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How the Dealer’s Up Card Can Tell You Their Bust Percentage and How You Can Exploit It

Jun 4, 2014

dealercard20140604Dealers’s up-card

Keep an eye out on the dealer’s up card to estimate the probability of him going over 21, making it easier for you to score an easy win.

Your success at the blackjack table depends a lot on how much you practice and how much effort you put into continually improving your gambling skills. The very first step to becoming a pro at this game is to master your basic blackjack strategy.

As soon as you’ve got this covered, there are a lot of methods you can use to increase your chances of winning at blackjack. Experts have come up with a number of techniques to calculate your own chances of winning, as well as the dealer’s chances of busting. Why is this helpful? Because then you know when to increase or lower your bet.

Calculating the probability of dealers busting

Most of the time blackjack players will focus on their own cards; and there is nothing wrong with that, but the dealer’s cards should also be part of the equation when you’re trying to calculate your chances of winning. If you carefully follow basic blackjack strategy and do your best not to go over 21, the whole outcome of a game can hinge on the frequency with which the dealer busts.

So if you’re wondering about the probability of the dealer busting in a multi-deck game, assuming he has to stand on all hands valued at 17 or above, you’ll be happy to find out that some experts have already done the math for you. Here are the results:


On average, in multi-deck games that require the dealer to stand on all 17s, there will be a 28.2% chance of him busting. The probability of this happening varies according to the dealer’s up card, so keep in mind that 6s and 5s are the worst cards for him, while an Ace or a 10 will give him a significant advantage.

Using your gambling skills to win

So at this point it looks like it depends a lot on chance, because you can’t really accurately predict what the dealer’s up card will be. But experts will show you there is another factor you should take into account if you want to get a better picture of what chances you have against your main rival: the cards left in the shoe.

Card counting systems might seem complicated, but they’re all very logical really. Think about it this way: certain cards are unavailable in the shoe because they’ve already been played in previous hands or because they’re currently on the table. There are certain techniques that help you keep track of these cards and calculate if you have a good chance of drawing a favorable one.

Let’s say the dealer has a 10-up. If players are showing several low cards, his chances of busting decrease; but when there are high-value cards on the table, odds of the dealer breaking increase. If the dealer is showing a 9 or 10 and the other players have strong hands such as two-card 19s or 20s, he has more chances of breaking because there are no 9s or 10s available for him.

While it’s useful to have a general idea of what cards have been played, improving your gambling skills by learning how to count cards will come in very handy when you’re sitting at the blackjack table. Mastering these methods takes a lot of time and practice, but it will all be worth it in the long run.

So start practicing your strategy and blackjack tricks right now, to get the best out of your next visit to the casino. Make sure to check out our tips on how to master basic blackjack strategy in no time and how to count cards. Good luck!

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