Of the many different blackjack variants out there, Blackjack Stand or Bust might be the simplest. In a way, the game doesn’t even require the player to actually participate in each hand; instead, it’s all about watching a dealer flip over some cards, following the rules that are fairly standard for players throughout the blackjack world. There’s no player hand at all, and you never have to worry about beating the dealer’s hand.
So without a hand, how are you supposed to play? It’s simple: Blackjack Stand or Bust is all about guessing how the dealer’s hand will end. Make the right decisions, and you can win big prizes, especially if you go on a winning streak.
How to Play Blackjack Stand or Bust
Blackjack Stand or Bust starts with the player making an initial stake – for the sake of this article, we’ll use $1 as our starting wager. The player will then be presented with four cards to choose from, each of which will form the beginning of a dealer’s hand.
Each of these cards will come with two numbers that tell you how much you can expect to win by guessing whether the dealer will ultimately stand or bust with a hand starting with that card. According to the rules of this game, the dealer will stand on all 17s, and hit on everything 16 or lower. As in standard blackjack, the dealer will bust if their hand scores 22 or higher. All scoring is done just as in traditional blackjack: numbered cards are worth their number, face cards are worth 10, and aces can be worth 11 or 1.
As an example, let’s say one of your card choices is an ace. The majority of the time, a dealer will end up making a hand to stand on when they start with an ace, and the payouts you’ll be offered will reflect this. From a $1 starting stake, you can take home $1.09 if you correctly guess that the dealer will stand. However, if you guess that the dealer will bust and end up being correct, you’ll now have $8.32 to your name. Keep in mind that these totals include your original wager — so in the first example, you’d only be showing a profit of nine cents on a $1 bet.
Once you’ve won a wager, you’ll have many more options open up to you. At any time, you’ll have the option to bank all of your winnings and start over again, or bank half of your money to protect yourself from a big loss. You also have the option of doubling your stake at any time if you’d like to put more money at risk.
Each time you win a hand, the payouts on the next set of potential starting cards for the dealer will change to reflect your new stake. For instance, if you won that first bet by standing with an ace, your stake will now be $1.09; if you receive another ace as a potential starting card, you can expect to see a payout of $1.19 for standing again. Given the banking and doubling options, though, you’ll have plenty of chances to control your level of risk and get the kinds of payouts you prefer.
There’s one other way in which you can alter the potential payouts in Blackjack Stand or Bust. At the start of each game, you’ll be presented with three shuffles. These shuffles can be used at any time to give you four new choices for the dealer’s next starting card. This way, if you don’t like the choices presented to you, you’ll have an opportunity to start with new cards that may offer different odds.
Blackjack Stand or Bust Strategy
Because of the variable odds on different cards, it’s hard to say if there’s really a “best” card to start the dealer hand with. These types of fixed odds games generally offer the same house edge (or very close to it) on each bet offered, and that holds true for Blackjack Stand or Bust.
As an example, let’s take a look at the probabilities when you start with an ace. This game offers a $0.09 payout on a $1 bet if you guess that the dealer will stand. With an ace, you can expect the dealer to stand about 88.35% of the time, and bust 11.65% of the time. Running the math, the house edge on this bet is about 3.7%. Meanwhile, trying to win $7.32 by wagering $1 that the dealer will bust instead comes with a house edge of about 3.04%.
Essentially, all of the bets in this game fall in the range of 3%-4% house edge, with most of the differences coming down to the fact that the exact payouts have to be rounded to the nearest cent. This means that the choices you make aren’t likely to change your results in the long run.
However, the kinds of bets you make can change the nature of this game. For instance, you can try to slowly amass a bigger prize by winning many times in a row with low-risk bets (such as picking “stand” on an ace), or you can gamble it up by taking long shots. Alternately, you can look for something in between by wagering on starting cards like 4, 5 and 6, on which the dealer is nearly as likely to bust as stand.