Blackjack Odds and House Advantage
Blackjack is a game of skills and strategies, but in order to win, you must also know your odds. Successful blackjack players are masters at manipulating the odds to their favor. This is done by basing bet sizes and actions on the cards on the table and the cards in the deck.
Basically, casinos have a house edge of around 5%. The house gets this edge as the dealer is the last player to act. By then, players have already ended their turn, and some probably busted. However, by using good basic blackjack strategy, one can turn the house edge down to around 0.5%, making it one of the best games to play in a casino. This drastic drop can be achieved by using advantage play such as card counting techniques discussed in this article. Unfortunately, card counting is banned in most casinos, as it manipulates odds to the player’s favor.
With that being said, there are other ways for a blackjack player to increase their chances of winnings, and that is by playing basic blackjack strategy. In order to minimize the house edge, you need to be making the most optimal decisions. You should base the decision of whether to hit or stand on the strength of your own hand, and the information you have about the dealer’s up card.
It is crucial that you know the probability of busting when you are holding a certain value of hand. For example, if you hold a 19, there is an 85% chance of busting if you draw another card, if you hold a 18, the figure drops to 77%. Knowing these values is important as hell as they tell you when you should hit, and when you should choose to stand, which in Blackjack is the most common decision you will be faced with.
Rule Changes and How it Affects the House Edge
The house edge changes dramatically based on the variation of Blackjack played and so does your odds. If you are playing a ‘dealer hits on soft 17’ game, the odds will increase in favor of the house by 0.22%. Conversely, if you are playing a game that allows you to double down after splitting, this will increase the odds in favor of the players by 0.13%. Every player should know the rules before sitting down and understand that these odds are estimations that will only be more accurate during extended play over the course of your blackjack career.
Bad Play Can Prove to Be Costly
Some of us tend to make bad choices; this is extremely bad when you’re playing Blackjack, as bad choices may end up doubling or tripling the house odds. Casinos rely on players not playing the game in an optimal manner. However, if a player uses the basic strategies and plays it perfectly in a six-deck game, it is possible to reduce the house odd to a mere 0.58%.
Bust Percentages for the Dealer
Although the odds favor the house, dealers are also susceptible to a certain bust percentage, which is what you’re hoping for when your hand isn’t looking very pretty but you want to take your chances. This can be estimated from the value of the up card. The dealer’s up card is either going to be good or bad for the player.
As a player, you obviously don’t want to see the dealer get an Ace or Ten, as that could give them blackjack. You want to see the dealer get dealt low cards, more specifically 2-6. Why you ask? Because they are much more likely to bust (go over 21).
For example, if the dealer’s up card is a 2, he has a bust percentage of 35.30%, although ideally you want the dealer’s up card to be either a 5 or 6, because their bust out percentage in these situations is around 42%, which means that players that apply the basic strategies will have a much higher winning chance of winning, because they’ve played their hand correctly. On average, the dealer has a bust rate percentage of around 28%. Like mentioned above, the lower the dealer’s up card is, the better it is for the player’s chances of winning. Using this logic and taking this one step further, a 7 is more likely to bust out than an Ace or Ten.
All of these odds and percentages being discussed on this page as they relate to Blackjack might seem a bit complicated at first, but at its core, it’s a simple game to learn, and the decision-making during the game will become second nature to you with experience under your belt and confidence in your play.