odiousgambit
Joined: Nov 9, 2009
• Posts: 8339
May 2nd, 2011 at 4:46:43 AM permalink
I'm thinking this question has been answered before, but I would like to hear an authoritative answer. Is it better to face dealer '2' or dealer '7' in Blackjack?

This was brought up in this thread but I thought it would be good to start another. I went to this WoO chart pretty sure that 7 is worse, but it turns out that "it depends" [assuming I know what I am looking at]. Someone must know the authoritative answer.

My gut still says '7' is worse, but I probably have learned to hate the '2' more for its continuous impertinence!
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!” She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
FleaStiff
Joined: Oct 19, 2009
• Posts: 14460
May 2nd, 2011 at 6:22:48 AM permalink
Mathematically I have no idea, even after consulting those charts, but it does seem that its not all that much of a difference. I've always thought that a dealer was better off if he had a 7 than if he had a 2, but if I were playing and consuming free booze, I'd not deviate from my simple strategy: Dealer 2, Hit until 13, Dealer 3-6, Hit until 12, Dealer 7 or higher, hit until 17.
Wizard
Joined: Oct 14, 2009
• Posts: 22046
May 2nd, 2011 at 6:44:56 AM permalink
The 7 is much better, for the player. This was one of the questions asked in the qualifying test at the Blackjack Ball. The following table shows the average expected value by dealer up card and whether the dealer hits of stands on soft 17. For 10 and ace, it is after the dealer peeks for blackjack.

Up Card H17 S17
2 9.07% 9.10%
3 12.35% 12.38%
4 15.88% 15.85%
5 19.67% 19.65%
6 23.69% 23.40%
7 14.40% 14.40%
8 5.82% 5.82%
9 -4.06% -4.06%
10 -17.36% -17.36%
A -36.92% -33.78%

Table based on infinite decks.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
DJTeddyBear
Joined: Nov 2, 2009
• Posts: 10249
May 2nd, 2011 at 9:06:55 AM permalink
Interesting.

But going back to the arguments I had made in the Blackjack in Ct. thread, the 'general public' may perceive H17 to be a better game, primarily because of dealer hitting when the dealer's card is a 6, with an Ace in the hole.

I added a columm showing the difference that S17 provides over H17, and this confirms what I was saying - about the 6 anyway.

The differences for all cards except Ace and 6 is negligible. For a 6, H17 is considerably better for the player. However, a dealer with an Ace up, S17 is over TEN TIMES better than the H17 advantage with a 6.
Up Card H17 S17 S17 advantage
2
9.07%
9.10%
0.03%
3
12.35%
12.38%
0.03%
4
15.88%
15.85%
-0.03%
5
19.67%
19.65%
-0.02%
6
23.69%
23.40%
-0.29%
7
14.40%
14.40%
0.00%
8
5.82%
5.82%
0.00%
9
-4.06%
-4.06%
0.00%
10
-17.36%
-17.36%
0.00%
A
-36.92%
-33.78%
3.14%

This also supports the other obvious thing: Even if it's S17, the general public hates to see the dealer have an Ace up.
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁
FleaStiff
Joined: Oct 19, 2009
• Posts: 14460
May 2nd, 2011 at 12:30:42 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

The 7 is much better, for the player.

Up Card H17 S17
2 9.07% 9.10%
3 12.35% 12.38%
4 15.88% 15.85%
5 19.67% 19.65%
6 23.69% 23.40%
7 14.40% 14.40%
8 5.82% 5.82%
9 -4.06% -4.06%
10 -17.36% -17.36%
A -36.92% -33.78%

Table based on infinite decks.

Okay, so I gather that Hitting Soft17 and Standing on Soft17 really doesn't make much difference at all. Oh sure, in the extreme case of a dealer's up-card being an Ace it seems to be a 3 percent difference but if its a whopping 33 percent against you already what's the difference if instead its 36 percent against you? Its not that much better to be shot with a .38 than a .45 caliber slug. For each of the other dealer up cards in the table the difference is pretty much aptly described as a smidgen and no matter what game it is or how much money is being ploughed thru it, a smidgen's difference will make a difference only to the casino, not the player. That is why the player thinks of five dollars at roulette and the casino thinks of twenty-six cents.

Now I did note that the table was based on infinite decks and if a continuous shuffler is in use that is pretty much what you are playing with, an infinite deck. We ride on airplanes with performance manuals based on a plane designed with wings of infinite length even though we know that infinitely long wings make finding a hangar a wee bit difficult. So I guess there wouldn't be much difference if there are only finite decks involved.
odiousgambit
Joined: Nov 9, 2009
• Posts: 8339
May 2nd, 2011 at 1:07:52 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

The 7 is much better, for the player.

My guess was wrong. Mulling that over, it goes to show you that just because you stand with 14 vs 2, but hit with 14 vs 7, you can't come to a conclusion from that and similar decisions.
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!” She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
Kellynbnf
Joined: May 5, 2010