Blackjack Odds: How to Leverage the House Edge to Your Advantage

Home » Blackjack Odds: How to Leverage the House Edge to Your Advantage

8.05.2020, 11:44

Technically, blackjack is a straightforward game. That said, as soon as you dig deeper than the basics, you’ll be dealing with terms like odds and different numerical probabilities. Without letting your intuition run the game, you should be prepared for all situations and make decisions based on your best blackjack odds

After reading this guide, you will know the basics of the house edge and whether you can do something about it. We’ll go over five effective methods, give you practical tips on how you can apply them, and explain how they can affect the results. These efforts will help you develop a general understanding of what odds are and what makes them important. 

What is the House Edge in Blackjack?

A lot of players are asking themselves: “What are the odds of winning blackjack?” and “How can I increase my odds of winning a blackjack hand?” These topics are essential to understand, especially for players who are just starting out. 

Casinos have a mathematical advantage, otherwise referred to as the house edge. The reason is that players make a bet depending on the dealer’s first card. For example, players hit a card and bust about 28% of the time. And, even though the dealer goes bust as well, we will lose in this scenario. This number varies on the game-by-game basis, but it’s an inevitable situation that we have to play along with.

Despite not being able to eliminate the edge, there are effective ways to create more favorable blackjack odds. Right from the start, the house has a serious edge, but with the right plan, you’ll get that number down.

The Importance of Blackjack Odds

The effects of particular moves on the odds of winning blackjack have long been a topic of discussion. Namely, a mathematics professor and blackjack researcher, Edward O. Thorp, published a paper on favorable situations in certain games. These discoveries, such as specifically calculating the blackjack odds chart, have contributed greatly to the game we know today. 

For example, it shows that the player’s probability to bust on an extra card starts from 0% (for the hard value of 11 or lower) and gradually increases – 31% (for 12), 39% (for 13) all the way to 92% (for 20). The importance of these values gets bigger when you consider how likely it is for the dealer to bust after the first card is revealed.

Many players make the mistake of predominantly fixating on their own hand, whereas the dealer’s odds are just as crucial. For example, it may seem that hitting on a hand value of 12 is what you should do. However, if the dealer also has a weak hand (i.e., a six), the advantage will be on their side, so it’s necessary to evaluate the probability of busting on both sides.

The odds of winning blackjack counting cards have a bad reputation, so it’s not always optimal to use a blackjack odds table. Instead, we have other methods to help you in the game.  

House Edge of Different Variations of the Game

When the rules are slightly altered from the baseline, it affects the house edge and, by extension, your potential profits. Some of them can affect the outcome positively, whereas other variants will put the house at a further advantage. 

The biggest variable in the game is how many decks are included. Generally, as you add another pack of cards, the casino benefits more. Casino blackjack odds are simple mathematics – the more cards are in the game, the lesser the chance of having a natural blackjack.

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Also, the fact of whether you can double down or split makes a big difference for both the establishment and the person. The rule of thumb is that more options to choose from signify that your position will be looking up.

Here is a quick rundown of alternatives that play a significant role in the outcomes:

Always consider these factors before entering the game. It goes without saying that you want to avoid the unfavorable variants – those that add to the casino’s edge. There are many other variations affecting the blackjack house odds, but these ones are the most common.

Composition-Dependent Strategy

Blackjack basic strategy odds are decent, but this approach has some drawbacks. It only considers the total size of your hand regardless of what it is made up of. For example, 12 can be made up of 7+5, 8+4, or 10+2, and your actions depend on which composition you have at the time. 

The composition-dependent strategy is a slight deviation, which works best in blackjack single deck odds since it makes the biggest impact on each hand.

16 Against a Dealer 10

You might be holding 16 made up of two cards (10+6 or 9+7), three cards (4+5+7), or even more, and it will make a difference on your blackjack casino odds and subsequent actions. Generally, 16 vs. 10 = Stand regardless of how many cards you have.

Exceptions for three cards:

  • 16 (6+6+4) vs 10 = Hit
  • 16 (7+6+3) vs 10 = Hit
  • 16 (8+6+2) vs 10 = Hit
  • 16 (9+6+A) vs 10 = Hit

Exceptions for four cards:

  • 16 (6+6+3+A) vs 10 = Hit
  • 16 (7+6+2+A) vs 10 = Hit
  • 16 (8+6+A+A) vs 10 = Hit
  • 16 (10+2+2+2) vs 10 = Hit

Since your hand contains smaller cards, there will be fewer of them in the pack. This slightly shifts the odds – rather than hit, you are advised to stand (but bear in mind those exceptions). Also, if you have 8+8, you should split (but remember about blackjack free bet odds)

12 Against a Dealer 4

Once again, you will receive different recommendations depending on what your 12 is made up of. If you have a ten-value card, you’re less likely to break with a hit. If you draw another card, you’re putting yourself at a slight advantage. 

Two cards:

  • 12 (10+2) vs 4 = Hit
  • 9+3, 8+4, or 7+5 vs 4 = Stand
  • 12 (6+6) = Split

15 Against a Dealer 10

When you have an 8+7 combination, go for the hitting option rather than surrendering. However, it’s not the case for 10+5 or 9+6, where surrendering will be a slightly better move. While it doesn’t give you any guarantees, there is a higher probability of saving more money down the line.

Exceptions for three cards:

  • 15 (5+5+5) vs 10 = Stand
  • 15 (6+5+4) vs 10 = Stand
  • 15 (6+6+3) vs 10 = Stand

Exceptions for fours cards:

  • 5 (A+4+5+5) vs 10 = Stand
  • 15 (A+3+5+6) vs 10 = Stand
  • 15 (A+2+6+6) vs 10 = Stand

Here’s a more comprehensive table of the actions you should take during the game:

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Casino Coupons 

Another option for increasing odds in blackjack over house edge match is playing coupons. For example, you can bet $10 along with a coupon of the same amount. You can get paid double or lose only $10 of your own money, which is a good deal in either case. 

We’ve already touched on the point that your odds of winning under normal circumstances are less than 50/50 considering the house edge. However, when you are paid double, you tip the scale and make the edge work in your favor.

There are also promo chips, which casinos hand out to encourage players to go back. One of the coupon types that is unique to blackjack are special bonuses that pay 2-1 on your first blackjack. Each casino has its own conditions to collect coupons and provide different instructions for using them. 

Casino Complimentary Items

Comps are offered by the establishments as a reward. It can be a dinner, a hotel room, or even airfare with the goal of inviting more gambling activity from players. Your comps vary depending on how the casino perceives your contribution. Some advice to score better:

  • Play games with good odds because sometimes it can reach up to 1.5% for certain games.
  • Make your first bet slightly bigger – the supervisor will take notice of it.
  • Play at a crowded blackjack table to slow down the pace.
  • Adjust your bet size at the right time.

What are the odds for the blackjack game after you apply complimentary benefits? Let’s get into the details of how it works. Suppose the house edge is at 0.5%, and your award for playing is estimated at 0.3%. Some casinos offer double points at specific times on certain days of the week, which increases your comp percentage up to 0.6. Thus, you’ll be playing with a 0.1% edge over the casino.

By combining this method with other ones, you might be able to create the blackjack best odds, at least to the extent they can be. 

Loss Rebate 

What are the odds in blackjack when you successfully negotiate your gambling losses with the casino? The term “loss rebate” was introduced after Don Johnson was in the news with his successful act of social engineering. This case was unusual even for high-rolling gamblers, so it may not apply to everyone. Still, it’s worth taking a look at.

Don Johnson negotiated the following terms:

  • Substantial loss rebate – 20% on losses over $500,000 per day
  • Liberal house edge of 0.263%
  • Large wager size of $100,000
  • $50,000 per day of show up money
  • Entourage at the table

These conditions gave him better blackjack odds than card counting, so he didn’t even bother with cheating. He simply rebated at the exact time when his advantage over the casino was wearing out. 

More often, casinos offer loss-based rebates, like 5% for $100,000 or 15% for $500,000. If the player loses big, then they cash out their rebate and move on to another place with a similar deal. If the player wins big, they take their winnings while they still have an advantage, which is what Don Johnson did. 

Hand Interaction

Are blackjack odds better with more players? It might be with this method. If you’re shy, this method might not be for you as it’s based on tight interaction with other players at the table. What would you do if the other player had a pair of 7s against a 3, but had no money? Should you take one of their 7s? Or should you fill in for the other player that doubled down?

Let’s take an example when a player should double down but, for some reason, hesitates to put down more money. In this case, a more well-informed player could front the wager on the hesitating player’s behalf, possibly taking advantage of a good hand.

In another scenario, your odds when playing blackjack could be better if you give part of a bad hand to another player. Granted, it should be a beginner if you expect another player to accept the proposal, like having them front some cash on a losing hand. However, you could get some backlash because of that move. The unofficial code of conduct states that you play against the house, and you shouldn’t set others up for failure. 

Conclusion

With so many tricks for gambling odds in blackjack, you can put this knowledge into practice. However, not every platform will be accommodating, and you may not be able to unleash your full potential.

If you want to play blackjack on the best terms, sign up for Bob Casino and choose from a variety of live dealer and flash table games. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional with blackjack machine odds, you will have a great experience playing on our platform. Make sure you behave rationally and level-headedly so that you will have the best chance of getting proper gains.

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Blackjack Odds: How to Leverage the House Edge to Your Advantage

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