Blackjack is supposed to be one of the easiest casino games to beat. After all, it features a low house edge in comparison to most games.
However, you still may find yourself struggling to book winning sessions on a consistent basis. Even when you are winning, your profits can drain out as you continue playing.
In these cases, it really helps to know why you have such a tough time beating blackjack. Below, I’ll discuss 5 reasons why the dealer keeps kicking your butt along with how you can change things around.
1 – The Dealer Acts Second
Some gamblers have adopted an extreme strategy that involves mimicking the dealer. Their thought process is that if the dealer wins most of the time, then they can at least match the croupier by playing by the same rules (I.e. hitting until a hard or soft 17).
The same gamblers are dead wrong on this strategy! Mimicking the dealer results in a massive 7% house edge. But why?
The croupier doesn’t win just because they play by a strict set of rules. In fact, being forced to hit until a soft/hard 17 actually lowers their chances of winning.
Instead, the dealer’s biggest advantage comes from acting after you. They deal the cards and wait for you to play your hand before doing anything else.
If you bust out, then you automatically lose. Meanwhile, the dealer beats you without ever having to make a decision.
The casino tries to soften the blow by giving you extra actions that the dealer doesn’t enjoy. You can split pairs and double down when rules permit.
These special privileges help when you’re trying to reduce the house edge. But they still don’t allow you to totally overcome the dealer’s advantage.
2 – Not Everybody Bothers With Blackjack Strategy
One of the most-entertaining parts about blackjack is that it features in-depth strategy. You can improve your chances of winning by knowing how to act in each situation.
Here’s an example of a tricky blackjack scenario:
- You hold a pair of 9s.
- The dealer’s upcard is 7.
- You split these 9s in most situations.
- However, basic strategy calls on you to stand in this specific instance.
There’s one right way to play the above situation and multiple wrong ways. You’ll run into these types of decisions again and again in blackjack.
You won’t automatically know how to deal with tricky situations. That said, a basic blackjack strategy chart can do wonders for your results.
These charts, which are extremely easy to find by the way, show the correct move for every situation. As long as you can read a color-coded chart, you can play perfect blackjack.
Nevertheless, many gamblers still don’t bother to take the two minutes it requires to find one of these charts online. They instead think that they’ve already mastered the game through experience alone.
Most gamblers can play reasonably well as long as they don’t try mimicking the dealer. But they’ll still surrender anywhere from 2% to 4% edge by ignoring strategy.
3 – Blackjack Games Move Fast
It seems like the casino already benefits quite a bit from the dealer acting second. But as I’ll discuss later, you can still lower the house edge to 0.5%–or even less in certain cases.
The problem, though, is that casinos can still beat you badly even if they only have a tiny advantage. Blackjack games are built to move fast so that the house can capitalize.
More action creates more entertainment when you’re gambling. However, it also leads to bigger losses over time.
You might still not feel like taking breaks and slowing the game down after reading this. After all, the point of blackjack is to have fun rather than trying to minimize your losses. But the fact remains that the casino wins more money, on average, when you’re exposed to more hands.
4 – The Rules Are in the Casino’s Favor
As I covered before, casinos give you special options that the dealer doesn’t have access to. Doubling down and splitting in the right situations give you a better chance at beating the dealer.
Even still, any competent casino will still ensure that they skew the rules in their favor. They tweak each rule to ensure that they at least hold a small advantage.
Of course, you can counteract this to some degree by looking for tables with the best rules. Even then, though, you’re not going to find any games that give you the edge.
Some casinos use tricky moves to fool you into thinking that your chances of winning are better. For example, they’ll offer single-deck tables with 6:5 natural blackjack payouts.
A single deck reduces the house edge by 0.59% when compared to the common 8-deck games. However, the 6:5 natural payouts boost the house advantage by 1.39% compared to 3:2 payoffs.
You know to look for this rule and avoid it in the future. But you’re still going to face other rules that increase the house edge.
5 – Casinos Boot Card Counters
Card counting is the most-popular way to gain an edge over the casino in any circumstance. In fact, blockbuster movies have been made about the subject.
However, casinos don’t just let you walk into their establishments and make easy money. They’re private businesses and they have the right to stop you if they think you’re counting.
You might feel that this is unfair when considering that the casino can take your money but is afraid to lose. But every gambling jurisdiction, except for Atlantic City, allows the house to boot counters.
It’s still possible for you to evade casino detection and make money. But you’ll find camouflaging your play to be much more difficult than simply learning card counting.
What Can You Do to Beat the Dealer in Blackjack?
You can see that you’re up against a lot when trying to win blackjack profits. Luckily, you can boost your chances of success by following the tips presented below.
Look for Games With Favorable Rules
Casinos have slowly added more and more rules that favor themselves. The house edge now pushes 2% in some gambling establishments—even when you use perfect playing strategy.
Fortunately, you don’t have to settle for these terrible games. You can still find fair real money blackjack tables both online and in land-based casinos.
The main thing you want to look at before placing a bet is the table felt. Specifically, you need to ensure that natural blackjacks pay 3:2 instead of 6:5. This is lone rule improves your chances of winning by 1.39%.
You can also look for one or more of the following rules that reduce the house edge:
- Single-deck 8-deck blackjack – Lowers house edge by 0.59%
- Double down on any total vs. doubling on 9 through 11 – Lowers house advantage by 0.25%.
- Dealer stands on soft 17 vs. hitting – Lowers house edge 0.2%.
- Double down after splitting (DAS) – Lower the house edge or advantage by 0.17%.
- Re-splitting aces – This reduces the house advantage by 0.08%.
- Late surrender – This lowers house advantage by 0.07%.
Learn Blackjack Strategy
It never ceases to amaze me how many blackjack players refuse to learn strategy. The same gamblers are basically throwing money away by not putting their pride aside.
You merely need to find a strategy chart through Google to get started. You can probably complete the search within 15 seconds.
Land-based casinos don’t want you slowing down the action by referring to your chart on every single hand. But if you’ve already practiced online first, you won’t have to look at the chart so often.
Try Card Counting
Earlier, I discussed how the main challenge associated with card counting is getting away with it. Casinos almost everywhere have the legal right to throw you out for counting.
But you should still consider this advantage gambling method if you’re truly serious about blackjack. You can use card counting to gain an edge over the house ranging from 0.5% to 1.5%.
You might be surprised to know that learning how to count cards isn’t that difficult.
The dealer’s biggest advantage is that they get to act second. Assuming you bust out, then they automatically win before even flipping over their hole card.
The croupier also benefits from the lack of common blackjack strategy knowledge and rules skewed in the house’s favor. If they deal at a fast speed on top of this, then you’ll really have some trouble winning.
Nevertheless, you can still improve your odds by learning strategy and seeking favorable rules. You might even try your hand at card counting to see if this helps too.