How to Play Your Hands Against a Dealer’s 10 Upcard

By Henry Tamburin Ph.D

When a dealer shows a 10 upcard at online or live blackjack, she or he is in the driver’s seat because they have a 77% chance of getting to a final hand that totals 17 through 21 and only a 23% chance of busting. A ten, therefore, is a very strong dealer upcard. This means we have to be more aggressive when we are a dealt a stiff hand (hit rather than stand) and less aggressive when we are dealt a two-card soft hand (hit rather than double down). We also should surrender several hands even when it results in forfeiting half our bet. What follows is the accurate blackjack strategy for any hand when the dealer shows a ten upcard.

Fortunately for players, the playing strategy against a dealer’s ten upcard is nearly the same for any number of decks of cards or mix of playing rules, with only a few exceptions discussed below.

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