Chinese New Year is a festive season celebrated by Chinese people worldwide. We’re not a 100% sure for people living in other parts of the world, but as a Singaporean, Chinese New Year is not only a time for family bonding, red packets and sinful steamboat feasts, but also a time to gamble with friends and family. And the game of choice for most is Blackjack.
Having seen some of our family members or friends always winning every year, we think that there may be some mathematical function to tilt the game our favour slightly. Below are some of the numbers to consider this year.
Just so everyone is on the same page, in the game of Blackjack, each player is given two cards, one facing upwards and one facing downwards. The one facing upwards is the Up card. This is the casino version.
In each hand, the probability of winning stands at 42.42%. Which means that in order for one to win 3 times in a row is
42.42% x 42.42% x 42.42% = 7.63%
In the table below, the probability of the possible final hands that the dealer can have, according to the his up card is demonstrated.
As shown above, chances of the dealer going BUST (when his final hand ends with more than 21 points) is highest when he has an Up card of number 4,5 and 6.
Another interesting point to note will be that the Dealer’s chances of getting a Blackjack when his Up card is an Ace stands at 31%. However, if he fails to obtain a Blackjack, his chances of hitting 21 points with his final point decreased greatly to 5.15%.
This means that if the dealer has an Ace but not a Blackjack, and you have 20 in your hand, more likely than not, you are on your way to collecting your winning or if you’re unlucky drawing.
Receiving a 2 as an Up card is usually deemed as not that great a hand to many. However, much to our surprise, chances of you ending with a final hand of 21 points is highest when you have an Up card of 2.
Depending on the rules of the game that you and your friends might be on, some allow splitting of your hand if you have a pair on your initial hand.
The decision of splitting or not should always be determined by the Up card of the dealer given that he is the one player you have to beat.
Below shows a table of splitting strategy depending on the pair you get and the Up card of the dealer. It is of advantage for the player to split his pair if he gets an Ace pair of pair of 8’s regardless of that the dealer’s Up card may be. However, if the dealer has an Up card of 5 and you have a pair of 4’s, it is in your favour to split the pair.
We definitely don’t encourage gambling as each bet actually results in a decrease in your net worth due to the odds not being in your favour. However during Chinese New Year, the time and laughs spent with your friends and family over a game of Blackjack beats whatever the outcome of the game may be. Just don’t go too crazy.