Charles Jay’s
Designed to help you play a better game

10 vs. A

THE SETUP: You’re dug in at a multiple deck blackjack game, and the dealer gives you a seven and a three, which comprise a two card total of 10. This isn’t too bad, and you are congratulating yourself for the good luck, not to mention thinking about the kind of money you’ll make by doubling. But wait! the dealer then gives himself (or herself, as the case may be) an Ace, and all of a sudden the anxiety is rushing through your system. Hmmm, you’re saying to yourself, I know I can double against real weak cards when I have a total of ten, but what happens when it looks as if the dealer might actually have an advantage over me? Do I really want to put MORE money on the table?

To perhaps compound your confusion, the dealer then checks underneath, and discovers that there is no two-card blackjack (which would have happened with a ten-value card), so at this point you have to go ahead with the hand. Your choice is basically between hitting and doubling down.


What do you do?

CJ’S WAY: The best percentage play here is to HIT the hand.

WHY WE DO IT: I don’t know if it’s tempting or not, but you may be thinking about the double here, and see some kind of opportunity; since we know the dealer does not have a blackjack, the best he or she can have is a two-card total of 20, and more likely even less than that. If you take a double here, you are going to be getting very close to an even proposition, though it will place you slightly on the negative side. Hitting on the 10 actually produces better results; in fact, you will win about 47.5% of the time, pushing (tying) at a 13.5% clip, and turn up 39% losers. There is obviously value in holding off on that double. The lesson learned here is that even though having 10 normally makes it opportune to double, there is a time and a place to do it, and this is NOT that time and place, not if the object of your game is to turn a negative into a positive, which is exactly what we get the chance to do.

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