The House Edge in Blackjack

Every game of luck has a house edge, which means that the odds are in the casino's favour, no matter how you play or the strategy you employ. However, every game has a different level and some games can have a significantly lower house edge, which makes them more attractive to players. One of those games is blackjack, the age-old card game that has a house edge on the lower side when compared with other games at the casino.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the blackjack house edge, what it is, and what that means for players of the game.

How to Play Blackjack

First and foremost, it is important to know exactly how to play blackjack so that the house edge is reflected in the play. So what are the basic rules of the game of blackjack and how do the odds and probabilities stack up?

At the start of the game, the dealer will present players with two cards. The aim is to achieve a hand of 21, which is known as blackjack. If the player doesn’t have an Ace and a 10, the game continues and they will have to choose whether to stick with their current hand or ask the dealer to hit them with a new card.

The dealer will also draw a card for themselves after every hit for a player. They will do this until they reach at least 17. From then on, the player will aim to achieve a number as close to 21 as possible and make sure it is higher than the dealer’s hand in order to win. If they draw a card that takes them over 21, they will go bust and lose the game.

What is the House Edge in Blackjack?

When it comes to the blackjack house edge, there are a number of different variables that can have an effect on the actual figure. In general, the standard figure is reported often as around the 2% mark. It’s important to keep in mind that, while this can be seen as the typical benchmark, each specific game and even the casino you choose, or whether you play in a brick-and-mortar venue or online live casino, will have its own house edge.

The figure is also dependent on how you play. For example, there are separate wagers that players can make in blackjack. That means that there are different blackjack side bets house edge figures. For example, a Perfect Pairs side bet pays out if the player is dealt two cards of the same values. Depending on whether the cards are of the same suit, colour, or different suits and colours, the house edge can vary from 2% to 11%. This adds extra volatility to the game.

Blackjack House Edge Strategy hands

While there are no ways to guarantee a win when playing any game of chance, there are strategies that can be employed to keep the house from having an overwhelming advantage. As mentioned, the basic blackjack strategy house edge usually sits at around 2%. Still, an inexperienced player who goes in without any consideration for a game plan can see that increase quickly.

When it comes to blackjack, the best strategy is to be aware of the probability of your hand going bust. For example, with a hand of 12, the likelihood of a player busting on the next card is around 31%, so it’s safe enough for them to continue. However, if they have 20, there’s a 92% chance of going bust if they choose to hit. Similar can be done for the dealer’s cards to influence a decision; combining these will help keep the house edge lower.

How Do You Beat the House Edge in Blackjack?

It is not possible to entirely clear the blackjack house edge as is the case with any other casino game. At the end of the day, these games are designed in a way that the player cannot be guaranteed a win. If it was possible to beat the house edge outright, no one would ever lose at the casino.

Instead, the best way to ensure that a session of blackjack doesn’t get out of control is to set yourself a bankroll and make sure you have a full grasp of the rules of the game and all of its permutations. In the case of blackjack, that might mean knowing the odds of a bust and keeping an eye on which cards are still in the deck.

Can Players Reduce The House Edge in Blackjack?

While it’s impossible to wipe the house edge out, it is possible for you to have an effect on it. If you take riskier moves and call for a hit on fine-margin high numbers, you’re playing into the casino’s hands and upping their probability of winning. If, instead, you play with a more measured approach in which you are cautious on a hard 17 but a little more flexible on a soft 17, you will be able to bring it down a little to be more in your favour.

What are the Odds of Winning in Blackjack?

When it comes to a game of blackjack, three outcomes are possible when the game ends. Either you or the dealer wins, or the game ends in a tie. This means that there are different odds for each of them, and ultimately this is where the house edge comes into play.

In a standard game of blackjack, there is around a 42% chance of the player winning. The draw sits at around 8% and the house winning is something at the 49% mark. This shows that the odds do in fact favour the house ever so slightly but the possibility of a tie makes sure that it doesn’t sit too heavily on the side of the casino.

While we can say that there is generally a 42% chance of a player winning, that doesn’t mean that you will win exactly that percentage of games. Instead, this data is extrapolated over a significant number of games and it’s important to remember that a win can never be guaranteed in a game of blackjack.

Take Time to Think | | 18+

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