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Blackjack Dealer Busts – What’s the Probability & Payout?

blackjack dealer busts

Other than being dealt a Blackjack yourself, there is no better feeling in the game than watching the dealer go bust – especially if you’re playing at a real-world blackjack table.

That’s because, unless you’re bust already, then not only do your hands win – everybody wins!

So there’s no disputing that a dealer bust is a good thing. But what exactly happens when they do, how often does it happen, and are there any side bets that could let you cash in even further?

The article will discuss the payout for a blackjack dealer busting and the odds of it happening and also explain the Buster Blackjack side bet.

What is a Blackjack Dealer Bust?

A blackjack dealer bust is when the dealer’s hand totals more than 21.

Blackjack dealers must hit on any score of 16 or less, and must stand on 17 or more. Therefore, the higher the dealer’s score (while it has still not reached 17) the more likely they are to go bust, especially if there are more high-value cards left in the deck.

If the dealer busts, all players who are still in the hand will win their bet.

What are the Odds of a Dealer Busting?

At the start of a blackjack hand, before any cards are dealt, the probability of a dealer going bust is as follows:

  • 28.2% if the Dealer Stands on Soft 17
  • 28.6% if the Dealer Hits Soft 17

The dealer is slightly more likely to go bust when they are required to hit soft 17, although overall the house gains a slight edge from this rule.

However, we can reasonably assume that whatever blackjack table rules are in place, the dealer will go bust, on average, a little more than one in every 4 hands.

What is the Payout if the Dealer Busts?

If the dealer busts, all players who are still in the hand will win their bet.

The payout will be the same as it would be if the players win their hand any other way. It does not increase or decrease due to the method in which the hand has been won.

Returns would therefore be as follows:

  • Winning hands pay even money or 1/1.
  • Split or doubled hands would win at even money if they had not gone bust.
  • Blackjack pays 6/4 or (on less generous tables) 6/5.
  • Insurance would not pay out as the dealer does not have Blackjack
  • Other side bets would be treated according to their individual rules.

The Buster Blackjack Side Bet

There is also a side bet that can be made on certain tables called the Buster Blackjack side bet.

The Buster Blackjack bet is not widely available either in online and mobile blackjack, or in brick-and-mortar casinos, but you may come across it on certain tables.

It can be a useful option for you as a player, particularly in a multi-deck game where the count is high (i.e. there are a large proportion of high-value cards left in the deck).

To make the side bet, simply follow these easy steps. If the dealer’s total exceeds 21, then you win. The payout is based on how many cards it took for the dealer to go bust. However, if the dealer does not exceed 21, then you lose the side bet.

Typically, the payouts for Buster Blackjack are as follows:

  • 3-4 cards – Pays 2/1
  • 5 cards – Pays 4/1
  • 6 cards – Pays 15/1
  • 7 cards – Pays 50/1
  • 8+ cards – Pays 250/1

The high payout potential may make this seem like an attractive side bet, however, bear in mind that if the dealer does go bust they are far more likely to do so in 3 or 4 cards, which offers the lowest payout.

Whilst it is obviously possible for a dealer to go bust in 8 or more cards, the probability of this happening is around 0.0012%.

The house edge on Buster Blackjack is over 6%, no matter what table rules are in place, so it should be considered a fun bet and not one that you expect to get much of a return from over the long term.

Last Updated on September 20, 2022

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