The Blackjack Odds and the House Advantage

To fully get into the game of blackjack, you have to understand and if possible, master the blackjack odds and house advantages. It is very crucial to know how the casino gets their edge and how it helps them win. It's important to be aware of the blackjack odds like the odds of being dealt a blackjack or the odds of hitting a 10.

The house has an advantage in blackjack simply because the player has to draw first and if he busts, the player automatically losses regardless if the dealer subsequently busts in the same round. This is the casino's solitary advantage in blackjack and if everything were equal, the house edge in blackjack would be about 8 percent. The dealer and player each have a 28 percent probability of busting (therefore 28 multiplied by 28) or about 8 percent of the time both hands would bust and the dealer would win.

With the use of the right blackjack basic strategy, you will have the opportunity to turn the casino edge in blackjack from 7-8 percent down to just 0. 5 percent. If you can properly count cards, you can repeatedly alter the blackjack odds and gain the upper hand over the casino. Working the house odds to your favor is why most casinos don't let card counters play blackjack.

The House Edge and House Hold

The house edge is a theoretical number that cannot be calculated using practical experiences in the real world. It is the theoretical fraction of the overall amount of bet that the casinos would keep if every set of decisions were to fall exactly into a statistical row.

The real world equivalent of the house edge is known as the house hold, which is also the hold percentage. If the house edge holds steady with every event going to a statistical T, then the edge and the hold would be equivalent. It may seem to be a bit confusing. Unlike games like a slot machine where there is no variation, the hold is actually the real counterpart of the house edge. Slot machines are based on tallies instead of probabilities. With the odds on a blackjack table for instance, there is a little more variance used that has an effect on the amount of the house edge. The hold is different on the blackjack table. Out of the total cash dropped on the tables, the hold is what the casino keeps. Unlike the house edge, the hold is a real number and directly analogous to the house edge. The variance is caused by variables such as how long players continue to bet from original buy-ins and how large wagers are when compared to the bankrolls, etc.

But luckily for us, not all is equal when you play blackjack. Unlike the dealers, players have the advantage.

  • The player gets a 3 to 2 bonus payoff on a blackjack whereas the dealer only gets paid at 1 to 1 on a blackjack.
  • Players can double their wager in favorable situations like being dealt a two card 11. Whereas the dealer can not double down.
  • Players can also split pairs whereas dealers cannot.
  • Players can stand on say, 16, whereas a dealer must always hit a 16.

Players who use perfect basic strategy can reduce the blackjack odds. They are playing almost at even odds with the house. The fact of the matter is that the basic strategy is just one big long list of perfect tips, which will always be statistically better than any other decision you could make. By playing with a basic strategy over the long run, you'll always win a lot more than playing without a strategy.


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