Blackjack is one of the simplest casino card games to play and it is very straightforward for beginners to get the hang of. Although it may be simple at face value and seem easy to understand, if you dig deeper, you will realize that Blackjack is all about odds and making the best and correct mathematical decisions. Blackjack odds are given as percentages that represent the probability of losing or winning a hand. They can also represent the house edge.
In this guide we will be discussing the best blackjack odds, the house edge and bust probability and the players odds and bust probability. We will also look at how you can increase your odds of winning blackjack and so much more.
House Edge – What is It?
Simply put, the house edge is the advantage the casino or dealer has over the player. The house edge is given as a percentage. The house edge is the average return to the casino over a long period of time. For example, if the house edge is 3% for a game, then for every $100 bet, the average intake by the casino would be $3, based on long play periods.
The House Edge in Blackjack
Although blackjack is a simple game and it is easy to learn how to play blackjack, you cannot shy away from the fact that there will still be a house edge. The only exception would be if you played perfectly and used the counting cards advanced blackjack strategy to give you a slight advantage. Blackjack is a game with the lowest house edge, at about 0.5% advantage over the player. The dealer’s odds can change, depending on the blackjack house rules. For example, a dealer that has to stand on a soft 17 has less chance of winning than a dealer that has to hit on soft 17.
Dealer’s Bust Probability
We will now be looking at the probability of the dealer to bust depending on the first card shown. It is important to take note that the probability does vary depending on the rules. Whether the dealer has to stand or hit on soft 17 will make a difference. Have a look at the table below.
|Dealer’s Card||Probability when standing on 17||Probability when hitting on 17|
Players Odds in Blackjack
When playing online blackjack, although the dealer always has the upper hand and advantage because they play last, the players do have many alternatives that can help them and be used to their advantage. One of the best advantages would be to reduce the house edge. Reducing the house edge can be as simple as learning the basic blackjack strategy. There are also more advanced techniques that can be used, such as card counting that will increase the RTP (return to player) percentage and increase the players odds even more. It is important to understand probability and how it will affect blackjack odds and the advantage you as a player will have in the game. You will be able to maximize payouts and reduce the risk of losing a lot of money on bad hands.
In the blackjack odds chart below we are showing you how you can assess the probability of whether you might bust or not if you choose to hit or stand after you have been dealt your first two cards.
|Player’s hand value||Probability of busting|
|11 or lower||0%|
The Odds of Winning Blackjack
The odds of winning blackjack can be as high as 42.22%, but this does not necessarily mean that the house will win 57.78% of the time. There is still a third possible outcome and that being a tie. On average 8.48% of blackjack games will end in a tie, therefore the probability of a loss for the player or the house edge will be 49.10%. The odds of the game can vary from one game to the next, depending on the rules of the game you are playing, the blackjack variant and the playing style. If you come into a blackjack game with no strategy, you are likely to see your odds drop drastically compared to someone that has a strategy.
All blackjack odds are calculated over long periods of play and using optimal basic strategies to win. It is important to keep in mind that there is always the factor of random chance that can play into every hand. It all comes down to the luck of the draw, so make sure luck is on your side when you start your blackjack games.
Odds of Winning Blackjack with Unfavorable Hands
Not all hands dealt in blackjack are smooth sailing and easy for players to win on, some hands are particularly difficult. The right combination of cards, dealt at the right time can lead inexperienced players to get into a frenzy. Let us have a look at some of the hands that could be dealt at the best online blackjack casinos and see what strategies we can implement to help us get the best possible outcome.
- Hard 16 – a hard 16 is a risky business, but if the dealer is sitting on 7 or higher as their up card, you should hit. However, if a 9 or 10 is showing, you should consider surrendering. The dealer has a higher chance of busting.
- Player 12 vs Dealer 4 – this is one of the closest hands in blackjack when it comes to odds, and not a great position to be in. When the dealer’s up card is a 4, there is a 40% chance that they will bust. This means that you will lose the hand 60% of the time if you stand. If you choose to hit, your odds increase slightly to 58% chance of losing and a 2% chance of a tie. Our advice would be to stand and wait for the dealer to bust in this scenario.
- Player 15 vs Dealer 10 – you probably have the same chance of winning when you hit as to when you stand. You might as well take the risk and hit. The dealer only needs to draw a 6 to win.
- Player 12 vs Dealer 3 – while you might think this hand is similar to the 12 vs 4 scenario above, it’s not as worrisome, but still risky. However, your chance of busting is less than the dealers, so it’s advisable that you hit at least once.
The Basic Blackjack Strategy
One thing that is essential to increasing your odds of winning at blackjack is becoming familiar with and understanding the basic blackjack strategy chart. This chart provides you with an optimal way to play the game. It provides you with the correct move for any situation you will find yourself in at the table and you will know when to hit or stand. This will all be based on the cards you have and the value of the dealer’s upturned card.
It will help to print this blackjack chart and keep it with you when you play your blackjack games. The following can be taken from the chart that will help you to increase your odds of winning straight away.
- Stand on 17+ – The first rule in blackjack is to stand on a hard 17, or higher. Even if the dealer is showing an Ace or 10, it is best to hold the hand than to try improving it further given the small number of cards that can be beneficial.
- Double Down on 11 – A hard 11, made out of the first two cards you’ve been dealt, is one of the best starting hands in blackjack and you can take advantage of that by doubling down. This will help you make the most of the situation and maximize winning hands in the long run.
- Split 8s and Aces – It is always best to split a pair of eights or a pair of aces as the starting hand. This is regardless of what the dealer is showing, even though it requires an extra bet. With nines, the situation is almost the same, but it is best to stand if the dealer has 7, 10, or Ace.
- Never Split 10s – As per blackjack basic strategy, you should always stand with this starting hand. Having 20 gives you a great chance at winning the hand.
- Hit on Ace-7 for Dealer’s 9, 10, or Ace – As per blackjack basic strategy, you should always stand with this starting hand. Having 20 gives you a great chance at winning the hand.
- Only Stand with 12 on Dealer’s 4, 5, or 6 – In this spot, it is best to stand only when the dealer is showing a 4, 5, or 6. Otherwise, the correct move is to hit.
- Stand with 13, 14, 15, or 16 on Dealer’s 2 through 6 – These hands are quite common when playing 21 and so it is important to know how to play them. For starters, it is best to stand if the dealer shows 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. If the dealer card is higher, it is best to hit and try to improve the hand. If surrender is available, use it on 16 against 9, 10, or Ace.
Getting blackjack with your first two cards you are dealt is the ultimate goal and dream. How much you are awarded for this depends on the casino you are playing at. Most online casinos will offer a 3:2 payout. Some will offer 6:5 or in some cases, even-money for a blackjack payout.
This will have a big impact on the house edge. The table below is showing the potential payout for blackjack and their effect on blackjack probability.
|Payout for Blackjack||Blackjack House Edge|
|Even – Money||2.8%|
Choosing the Right Blackjack Game
Another aspect that can influence your odds of winning is whether or not you have chosen the right blackjack game at the best online blackjack live dealer casinos. Small variations can make the game increasingly favorable to the house. It is also best to try out free blackjack games to help you get a hang of the game. Look for these rules when you are choosing a blackjack game to play:
- Single Deck – The more decks of cards used to play the game, the higher the house edge will be. Single deck blackjack stands out as the best option here.
- Blackjack pays 3:2 – Check what the payout is for a natural 21 made from the first 2 cards. The best payout for this will be 3:2.
- Double Down Available – Do you have the option to increase the value of your initial bet by up to 100%?
- Dealer stands on soft 17 – this rule can affect the house edge by more than 0.2%
- Surrender – This feature is not available in all blackjack games. This allows for players to forfeit a hand and only lose half of the bet.
Here is a table showing some of the effects on the house edge a few different rules may have:
|Rules Variation||Effect on House Edge|
|6 to 5 payout on a natural instead of the stand 3 to 2 payout||+1.3%|
|Not having the option to surrender||+0.08%|
|8 decks instead of a single deck||+0.61%|
|Dealer hits on soft 17 instead of standing||+0.21%|
|Player is not allowed to double after splitting||+0.14%|
|Player is only allowed to double with a total of 10 or 11||+0.18%|
|Player isn’t allowed to re-split aces||+0.07%|
|Player isn’t allow to hit split aces||+0.18%|
Once you are familiar with and understand the blackjack odds and probability, you open up a whole door to endless opportunities. The most important aspects to understand is how to calculate the probability. Learn the basic blackjack strategy and keep the strategy chart with you when playing your blackjack games to help you along with your exciting journey.