When you sit down to play a hand of blackjack in your favorite live or online casino, there are three possible outcomes. The best of these is that you will win the hand and be paid off at even money or 3/2 for a blackjack. The worst scenario is that the dealer will win the hand and you will lose your original bet. There is a third outcome, however, that is known as a “push.”
What Does it Mean to Push in Blackjack?
A push in blackjack is simply a tie between you and the dealer. It means that both of you hold hands of an identical value. Therefore, the hand is a tie. You are allowed to keep your original wager and a new hand begins.
As an example, let’s say that you are dealt a 10-5 to begin for a hard total of 15. The dealer shows a 10 with one card hidden. Since players should always assume that the dealer’s hidden card is also a 10, the rules of blackjack strategy dictate that you should take another card. You hit your hand and receive another 5 for a total of 20 and stand.
The dealer then reveals his hole card, the one you cannot see. It is another 10 which also gives the dealer a 20. Since the dealer must stand on any hard total of 17 or above, the hand is over and is pronounced a push. In a live casino a dealer will tap the table between the two of you with the back of his hand to indicate a tie. There is no winner and no loser. In the online casino, the word PUSH will appear on the screen across the graphic of the blackjack table.
How Often Does a Push Happen in Blackjack?
The number of blackjack hands that end in a push, or tie, is approximately 8.48%. This means that out of every 100 hands you play, eight will be a push. One should remember that this percentage is meant to indicate what would happen if the game were infinitely played. The percentages do not necessarily hold true over a single session. A player could push two or three hands in a row during a single 50-hand session. It is unlikely, but it could happen.
The most likely outcomes at the blackjack table are a win or a loss. The truth is, a push usually feels unsatisfying. This is especially true when the player has made all of the correct decisions and the dealer “draws out.” To draw out means that the dealer has hit a hand that he should in all probability bust. For example, if a dealer has a 16 the odds are largely in favor of a bust. Sometimes, however, the dealer will draw a 5 to his 16 for a total of 21.
It is best to think of a push as avoiding a loss. In many cases a push can save a player from losing a hand in which their odds of being beaten were very high. Any hand that is not a loss is always good for the player.