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What to do when you hit 16 in Blackjack

What to do when you hit 16 in Blackjack Image

What to do when you hit 16 in Blackjack

Picture the scene: you are holding a 16 against the dealer’s ten in a round of blackjack. Your heart is racing, as the conflicting information that you have received during your time as an amateur player goes to battle in your mind. 

Not the ideal scenario, although some would argue there is a simple solution. There are players who argue that odds are irrelevant in a game such as blackjack, for example, and that ultimately it is consistency that minimises risk and wins the day.

How to Play a 16 Hand Against the Dealer’s 10

While there is a little truth to this assertion, odds do play an important role in the game. The fact is that you are in a less than ideal situation when you have a hand of 16 against the dealer’s 10, and the odds are that more than 60% of the cards left in a single deck could bust your hand. In contrast, the dealer is sure to have a second card that keeps them in the game, while he will also have a better than 50% of beating your hand at this moment in time. There are many factors that could come into play in this instance, and the best course of action is to remain focused on optimising the probability of winning.


In this respect, the worst thing you can do is stand. The dealer is almost certain to beat your hand from this position, so this would be the equivalent of folding in poker. While hitting your hand would represent a risk, you at least have a 40% chance of drawing a card that inches you close to 21 and drastically improves your odd. This is clearly the best course of action in a straight-up game with no surrender rules, as it takes into account the odds you are facing and strives to negate them in the best possible way. If you are playing in an offline or online game where the surrender rule applies, however, this should be taken in the ultimate interest of minimising risk and avoiding total loss.

No Shame in Surrender

Essentially, if you surrender at this juncture, you are sacrificing half of your stake for the opportunity to lay down your hand and retain the remainder of your wagered capital. This may seem far from ideal, but given the odds of winning and the position of strength held by the dealer, it at least prevents you from making a total loss and helps you to survive over the course of a session. After all, there is no shame in surrendering in the world of blackjack, as this is often key to successful game management at all levels.