In order to win at blackjack, a player must have a better hand than the dealer by getting closer to 21 without going over. If the player or dealer goes over 21, it’s considered a “bust” and is automatically out of the hand. The player must finalize their hand before the dealer so they have the first chance to bust and thereby an advantage.

What is the book?
When a person says they play by the book, they mean they play by the odds listed by blackjack instruction manuals. There are several books out there on how to increase your odds of winning. There are slight variations here and there and depending on the situation, but there are certain rules in situations that every “book” is in agreement in making the same move.

Rule #6

What does “Hard 9 vs. 6” mean?

It means you have a hand with two cards that equal nine. The dealer is showing a 6 with a card in the hole (upside down). The reason why this is an easy decision is that a lot of “books” out there say you should always assume the card in the hole with the dealer is a 10 or 10 equivalent and assume every following card is a 10 or a 10 equivalent because there are 16 cards with a value of 10 in a deck, more than any other.

In this situation, the dealer is considered having a bust card. Since the dealer has to hit his hand until he reaches a hard 17 or a soft 18, there is a good likelihood that he may bust. The assumption is the dealer has a high card in the hole then will draw another high card to bust. This can happen with combinations with card values as low as 6 and as high as 10, so there are multiple ways the dealer can bust. When a dealer is showing a “bust” card and you have the equivalent of 11 or less, you should always hit but if you have a 9, 10, or 11, you should double down.

With a hard 9, your chance of landing a hand 17 or greater on the next card is more than 45 percent.

Additionally, the dealer having a 10 or an ace equivalent in the hole is more than 40 percent. If they do have a 10 or an ace equivalent in the hole, then now they have more than a 70 percent chance of receiving a subsequent bust card.

When you have a hard 9 and the dealer is showing a 6:

Always Double Down

When you arrive at Sycuan to play Blackjack, find yourself a nice table that you’re comfortable with, especially the limits. If you ever wonder what you’re supposed to do, the dealer will always be nice enough to tell you what the “book” says. Remember, most people play the “book” so if you decide to go against it and it causes the players at the table to lose, people may get upset with you.

It’s always awesome when the whole table wins but it’s never fun when you are the cause to the house winning. Be respectful of the dealer and the other players but never forget to always have fun!