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How to Play the Hard 16 in Blackjack and Minimise Losses?
In Blackjack a hard 16 is not for the faint hearted. It is the kind of hand that is neither here nor there. As a points total, it is not high enough to prompt players to stand. Yet it is not low enough to automatically elicit a hit. Hard 16 lives in a grey zone perilously close to the bust barrier… so what is the best way to play the hand at the online casino South Africa? With care, cunning and luck!
What is Hard 16 in Blackjack?
Before we get into the more complex stuff like strategies, probabilities and statistical win/loss ratios, let’s start by defining exactly what hard 16 is. It is a Blackjack hand with a total value of 16 that does not contain an Ace. It can consist of two or more cards in various configurations such as 5-7, 5-6-5, 10-6, 5-7-5, 8-8 and so on. Besides 16 being a nebulous number in Blackjack, the fact that there is no Ace to provide a bit of wriggle room means it is a hand that carries significant risk.
What do we mean by ‘wriggle room’? In Blackjack an Ace can count as 11 or 1. As a result, A-5 - which by the way is known as soft 16 - can be played as either 6 or 16. That of course leaves players at Springbok Casino with a little more flexibility when it comes to game play. A hard 16 on the other hand cannot be manipulated to total anything other than 16.
What are Your Options When Your Play Blackjack?
When you play Blackjack at the best online casino South Africa - and here, we are referring to Springbok Casino of course - you have three options. You can:
- stand with the cards you are dealt
- hit and request one or more cards
- surrender, fold your hand and lose half your bet
When you are dealt hard 16, what is the best button to hit on the gaming interface? At this point it is important to note that theoretically you will only win around 24% of the time. Due to the poor nature of the hand you are essentially making a decision based on minimising your losses… so should you stand, hit or surrender?
Well, it all depends on the value of the dealer’s up card. It is also worth mentioning that the correct strategy to adopt is dependent upon the number of decks in play.
Best Multideck Blackjack Strategy for Two-Card Hard 16
As Blackjack at Springbok Casino is developed by Real Time Gaming (RTG), we know the game is played with two or more decks. We also know the decks are automatically shuffled after every hand. Based on that information, here is the best way to play a two-card hard 16 at the leading online casino South Africa:
- stand when the dealer’s up card is 2 to 6
- hit when the dealer shows 7 or 8
- surrender when the dealer’s revealed card is 9, a face card or an Ace
Why Stand on a Hand with a Low Probability of Winning?
In terms of the strategy for the low-value dealer up card, you may want to know why you would stand on a hand that only has a one in four chance of winning. As we have already mentioned, the objective here is to limit how much you lose playing Blackjack over the long term. When the dealer shows a low value card there is a reasonably high chance - around 40% to 45% - that the dealer will bust. Why?
According to the rules of the game available at our top ranked online casino South Africa, the dealer must hit on any hard total of 16 or less. That of course means the dealer has to keep on drawing cards to his hand whether it is considered a wise more or not. Had you engaged the hit button instead, there is a good chance your hand would have bust too.
Why Hit When the Dealer Shows 7 or 8?
When the dealer reveals 7 or 8 as the up card, however, it is less likely the hand will bust. Why? Well, let’s refer to the dealer rules again. In this context the applicable rule is the one that states the dealer stands on any hard total of 17 or more. That way the dealer has less chance of going bust and a higher probability of achieving a hand value of 17 through 21.
As a result, the optimal play according to the basic blackjack strategy is for the player to hit on the dealer’s 7 or 8 when holding a hard 16. From a statistical point of view, it all boils down to the fact that you will lose less money over time when you hit, as opposed to standing.
Is There a Different Strategy for a Multi-Card Hard 16?
How about a hard 16 consisting of more than two cards? How does the strategy change to embrace a multi-card hand? In essence, the only adaptation you have to make is to stand on hard 16 when the dealer shows a face card - Jack, Queen or King. Why?
The fact that your hand consists of three or more low value cards means there is a higher probability the dealer will draw high value cards to his hand and go bust. That gives you a chance to improve the organic win-loss ratio… or in the case of hard 16, the loss-win ratio right here at Springbok Online Casino South Africa!
How About the Pair of Eights?
Despite the statistical disadvantages associated with hard 16, you would play a pair of 8s as you would any other pair. That of course is to split the pair into two hands and play each hand independently - notwithstanding the value of the dealer’s up card. Even if both the split hands are a bust, the long-term theoretical loss is lower than what you would lose playing hard 16 as a single hand.
Sign Up at Springbok Online Casino South Africa: Adopt a Scientific Approach
In an ideal world no-one would ever be dealt hard 16 in Blackjack. Sadly, we don’t live in an ideal world. Although our top ranked online casino South Africa is as close as can be to perfection, we can’t change the outcome of our games nor would we want to.
As a player you can maximise how much you win at Springbok Casino. You can implement smart strategies and play the RTG developed casino games that offer the most in terms of payout rate and bonus features. At the end of the day, although there is the random factor, it is really up to you whether you win or lose.
Why not sign up at Springbok Online Casino South Africa and adopt a more scientific and strategic approach to gambling? It may just pay off!