”
Sam says: “This is a tricky play you have to watch out for or it can cost you a little money. To sum it up, never do it. Just sit there like a lump.
The “hard 16” is the worst hand you can get, so as the saying goes. You work with what you got when facing the dealer’s up-card of 7 through an ace.
If you hit the 16, you will win 25.23 percent of the time, bust out 69.31 percent of the time and push 5.46 percent of the time for a net loss of 44.08 percent of the time.
By standing on the “hard 16” you will win 25.23 percent of the time and lose 74.77 percent of the time for a loss of 49.54 percent of the time.
You'd be adding over 5% HA to your game for those hands by standing on 16 for 7-Ace.

I'm likely making a fool of myself answering this, luckily nobody gives me a grade on attempting to figure out these baffling questions.
Last edited by: ChumpChange on Sep 2, 2024
Tanko
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September 2nd, 2024 at 4:33:07 AM permalink
Quote: bcmarshall

...Question: “What are the rules on hitting a “hard 16?”
Sam says: ....“To sum it up, never do it. Just sit there like a lump.

Use Wizard's Blackjack Hand Calculator and see whether it is better to hit a hard 16 vs. a dealer 7 or 8.
Last edited by: Tanko on Sep 2, 2024
DJTeddyBear
• Posts: 11032
Joined: Nov 2, 2009
September 2nd, 2024 at 5:36:46 AM permalink
I once asked Mike this very question. He basically told me that you’re losing a few pennies for \$100 bet. Nothing to lose sleep over.
I invented a few casino games. Info: http://www.DaveMillerGaming.com/ ————————————————————————————————————— Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁
ThatDonGuy
• Posts: 6544
Joined: Jun 22, 2011
September 2nd, 2024 at 6:30:03 AM permalink
Quote: Torghatten

Standing on 16 vs 10 is a small mistake, costing you about 0,5%
Standing on 16 vs 7-8 is a big mistake costing you 6-7%

If it's a single-deck or double-deck game, I stand on hard 16 vs 10
bcmarshall
• Posts: 38
Joined: Jul 11, 2021
September 2nd, 2024 at 9:14:00 AM permalink
Thank you for your reply, and to all the others as well. It's hard to answer every single posting but please know that all of them are read, considered, and appreciated.

According to the Ask Dr. Blackjack posting that I presented, the difference in this play is clearly minimal. His calculations indicate that it's 2.1% better for the player to stand against a 7+ rather than to hit.

But 2.1% is not insignificant when looking at the overall house edge of this game. Every fraction of a percentage point is what we are striving for to make the difference in the long haul. I mean, realistically speaking, isn't everything we are doing directed at trying to shave the house's edge as much as humanly possible? Why would any serious gambler leave this 2.1% on the table unquestioned?

I wonder if I could ask Michael for his direct intervention. He is the expert that we all recognize and all respect, and I would really like to hear what he has to say.

Looking at the way the numbers were presented, I can intuitively see that if you factor out the pushes, it means you are left with only the possibility of winning or losing the hand if you always stand, and that is where the difference comes in.

I am going to repost the salient points that were made in the original posting.

"If you hit the 16, you will win 25.23 percent of the time, bust out 69.31 percent of the time and push 5.46 percent of the time for a net loss of 44.08 percent of the time.

"By standing on the 'hard 16' you will win 29.01 percent of the time and lose 70.99 percent of the time for a loss of 41.98 percent of the time. You end up 2.10 percent better off by 'standing'”.

The way I read this, 69.31 - 25.23 = 44.08. The 5.46% push is completely ignored in the first set of numbers because it is meaningless to our win/loss ratio. Only the actual wins and losses are logically considered in this scenario because they are the only thing that matters.

Again, my reading of this tells me that if you consider the push percentages as 'not a loss', then the overall numbers for hitting appear improved. 25.23 + 5.46 = 30.69% not a loss vs. 69.31% loss. At first glance that appears to be more favorable than the 29.01% win and 70.99% loss from the second set of numbers, but you can see on closer examination that when it comes to your bankroll at the end of the day, standing is clearly the better option.

Again, please understand that I don't claim to know the answer, and that's the reason I'm here in this forum asking the question. I don't know if the numbers cited are accurate, but when I look at the way they are presented it seems to me that, if his numbers are correct, then his point is undeniable.

If you are comparing loss vs. not a loss, then hitting seems to be clearly the advantageous way to play, but if your consideration is loss vs. win then standing seems undeniably to be the appropriate action.

Help, Michael!
Last edited by: bcmarshall on Sep 2, 2024
Mental
• Posts: 1507
Joined: Dec 10, 2018
September 2nd, 2024 at 1:10:52 PM permalink
You don't specify a rules set.

I choose to use:
8 decks, S17, D9, DAS, SPL3, NRSA, CDZ-
`  Hard |                Dealer's up card  hand | 2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10   A----------------------------------------------------------- 10- 9 | S    S    S    S    S    S    S    S    S    S       | 10- 8 | S    S    S    S    S    S    S    s    s    s       | 10- 7 | s    s    s    s    S    s    s    s    s    s  9- 8 | s    s    s    s    S    s    s    s    s    s       | 10- 6 | s    s    s    s    s    h    h    h    h    h  9- 7 | s    s    s    s    s    h    h    h    h    h       | 10- 5 | s    s    s    s    s    h    h    h    h    h  9- 6 | s    s    s    s    s    h    h    h    h    h  8- 7 | s    s    s    s    s    h    h    h    h    h       | 10- 4 | s    s    s    s    s    h    h    h    h    h  9- 5 | s    s    s    s    s    h    h    h    h    h  8- 6 | s    s    s    s    s    h    h    h    h    h       | 10- 3 | s    s    s    s    s    h    h    h    h    h  9- 4 | s    s    s    s    s    h    h    h    h    h  8- 5 | s    s    s    s    s    h    h    h    h    h  7- 6 | s    s    s    s    s    h    h    h    h    h       | 10- 2 | h    h    s    s    s    h    h    h    h    h  9- 3 | h    h    s    s    s    h    h    h    h    h  8- 4 | h    h    s    s    s    h    h    h    h    h  7- 5 | h    h    s    s    s    h    h    h    h    h       |  9- 2 | DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   H  8- 3 | DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   H  7- 4 | DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   H  6- 5 | DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   H       |  8- 2 | DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   H    H  7- 3 | DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   H    H  6- 4 | DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   H    H       |  7- 2 | H    DH   DH   DH   DH   H    H    h    h    h  6- 3 | H    DH   DH   DH   DH   H    H    h    h    h  5- 4 | H    DH   DH   DH   DH   H    H    h    h    h       |  6- 2 | h    H    H    H    H    H    h    h    h    h  5- 3 | h    H    H    H    H    H    h    h    h    h       |  5- 2 | h    h    h    H    H    h    h    h    h    h  4- 3 | h    h    h    h    H    h    h    h    h    h       |  4- 2 | h    h    h    h    h    h    h    h    h    h       |  3- 2 | h    h    h    h    H    h    h    h    h    h       |  Soft |                Dealer's up card  hand | 2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10   A-----------------------------------------------------------  A- 9 | S    S    S    S    S    S    S    S    S    S  A- 8 | S    S    S    S    S    S    S    S    S    S  A- 7 | S    S    S    S    S    S    S    h    h    h  A- 6 | H    H    H    H    H    H    h    h    h    h  A- 5 | h    H    H    H    H    h    h    h    h    h  A- 4 | h    H    H    H    H    H    h    h    h    h  A- 3 | H    H    H    H    H    H    H    h    h    h  A- 2 | H    H    H    H    H    H    H    h    h    h  Pair |                Dealer's up card  hand | 2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10   A-----------------------------------------------------------  A- A | PH   PH   PH   PH   PH   PH   PH   Ph   Ph   Ph 10-10 | S    S    S    S    S    S    S    S    S    S  9- 9 | PS   PS   PS   PS   PS   S    PS   ps   s    s  8- 8 | Ps   Ps   Ps   Ps   Ps   Ph   ph   ph   ph   ph  7- 7 | ps   ps   Ps   Ps   Ps   ph   h    h    h    h  6- 6 | ph   ph   ps   Ps   Ps   h    h    h    h    h  5- 5 | DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   DH   H    H  4- 4 | h    H    H    PH   PH   H    h    h    h    h  3- 3 | ph   ph   Ph   Ph   Ph   ph   h    h    h    h  2- 2 | ph   ph   Ph   Ph   PH   Ph   h    h    h    h-----------------------------------------------------------S = StandH = HitD = Double downP = SplitUppercase indicates action is favorable for the playerLowercase indicates action is favorable for the houseWhen more than one option is listed, options are listed from left to right in order of preference.    Up  |   card | Overall expected value (%)---------------------------------     2  |    9.225910487     3  |   12.495972100     4  |   15.977175560     5  |   19.760367795     6  |   22.968449016     7  |   14.446546319     8  |    5.773773293     9  |   -4.099890703    10  |  -17.325165933     A  |  -34.068395591---------------------------------  Total |   -0.524673497    Up  |              Probability of outcome of dealer's hand   card |  Bust   |   17    |   18    |   19    |   20    |   21    |Blackjack-------------------------------------------------------------------------------     2  | 0.35353 | 0.13969 | 0.13452 | 0.12993 | 0.12402 | 0.11831 | 0.00000     3  | 0.37412 | 0.13448 | 0.13052 | 0.12531 | 0.12069 | 0.11487 | 0.00000     4  | 0.39547 | 0.13054 | 0.12453 | 0.12130 | 0.11645 | 0.11171 | 0.00000     5  | 0.41790 | 0.12195 | 0.12239 | 0.11761 | 0.11213 | 0.10802 | 0.00000     6  | 0.42292 | 0.16564 | 0.10621 | 0.10639 | 0.10159 | 0.09725 | 0.00000     7  | 0.26203 | 0.36905 | 0.13790 | 0.07848 | 0.07867 | 0.07388 | 0.00000     8  | 0.24395 | 0.12885 | 0.35980 | 0.12868 | 0.06926 | 0.06945 | 0.00000     9  | 0.22904 | 0.12023 | 0.11801 | 0.35158 | 0.12028 | 0.06086 | 0.00000    10  | 0.21238 | 0.11179 | 0.11161 | 0.11181 | 0.34056 | 0.03474 | 0.07711     A  | 0.11543 | 0.13021 | 0.13081 | 0.13064 | 0.13088 | 0.05359 | 0.30843-------------------------------------------------------------------------------  Total | 0.28184 | 0.14522 | 0.13932 | 0.13363 | 0.17971 | 0.07284 | 0.04745Composition-dependent stand/hit strategy variations:----------------------------------------------------( 26) Hard 16 vs. T : stand except, 88, 79, 6T, 466, 367, 33T, 268, 24T, 2266, 2239, 22336, 222T, 22246, 222226, A69, A366, A267, A23T, A2229, A22236, AA68, AA266, AA22T, AA22226, AAA67, AAAA66(  2) Soft 18 vs. A : hit except, A223, AA33-----`

For the 7 through 10 versus 16 made up of 9-7, all stand decisions are more negative EV than hitting.
`Dealer 7 versus 9 7Stand      E(X) =  -47.921365444%Hit        E(X) =  -41.002958110%Dealer 8 versus 9 7Stand      E(X) =  -51.262401508%Hit        E(X) =  -45.484029792%Dealer 9 versus 9 7Stand      E(X) =  -54.288925549%Hit        E(X) =  -50.608264853%Dealer 10 versus 9 7Stand      E(X) =  -53.771858199%Hit        E(X) =  -53.650775884%`

A hard 16 versus 10 is a close call. Standing against an Ace is really bad.
Gambling is a math contest where the score is tracked in dollars. Try not to get a negative score.
DogHand
• Posts: 1717
Joined: Sep 24, 2011
September 2nd, 2024 at 1:22:04 PM permalink
Quote: bcmarshall

<snip>"If you hit the 16, you will win 25.23 percent of the time, bust out 69.31 percent of the time and push 5.46 percent of the time for a net loss of 44.08 percent of the time.<snip>link to original post

bcmarshall,

These three percentages sum to 100%, but they ignore one of the possible outcomes: the player hits without busting but is beaten by the dealer. Does the original source consider this?

Dog Hand
billryan
• Posts: 16475
Joined: Nov 2, 2009
September 2nd, 2024 at 1:23:07 PM permalink
Quote: ThatDonGuy

Quote: Torghatten

Standing on 16 vs 10 is a small mistake, costing you about 0,5%
Standing on 16 vs 7-8 is a big mistake costing you 6-7%

If it's a single-deck or double-deck game, I stand on hard 16 vs 10

It's one of the few hands I'll scan the table for. A single four or five on the board swings it to stand.
The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction is supposed to make sense.
Mental
• Posts: 1507
Joined: Dec 10, 2018
September 2nd, 2024 at 2:23:03 PM permalink
Quote: bcmarshall

I am going to repost the salient points that were made in the original posting.

"If you hit the 16, you will win 25.23 percent of the time, bust out 69.31 percent of the time and push 5.46 percent of the time for a net loss of 44.08 percent of the time.

"By standing on the 'hard 16' you will win 29.01 percent of the time and lose 70.99 percent of the time for a loss of 41.98 percent of the time. You end up 2.10 percent better off by 'standing'”.

The numbers you quote are just plain wrong.

The dealer bust numbers depend on the soft-17 rules. However, the dealer only busts 26.203% of the time with a seven showing and S17 rules.

I don't know where he comes up with "By standing on the 'hard 16' you will win 29.01 percent of the time." This error is enough to flip the argument. This whole premise of this thread is based on faulty numbers.
Gambling is a math contest where the score is tracked in dollars. Try not to get a negative score.
bcmarshall
• Posts: 38
Joined: Jul 11, 2021
September 2nd, 2024 at 3:01:24 PM permalink
As I have made abundantly clear, these are not my actual statistics. I am quoting from a source that I cited.

However, in answer to the question I'm quite sure that it is taken into account. It's simply a loss. I don't think there was anywhere that suggested that all of the losses had to come from busting.
bcmarshall
• Posts: 38
Joined: Jul 11, 2021
September 2nd, 2024 at 3:03:47 PM permalink
Thank you very much. If the numbers are faulty then obviously the entire argument goes to hell. And I tried to make it very clear that I did not know whether those numbers were correct or not. I brought them here for you guys to look over and evaluate.

If they're defective numbers then the whole thing is a waste of time and energy. If that's the case I apologize to everyone for the wild goose chase. I simply didn't know in advance.
ChumpChange
• Posts: 5017
Joined: Jun 15, 2018
September 2nd, 2024 at 3:26:39 PM permalink
Wondering if I should take insurance against a Dealer Ace if I have a 15 or 16 I'm going to surrender on instead of standing on. The 9%+ spread between standing or surrendering could fit an insurance bet.
bcmarshall
• Posts: 38
Joined: Jul 11, 2021
September 2nd, 2024 at 4:52:11 PM permalink
You and several other posters of indicates they believe the numbers are faulty and as I said, I apologize for having offered something that wasn't valid for consideration. I didn't know and was trying to investigate something that sounded scholarly.

If anyone made a fool of themselves it's me. I appreciate your assistance in trying to untangle this.
heatmap
• Posts: 2316
Joined: Feb 12, 2018
September 2nd, 2024 at 4:56:48 PM permalink
i have actually already asked this question, they have a website on wizard of odds that tells you what happens when you deviate from BS, aka the amount of edge you give up to the dealer overall on average... i may try to find the thread, but you are giving up a significant amount.

that said, i actually vary it at a 50% rate whether or not im going to stand or not. i do this simply by remembering what i did on the last situation, because it is a situation that i have a serious mental issue with.

if the dealer has a 7, there is a very good chance that the dealers other card could be 9 or below simply because there are 7 low cards, and 6 high cards. AKA a flip.

i deviate on mediocre hands, dealer 7 vs my 5, or 6. Anything else I stand true to BS
Last edited by: heatmap on Sep 2, 2024
Mental
• Posts: 1507
Joined: Dec 10, 2018
September 2nd, 2024 at 6:27:41 PM permalink
Quote: bcmarshall

You and several other posters of indicates they believe the numbers are faulty and as I said, I apologize for having offered something that wasn't valid for consideration. I didn't know and was trying to investigate something that sounded scholarly.

If anyone made a fool of themselves it's me. I appreciate your assistance in trying to untangle this.

You have done a good deed by exposing the author as a fraud.
Quote:

The following is an excerpt from the book Ask Dr. BlackJack by Sam Barrington.

What makes me a know-it-all in Blackjack?

I’m not an expert but probably as close as anybody and I think my play and knowledge of the game of Blackjack for the last 28 years has made me one of the best Blackjack players in the country.

He wins without counting. LOL
Gambling is a math contest where the score is tracked in dollars. Try not to get a negative score.
Dieter
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Joined: Jul 23, 2014
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September 3rd, 2024 at 1:20:54 AM permalink
(snip)
Quote: bcmarshall

If you are comparing loss vs. not a loss, then hitting seems to be clearly the advantageous way to play, but if your consideration is loss vs. win then standing seems undeniably to be the appropriate action.

Help, Michael!

Basic strategy has already been calculated to reflect the ideal mix of losing the least and winning the most.
Any deviation will win less or lose more, unless you know something.
-Not a Michael
May the cards fall in your favor.
TomG