Blackjack Odds, Probability & House Edge Explained
Playing live blackjack is fun, but losing frequently after hitting to get blackjack and then going bust or the dealer always getting a 21 after hitting isn’t. Because playing blackjack can get frustrating when you don’t win, it’s important to learn how to reduce the house edge and improve a player’s odds to make a profit.
Learning how to play blackjack is the first step to making a profit from the game and the next one are to learn about the odds and house edge to gain an advantage. Additionally, understanding probability and how strategies alter blackjack house edge are necessary to maximize the payouts from more advanced plays.
Understand Blackjack House Edge
House edge is the percentage a casino will win over the long term in a blackjack game. The casino’s house edge on an inexperienced player is about 2%, this will go down depending on the player’s experience. This means that inexperienced players will lose $2 for every $100 they bet in blackjack. Of course, the losses can increase when the player constantly goes bust after hitting and they don’t know how to play their hands.
|Blackjack Variation||House Edge|
|Vegas Downtown Blackjack||0.39%|
|Vegas Strip Blackjack||0.48-0.72%|
The house edge stays at 2% when the blackjack player is inexperienced but it can change when playing against more experienced players, especially professional players, and card counters. However, a particular game’s house edge has no effect on the payout, which stays at either 3:2 or 6:5, depending on the game variation.
Payout vs House Edge
Both payout and house edge can depend on the specific blackjack game. The 2% house edge can go lower, even as low as 0.08%, depending on the specific game.
|Payout||Odds to Win||House Edge|
American Blackjack is one game where the blackjack payout can reach 6:5, depending on whether the casino offering the game offers the 3:2 payout or 6:5 payout version. Many Las Vegas casinos have already converted to 6:5 payout. European, Las Vegas Downtown, and Las Vegas Strip blackjack variations have a 3:2 payout.
Payouts and Odds on Blackjack Side Bets
Side bets are bonus bets placed on an outcome that isn’t reliant on whether the player or dealer wins. These bets have their own payouts and odds to win. Some examples of side bets are the following:
These side bets are only a few of a multitude of different bets offered by different casinos and gaming providers according to the blackjack variation available. Certain winning conditions must be met and the payout and odds to win will vary according to how difficult it is to produce the hand.
For perfect pair side bets, for example, a mixed pair is easier to produce as long as a hand is formed using two cards of the same rank, even if the suit is different like the 10 of spades and 10 of hearts. A colored pair of a Queen of diamonds and Queen of hearts or 3 of spades and 3 of clubs is harder to produce, which is why the payout is higher. The perfect pair that requires two cards of the same rank, suit, and symbol is the hardest combination to produce so it has the highest payout and highest odds to win.
The table below shows some side bets with their respective payouts and odds to win:
|Side Bets||Payouts||Odds to Win|
|Insurance||2:1||Varies on the number of decks|
|Three of a Kind||30:1||3.32%|
Different casinos and blackjack game variations might have different payouts and odds to win, so looking into them before playing or learning on the fly through controlled bets is ideal.
What Are the Odds of Winning Blackjack?
The odds of winning blackjack can vary from blackjack variation to variation and from bet to bet. The odds of winning can be as high as 42.22% to as low as 1.00% because the odds tend to fluctuate.
You can improve your odds of winning by practicing certain blackjack strategies. Not using strategies will result in your odds falling dramatically. The odds will fluctuate as the game goes on, and your odds can only improve or worsen based on how you play.
Dealer’s and Player’s Bust Probability
When talking about a player’s odds of winning, it’s also important to know the probability of going bust. Many people go bust while trying to get blackjack while failing to realize that they can also wait for the dealer to bust.
|Hand Value||Player Probability of Busting|
|11 and below||0%|
Players have the option to hit after being dealt their two cards and this can help them either get a blackjack or get as close to 21 as possible. This also has the risk of resulting in a bust, with hitting when your hand has a value of 11 having a zero probability of busting while hitting on 12 can be risky when you’re dealt a 10 or a face card.
As mentioned above, many people can bust after hitting and it might be a better idea to stand and wait for the dealer to bust.
|Hand Value||Probability of Busting (Stand on 17)|
The reason why the probability of busting on a 6 upcard is higher than a 7 is that dealers can end up with a 16 after revealing the second card which will require them to hit again. Hitting on a 16 has a high chance of resulting in a bust but because dealers can stand on a 17, the probability of busting is lower since drawing a 10 or face card can save them from a bust.
Learning both the player’s and dealer’s probability of busting can help improve your chances of winning. Of course, this can only be effective when knowing what exact game variation you’re playing and that game’s rules.
After knowing the probability of going bust, it’s important to know the probability of hitting a blackjack. The probability largely depends on the number of decks in play where a higher number of decks mean a higher advantage for the house.
When playing blackjack and aiming to get a blackjack, you should consider looking for tables with a small number of decks in play.
The Player’s Edge in Blackjack
The house edge, or the casino advantage over the player, is only 2% on the average player and this can either go up or go down depending on the player’s actions. Practicing basic strategy and counting cards can further reduce the house’s advantage and further improve the player’s edge over the casino.
Below are certain ways that you can improve your edge over the casino through basic strategy and card counting:
Mastering or at least memorizing basic strategy will allow you to know how to play all your possible hands. Counting cards also help further by allowing you to vary your bets depending on what cards are left in the shoe, effectively increasing potential profit when winning a round and reducing losses.
Blackjack Return-to-Player Percentage
RTP is another term for the player’s edge and is essentially the opposite of the house edge. The RTP or return-to-player percentage denotes the expected return the player gets after a hypothetical number of hands. Based on the common 2% house edge, the average return for every $100 wagered is $98, but this shouldn’t be treated as an absolute since the house edge can improve or go down depending on the player themselves.
Tips to Reduce Blackjack’s House Edge and Improve Your Odds
If you want to improve your edge and win at blackjack, you’ll need to follow several tips that include basic strategy and card counting. Without these, the house edge will either remain at the 2% it is for the average player or improve.
Choose Your Blackjack Version Wisely
Different blackjack game versions will have different house edges and RTP percentages. Not all blackjack tables and games are made the same but the basic blackjack rules will remain largely the same so playing the game shouldn’t be that different from what you’re already used to.
You should consider first checking out the different tables available in a casino’s games list. A 6:5 payout game of American Blackjack is ideal to maximize the player’s RTP percentage and even improve their odds.
Take advantage of 6D Casino Bonus
6D Game is an online casino in the Philippines with different bonuses for different casino games, including some that apply to live blackjack. Among these bonuses include the following:
Exploring 6D online casino bonuses and using them is important to improving your odds and reducing the house edge.
Using Blackjack Basic Strategy
Basic strategy is the foundation of all effective blackjack strategies and learning and mastering it is one of the first steps to learning how to win at blackjack. Blackjack players can learn basic strategy by memorizing a basic strategy chart and practicing it until they know it by heart.
Once you know how to use basic strategy, you can then try more advanced strategies to further improve your odds.
Learning how to count cards in blackjack can be the next step after mastering basic strategy. Card counting is an advanced strategy based on adjusting bets according to the true count. Players assign positive, negative, and zero values to the cards and count according to the value placed.
In card counting, low cards increase the count since they increase the percentage of high cards in the deck. The higher the percentage of high cards, the more likely it is to draw them which then makes it ideal to raise bets since the chances of you getting blackjack and the dealer going bust are higher.
Card counting is only effective when playing live blackjack, whether in a traditional casino or in a live casino.
In a loss rebate, the casino refunds a player a percentage of their losses after placing a certain number of bets. This is usually reserved for high rollers, so registering to be a VIP might be necessary to first take advantage of this. Basically, knowing when to quit and take the loss rebate can limit your losses, which is usually when the house finally has the edge over you.
Avoid the Insurance Bet
The insurance bet pays 2:1 and is offered to the player when the dealer’s upcard is an Ace. You’ll have to place half your initial bet for the insurance which effectively protects you if the dealer gets a 10. However, this cancels out your chances of getting paid out 3 to 2 when getting a blackjack and you’re essentially just refunded your wager.
Blackjack Odds FAQs
Blackjack is a great casino game to play to make a profit, but only if you know how to choose which table to play in and how to improve your odds. Studying probability, using casino bonuses, and learning basic strategies are key to winning in blackjack. To be able to take advantage of great bonuses and avoid getting scammed of your winnings, you must look for a reputable online casino in the Philippines. 6D is one such online casino where you can enjoy playing blackjack online. Sign up today to start playing blackjack with us.