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A House Edge of Less than 1%
Not every casino game allows for a player's skill to be a factor. While luck games like Roulette may lend themselves to various betting strategies, these are not what one would call gameplay tactics in the same vein as Blackjack.
For unskilled players, the house edge at Blackjack is around 8%. But by employing what is known as basic strategy, a player is able to reduce the house edge in the game of Blackjack down to under 1%. This obviously can have a profound effect on any player's win rate, so to improve your own chance to win online Blackjack it's important to understand basic strategy and online Blackjack odds.
Improve Your Chance to Win Online Blackjack
It's an unavoidable fact that Blackjack, like all casino games, was designed to make money for the casino over the long term. Yet any successful casino table game has to give the player a good chance to win, and as discussed Blackjack offers a better chance than many.
So let's look at what goes into creating that 8% edge for the house, as well as what can be done about it!
Key Factors in House Edge
One of the biggest advantages the Blackjack dealer has is also one of the simplest: the players always go first. This means that any player who busts is beaten automatically, without the dealer so much as drawing a card.
That's a huge advantage in this game, where this is expected to happen a little over a quarter of the time. Luckily, some of the online Blackjack odds are tilted a little more in favor of the player.
Player Advantages to Balance the Online Blackjack Odds
To help balance out the significant advantage of always going last, Blackjack gives the player a few edges of their own, such as:
- Choices and options
As a player, any decision on whether to hit or stand is yours alone, and you're able to react to things like the dealer's upcard in order to better evaluate your chances of winning or busting. The dealer, by contrast, is prescribed as to when to hit and stand in every set of circumstances (often including hitting on a soft 17, which in many cases may not be the correct play).
- Double Downs, Splits and Surrenders
The double down and split pair options let the player try to maximize the winning potential in certain situations where it is advantageous to do so. These options are never available to the dealer. Likewise, the surrender option (which is available at certain tables), which conversely allows the player to minimize their loss in certain situations, is a player advantage the dealer never has.
- Extra value paid out on Blackjack
When you are dealt 21 in two cards (also known as Blackjack) you will usually be paid at 3:2 rather than 1:1, unless the dealer has also been dealt Blackjack.
Online Blackjack Odds of Busting on an Extra Card
Perhaps the most informative set of online Blackjack odds you can have access to is the probability of busting when drawing a single additional card.
Let's start with the highest score you can have in two cards – 21, or Blackjack – where your probability of busting with an extra card is 100%. We'll work our way down to a score of 11 or under, where your probability of busting with an extra card is 0%.
- Score of 21: 100% chance to bust
- Score of 20: 92% chance to bust
- Score of 19: 85% chance to bust
- Score of 18: 77% chance to bust
- Score of 17: 69% chance to bust
- Score of 16: 62% chance to bust
- Score of 15: 58% chance to bust
- Score of 14: 56% chance to bust
- Score of 13: 39% chance to bust
- Score of 12: 31% chance to bust
- Score of 11 or under: 0% chance to bust
This at-a-glance guide shows how much riskier it is drawing cards with a higher score. While it may seem very obvious that the higher the score, the greater the chance to bust, where this information can be really useful is when you use it in tandem with the following information.
Online Blackjack Odds of the Dealer Busting
In Blackjack you're always able to see the dealer's upcard, and so can make some estimations as to their own chances of busting. If you see the dealer is already in a difficult position thanks to their upcard, you can shift the burden of probability over to them instead of yourself.
Here is the dealer's probability of busting, depending on their upcard (not assuming a single extra card, and assuming the dealer will hit on a soft 17):
- Upcard of 10: 23% chance to bust
- Upcard of 9: 23% chance to bust
- Upcard of 8: 24% chance to bust
- Upcard of 7: 26% chance to bust
- Upcard of 6: 42% chance to bust
- Upcard of 5: 42% chance to bust
- Upcard of 4: 40% chance to bust
- Upcard of 3: 37% chance to bust
- Upcard of 2: 35% chance to bust
- Upcard of Ace: 17% chance to bust
To illustrate how one might use the information above to improve your chance to win online Blackjack, consider a hand where you have been dealt 12, and the dealer is showing a 5.
We can see that hitting on a 12 gives you a 31% chance to bust immediately, but the dealer has a 42% chance to bust! In this instance, it's probably wiser to stand and pass up your own opportunity to go bust, and instead put that pressure right back on the dealer.
As with any gambling game, it's always a good idea to get a handle on the odds of various outcomes and how to use that information to your advantage.
With a little practice, you can flatten out that house edge and give yourself the best possible chance to win online Blackjack!