Guide to Blackjack Odds & House Edge

Understanding how blackjack odds and also how the blackjack house edge works are key ingredients to a successful blackjack game.

In this comprehensive guide to blackjack odds and house edge, our team explores the concepts behind online blackjack odds and the house advantage. Once you learn how different variations of the game effect the odds, you can begin to maximize your chances of success.

Furthermore, we also discuss other key concepts like how the odds effect the house, how the dealer odds affect the outcome, return to player percentages, which online casinos offer the best blackjack games, and more.

Page Contents

Blackjack House Edge

You may sometimes hear it called the house advantage or the blackjack house edge, but it refers to the same thing. Basically, the house edge is the amount of profit a casino makes over the course of time from a game.

Even though the vast majority of casino-type games are stacked against the player over the long run, the blackjack house edge is one of the few exceptions.

Some games have bigger house advantages than others, based on the rules and built-in odds. Moreover, the good news about the online blackjack house edge is that it’s one of the lowest among most casino games. That’s part of the reason why it’s so popular.

How is Blackjack House Edge Calculated?

House edge is always measured as a percentage and is the inverse of the player’s payback percentage. For instance, if a specific game yielded a percentage of 100% exactly, you could expect to break even playing it over the long haul. Which would therefore, make the house advantage zero. Although, there are very few real money casino or online casino games that come in at a payback percentage of 100% or better.

Furthermore, if you want to calculate the house edge all you have to do is subtract the actual percentage of payback from 100. For example, imagine a game that is listed with a 98% payback percentage. The house edge would thus be 100 minus 98, which is 2%. You can also think of it this way—the lower the online blackjack house advantage, the better it is for the player.

What Affects Online Blackjack Edge

Here are some of the rule variations that have an affect on the blackjack edge. You should also consider all of these factors when determining which online blackjack games have the best odds:

  • Blackjack payback: You should be looking for the standard payback of 3:2 whenever you are dealt a two-card 21. If you play a game where the payback is 6:5 or lower, consequently, the house edge rises.
  • Dealer “soft 17” rules: Ideally, you’ll play an online blackjack game where a dealer has to stand on a “soft 17.” This is a 17 with an ace where the ace is valued at 11 instead of one. In games where the dealer can still value the ace as one in these situations and hit, the house edge rises.
  • Decks used: The more decks that are used in online blackjack, hence the worse it is for the player. That’s because it will make blackjack a little bit harder to get.
  • Split and double rules: Ideally, you would be able to make these plays in any situation as often as you want. Although, some online blackjack games restrict how many times and which cards can be used. Also, the more restrictions in a game, the worse it is for the player.
  • Surrender: Novice players might not realize it, but being able to surrender your blackjack hand after a disadvantageous deal to lessen losses is an excellent tip. Comparatively, if you can’t surrender, it works against you as a player and raises the online blackjack house advantage.

Online vs. Offline Blackjack Odds

For the most part, rules affect the odds for online and offline blackjack more anything else. The big difference in the two is created by the fact that card counting, which can give an expert player an advantage, is therefore extremely difficult in online blackjack.

Card counting only works when a lot of cards are out of play. But computer dealers reshuffle decks after every hand in online blackjack. Hence, that keeps all the cards in the decks constantly in play and eliminates any house edge reduction from card counting.

You might be able to find some online blackjack games using live dealers. Unfortunately, even these games feature more frequent shuffling than you would find in a casino. As a result, the card counting edge you might gain is pretty much minimal to nonexistent.

How Odds Affect House Edge in Blackjack

The odds and the house edge in blackjack go hand in hand. In fact, one of the things real money blackjack is well-known for is its low house edge.

Generally, if you understand your odds of busting, and how different factors like the dealer’s odds, RTP%, and how different variations of blackjack effect the house edge, and then couple that with an online blackjack strategy, you’re going to increase your number of successful blackjack hands.

Dealer’s Odds Table

The dealer’s odds table below shows what the probability of the dealer busting is, based on the dealers cards. But remember, the odds can change depending on the variation of blackjack you play.

Ace

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

17%

35%

37%

40%

42%

42%

26%

24%

23%

23%

Player’s Odds Table

The following players odds table, shows the probability of the player busting, based on the players existing cards. Furthermore, understanding the probability can help you maximize your payouts.

>11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

0%

31%

39%

56%

58%

62%

69%

77%

85%

92%

Return to Player in Blackjack

The return to player, also known as RTP % is the percentage of the return on wagers from a game. So, to calculate the RTP in blackjack, subtract the house edge of the blackjack variation from 100.

For instance:

If you are playing Single Deck Blackjack, the house edge is 0.13%. So, to figure the RTP%, you simply subtract the house edge from 100.

100 – 0.13% House Edge = 99.87% RTP

Therefore, the RTP% on Single Deck Blackjack is 99.87%.

Blackjack Variations — House Edge vs. RTP

House edge and RTP vary in games of blackjack vary depending on the game variation. Accordingly, let’s take a look at how these commonly played variants compare.

Variant House Edge (%) RTP%

Single Deck Blackjack

0.13

99.87

Atlantic City Blackjack

0.36

99.64

High Stakes Blackjack

0.42

99.58

Vegas Strip Blackjack

0.35

99.65

Vegas Downtown Blackjack

0.39

99.60


Single Deck Blackjack

Single Deck Blackjack, also known as Classic Blackjack, has one deck and has the highest RTP% of any blackjack variation. The house edge is .13% and the RTP% is 99.87. Furthermore, single deck blackjack requires the dealer to hit anytime they have 16 or less.

Single Deck Blackjack rules:

  • The dealer hits on soft 17

  • Players can split up to 3 pairs per hand

  • The dealer doesn’t get a hole card


Atlantic City Blackjack

Atlantic City Blackjack originated in, you guessed it – Atlantic City. This variation of blackjack uses up to eight decks with rules regulated by the New Jersey Gaming Authority.

But, no matter where you play it, the rules are always the same:

  • The dealer stands on a soft 17

  • Players can double down on any two cards

  • Players can split when they receive two identical cards

  • Insurance and late surrender are available


High Stakes Blackjack

People with heft bankrolls generally favor High Stakes Blackjack is generally. Since, hands typically start with a minimum bet of $50, spending time playing this variation, can add up to big gains – or big losses, depending on how things play out.

For example, these rules keep the house edge under 35%:

  • The dealer stands on soft 17

  • 10, J, Q, & K can be split up to three times by the player

  • Late surrender is available

  • Players can double down on any two cards


Vegas Strip Blackjack

Vegas Strip Blackjack follows whole card rules and uses four decks of cards. However, there are a couple distinct differences in this blackjack variation. First, when the dealer has a 10 and an Ace face up, they peak to see if the next card is a blackjack. Second, players can’t surrender.

The Vegas Strip Blackjack rules are as follows:

  • The dealer stands on soft 17

  • Aces can only be split one time

  • Players can double down on any two cards

  • Players can double down after splitting


Vegas Downtown Blackjack

Vegas Downtown Blackjack variation originated in the casinos of the downtown Vegas area. Games use two decks, and have a higher house edge than most other variants.

Here’s a brief overview of Vegas Downtown Blackjack:

  • The dealer hits on soft 17

  • Players can double down after splitting

  • Pairs can be split up to three times by the player


Play Blackjack Online

Now you know about blackjack odds, find your favorite variation at one of these three top online casinos.

  • Bovada Logo
    Bovada

    Bovada features eight blackjack titles and more than 30 live dealer blackjack tables.

    Blackjack at Bovada
  • BetUS Casino Logo
    BetUS

    BetUS has more than 15 blackjack titles and weekly blackjack tournaments.

    BetUS Blackjack Games

FAQs About Online Blackjack Odds

  • It isn’t so much the online casinos you choose that affects the online blackjack odds. Instead, it’s more important which rules they use.

    You might find certain online gambling sites with different variations even within the single site. The bottom line is knowing which rules work in your favor and yield the best online blackjack house edge.

  • It would be better to choose a standard game and play it well, than to play a variation with confusing rules.

    If you’re a bit confused about the game you’re playing, that will lead to bad decisions. And those bad decisions will likely eliminate any edge you might have gained from the favorable payback.

  • Not nearly as much. If you’re only going to be a part-time online blackjack player, luck will be more of a factor in your results than any mathematical house edge.

    Once you start playing on a regular basis, you should be trying to keep the house edge as low as possible. Over the long term, your results will be determined by the mathematical characteristics of the game once the luck evens out.