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Blackjack: The top 5 most powerful starting hands

Blackjack is predominantly a game of chance. This means that whatever you are dealt to begin with is an early indicator of how the rest of your game will go. But it also means that there are certain hands that put you in good stead for success (or failure).

Factors including the amount of decks in play, the croupier’s face card, and rules of the casino will all influence the cards that come your way at the beginning of each round. You can get a better insight of playing online blackjack and find the top casino games at Casinopedia.org. Being dealt a good hand can positively sway the overall outcome. But which hands are the best?

Let’s break them down.

1: 21

Since the aim of the game is to make the value of your cards add up to 21, being dealt 21 straight away guarantees you a win. To make 21 immediately, you’re likely to have been dealt a 10 and an ace (which is worth either 11 points or one).

But given how perfect this would actually be and the sheer amount of variables (listed above) in blackjack, this occurrence is fairly rare. In fact, experts have calculated that this is likely to happen less than 5% of the time when just one pack is in play. Add in another seven decks, and it drops down to only 4.75%.

2: Two aces

As mentioned in the section above, aces can count as worth either one point or 11 points. This means that being dealt a pair of them will give you a hand of worth either two or 12 (it could also be worth 22 points, but that’s a bust).

A pair of aces is thought to have a favourable outcome approximately 40% of the time, but actually being dealt this hand is quite rare. You could split the aces up and only use one as 11 points (in which case you’d be looking for a 10 next), or use them as 12 points and hope for a nine.

The chance of getting that 10 stands at around 30%, say mathematicians, so splitting them up might be for the best.

3: 20

Being dealt a 20 as your starter hand in blackjack gives you an immense chance of winning, at just under 80%, regardless of what the dealer has. This is because it’s already so high, being only one point below that of the target of 21.

That being said, your chance of success would go up even further they’re holding a card between six and nine. For example, the dealer holding an eight means your chances of winning rises to 86%.

This happens for a number of reasons: firstly, because they are more likely to end up with a low-scoring hand overall; secondly, because they are also more likely to busy; and thirdly, because their likelihood of landing a “five-card trick” also decreases.

4: 11

Due to the fact that this is a lower-scoring hand and many card combinations can result in it being dealt, the odds of being dealt 11 are much, much higher than those of being dealt 20, two aces, or 21.

Eleven is also a good hand to begin with because of all the cards in the pack, you are most likely to draw a 10. This is because, alongside regular 10 cards, picture cards (Jacks, Queens, and Kings) are also worth 10 points.

You are only around 30% likely to win with this starting hand, but because the odds of being dealt it are higher, it’s a good one to have over time.

5: 19

A starting hand worth 19 is good because only hands worth 20 and 21 points can beat it. Always stick, because you’re highly unlikely to get a card worth two points or under here.

However, there’s a hidden downfall in this one: if the dealer has a card worth 10 points in their hand, you are only around 27.5% likely to win.

But if instead they hold a seven in their hand, you are much, much more likely to succeed with a hand worth 19 points.

The Bottom Line:

Because – as I mentioned near the start of this article – blackjack relies heavily on luck and chance, it’s essential that players understand the odds of winning.

Being able to calculate the odds will allow you to make informed decisions about whether to hit or stick, and this can obviously help you win. The unexpected can always happen, but if you hold any of the five hands listed above, you’re sure to see a greatly improved chance of winning the pot.


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