# Should You Mimic the Dealer’s Strategy?

One question that gets asked a lot is why blackjack players should simply not just mimic the dealer’s strategy. After all, most players who go up against the dealer will come off second best. This is a good question and one that we intend to explore in the notes below. In order to answer this question, we need to understand two things. First we need to understand how the game of blackjack really works and secondly we need to understand how the house edge works.

Most players believe that the house gets an edge in blackjack because the players themselves are not playing their hands properly. While it is certainly true that a player who simply guesses whether to hit or stand will increase the house edge, there is another force at work here. We need to take a look at the inherent house edge in blackjack. The game of blackjack has a built-in edge that stems from the fact that player are forced to play his or her hand before the dealer. As such, the player has a chance of busting out before the dealer can even enter the picture.

## Double Bust House Edge

Even if the dealer had a lower scoring hand or had a greater chance of going bust, the player loses their bet before the dealer can play. This double bust scenario is how blackjack gives the house its edge, and how most players will walk away with a loss. If we decide to mimic the dealer’s strategy, which means basically standing on any hand 17-21 and hitting on 16 or less, the house edge would sit around 8% due to fact that the player is forced to play his hand first.

Consider the probability of going bust. In any given blackjack hand, the probability busting out is around 28.3%. This means that if both the player and the dealer played the same strategy, around 8% of the time both hands would bust together but the dealer would win as the player goes first. So what we are saying here is that if you mimicked the dealer’s strategy, you are actually increasing the house edge compared to playing the basic strategy which gives a house edge between 0.5% and 2.5% depending on how well you follow the strategy.