The Odds of Busting in a Casino Blackjack Game

To hit, or not to hit? That is the question… Know the odds of busting in blackjack.

Odds of Busting in BlackjackThe odds and probabilities associated with any casino blackjack game are constant. Applying any particular strategy will not change those odds. However, knowing the odds prior to making a decision will help improve your strategy, and thereby your odds of winning.

One of the most important aspects of a good blackjack strategy is knowing exactly what your odds are of busting at any given moment. It should go without saying that, unless your hand total adds up to 11 or below (or a soft 12+), there’s always a risk of busting when you take another card. Evaluating the risk is key.

It’s not just about your current hand total, either. Your decision should also be based on what card the dealer is showing. We’ll talk more about that in a moment. But first…

The Player’s Odds of Busting in Blackjack

Anytime you have a hand total of 12, 13, 14, 15 or 16, you’ll want to weight your options. Hit or stand? The following chart depicts the odds of busting on any of these hand totals.

Note: Card counting is not considered here. We’re assuming that the cards have been dealt from a fresh deck, and that all possible cards remain in the shoe. This is the situation you’re most likely to come across in an online blackjack game, where the cards are reshuffled after every hand. In a live setting, with card counting applied, the odds may be different.

You Hand Total

Odds of Busting










The Dealer’s Up Card

Just because you have a 12, with a relatively low 31% chance of busting, doesn’t mean you should always hit. The opposite goes for a total of 16. The odds of busting are fairly high, but there are situations in which taking another card is the better move.

If we always assume that the dealer has a 10 in the hole, then his up card will determine his probability of busting (see chart above). For example, if the dealer has a 6 showing, and we assume he’s holding 16, then we can also assume that he will have to hit. Therefore his assumed odds of busting are 62%.

In this case, it’s not worth the 31% risk of hitting a 12. In fact, if the dealer has a 6 showing, basic strategy will tell us to stand on any total of 12+. If it’s a soft 12+, you should double if allowed, otherwise stand.

However, if the dealer is showing a 7+, strategy alters drastically, telling us to hit any total of 12-16. Based on the previous assumptions, odds are the dealer will have, and stand on, 17, resulting in an automatic loss for any player who failed to evaluate the risk and take the hit.

To put it simply, if the dealer’s odds are worse than your own odds of busting in blackjack, stand on the current total. If the dealer’s odds are better than your own, take the hit.

This is the bedrock of any good blackjack strategy. For optimal performance, it’s highly recommended to utilize a detailed strategy chart designed specifically for the casino blackjack game rules your playing.



  • Trevor Hallsey

    Passionate webmaster, devoted card game enthusiast, and proud son of the Great White North. With over a decade of iGaming experience, Trevor has launched numerous web portals to share his passion for game theory and all things Canadian gaming. With this site, he acts as a fact checker and mostly writes at the intersection of gaming and finance. He aims to offer statistical insights and unique information that you might see lacking in similar sites.

    🎓 Computer Science Enthusiast
    🏒 Maple Leafs Fanatic
    💜 Jiu-Jitsu Purple Belt

    View all posts