The Secret Key to Blackjack Success

Ever wondered how you might improve your chances when playing Blackjack so that you can beat the dealer? Well, we’ve got the answer and it all lies in the Dealer’s ‘up’ card. No matter how well you can count cards, you’ll need to be able to read the Dealer’s ‘up’ card in order to protect your bankroll, so read on to find out exactly how…  

What is the ‘Up’ Card in Blackjack?

  When the cards are dealt in Blackjack, one of the dealer’s cards will be dealt face down, whilst the other will be face up so that you can see it – this is known as the ‘up’ card. The most skilled players can learn to read the ‘up’ card in order to predict what the dealer’s hand might be. This is key to playing Blackjack as the overall aim is to beat the dealer’s hand.  

When is Reading the ‘Up’ Card in Blackjack Most Useful?

  Reading the ‘up’ card is particularly helpful in situations where you are hoping that the dealer might go bust. This would be, for example, when your hand totals 17. You don’t want to continue as your chances of going bust are very high. You therefore are hoping for the dealer to go bust.  

How to Read the Dealer’s ‘Up’ Card

2 or 3

If the dealer has a 2 or three showing then you need to be very careful as it is hard to read the hand. The dealer will have to hit at least once since Blackjack rules dictate that the dealer must hit on 13 (which is the highest hand they could hold.) At this stage there is a fairly decent chance of the dealer going bust.

If your hand is anywhere between 13 and 17 then you should stay put. Although this might not sound logical, there is technically more chance of the dealer going bust than there is of him beating you, so there’s not point risking going bust yourself.

4, 5 or 6

If the dealer’s ‘up’ card shows a 4, 5 or 6 then there is a fairly sound chance that the dealer will go bust. The dealer must hit since Blackjack rules require the dealer cannot stand on any hand less than 17. However due to the likelihood that the next card will send the dealer bust, this is the point at which you should attack.

If you have the option to split or double down at this point in your Blackjack game then it’s a good idea to do so in order to get as much money behind your hand as possible. When the dealer goes bust as he is likely to do, you’ll win even more cash.

7 or 8

If the dealer’s ‘up’ card shows a 7 or an 8 then you’ll need to exercise caution, as these don’t reveal much about the dealer’s chance of winning. There’s a reasonable chance that the dealer will have a 17 or higher, which means that his risk of going bust on this hand is very much reduced.

If you have a strong hand then you can play a strong game against a 7 or 8 ‘up’ card. However, this is not the time to double down as the potential payouts are not worth the risk.

9, 10, J, Q, K or A

If the dealer shows any card from 9 through to an Ace then you can be fairly certain that he has a strong hand. He’s unlikely to be forced to hit, so he probably won’t risk going bust. You, on the other hand, are unlikely to beat the dealer with hand of under 19, but could easily go bust if you hit on an 18.

The best advice here is to use the ‘Surrender’ option if you are playing a version of Blackjack which allows it. The dealer will then return half of your bet and the hand is over. Although you lost a small amount of money playing the ‘Surrender’ option, you are not winning as much as if you had played the hand and lost.

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