What Is the House Edge in Blackjack?
Published on Wednesday, September 21st, 2022, Updated on Wednesday, September 21st, 2022
In the article, we are going to introduce the house edge in blackjack, the game that provides the best winning chances compared with others. And even so, the house has a profit from gambling, which is known as a “house edge“. It is calculated as an average rate and mentioned by casinos on their websites or by reputable industry online resources.
In the market, the average value frequently varies. Casinos are free to set any reasonable percentage in order to compete with each other. Furthermore, a player can have an impact. If he succeeds, using his efficient strategy, he can increase the winning probability. And, on the contrary, he can increase the profitability of a house by making mistakes.
Thus, a lot of factors affect the actual profit of the casino. But to choose a gambling website and a variation of the title, you should consider general guidance and the officially calculated average house edge.
Do you want to know more about the house edge in blackjack? Continue reading!
Blackjack House Edge Explained
It is clear that the casino wants to earn as much as possible. But somehow, the edge in blackjack is one of the lowest in the industry. Commonly, it varies from 1% to 2%, while other games come with 10% or more. Let’s figure out the reason.
But, first, we’d like to ensure that you understand the meaning of this value. The house edge is a mathematical variable that estimates the average profit that the casino earns from gambling for thousands of hours under particular conditions. It is expressed as a percentage. The average wager is reduced by the percentage of the house edge. For instance, the bet is equal to $100. It means that if a player wins, he is expected to pay 1% of his deposit to the casino ($100 x 1% = $1). This calculation is true for long-term playing.
Once again, this value can differ from one casino to another, from one title to another, and from one session to another. The range may be much wider than the officially specified average one. Let’s say it can range from 0.5% to 4%. That is why it is important to investigate the market offer and look through the terms of several reputable houses to find the most favorable options. Also, you should get experience, develop an efficient strategy to be successful, and, as a result, enjoy the lowest house edge.
What is Mean Long Term, When We Talk about Blackjack House Edge
Now, we are going to try to understand the “long-term” condition. What does it mean? Why is the house edge calculated on the ground of the outcomes, accumulated during thousands of game hours? The answer is rooted in a branch of mathematics known as probability theory.
For instance, the casino takes an average of 1% in blackjack. It does not mean that every player will pay 1% of his wager to the casino after every session he has been involved in. Keep calm: you will not lose $1 of your $100 bet when playing the game for a couple of hours or even during the whole day.
The house edge value is an average calculated on the basis of the long-term result. “Long-term” means thousands of hours of play. This approach is explained by the law of large numbers. This is a probability theory law that shows the outcome of an experiment that was repeated many times. The outcome is calculated as an average value.
Just imagine. A lot of players play for thousands of hours. Some of them lose, others win. One person hits the jackpot, another wins a lot, and yet another wins a little. All the outcomes are analyzed and the average value is calculated. Also, you should take into account that the casino’s advantage is related to the overall wager of all players gambling during those thousands of hours instead of the initial bankroll of one player.
How Does the House Edge Work in Blackjack?
The above value proves the stable average outcome of some random events from a long-term perspective. It is true only if a large number of cases are considered. The outcomes, which they get for a short period of time, cannot be predicted because a random number generator is used.
There is a range of scenarios for a short period of time. You can win a huge prize on the first try and leave the casino, and that will be your luck! Another scenario is when you win and continue playing with a view to increasing your winnings. You can fail to do it, losing a part of your initial prize. Or you can be so lucky to achieve your goals. Everything is possible during, let’s say, 10 hours. Here, the law of small numbers works. Such small samples cannot be considered as a stable average of the outcomes that will happen over the long term.
In order to get the outcome expressed in the value of the house edge, you should play a million times without pausing. But this is not possible. Even a professional can hardly boast of such lasting, accumulative experience. It means that not all players pay for the house.
The indicator is referred to as a “qualifying one,” as it meets the specified requirements. It is conditional and matters only when you compare various casinos or titles. We should not forget that this conditional value still proves the rule that casinos make their profit every single moment. The question is, who gets the short straw? And remember, the longer you play, the higher your chances are of paying the house edge.
This trend is not only about blackjack. It is true for any other title. And still, the house edge in blackjack is the lowest when compared with other games. What is the reason? The point is that an advanced game requires particular skills and knowledge, and that means fewer players can win. So, the casinos try to encourage them with a low house edge. However, you should remember gambling addiction.
What Determines the House Edge?
The statistics are used to set the particular house edge. The data bulk is gathered, analyzed, and the average value is calculated. As we have mentioned, an enormous number of repetitive games are investigated to determine the house edge.
For all that, you can affect the result if you use an efficient strategy. If you are not experienced, be prepared to pay more. You can add about 0.5% to the average value, only because you have no well-thought-out strategy.
Also, if you play a natural, compare the offers of various casinos. Some of them pay a winner 3:2, while the others pay 6:5. Do you understand? The former means that if you bet $10, your prize will be $15. The latter means that if you bet $10, you’ll win $12.
Other rules do matter too. For instance,
- Whether can you double after a split or on any first two cards?
- How many hands you can re-split to?
- Whether you are allowed to re-split aces? And, if you are allowed, whether you can hit on re-split aces?
You should find out the surrender rule and the details of what happens when a dealer gets a blackjack.
Every detail matters.
Why Does the Casino Have an Edge in Blackjack?
Well, you should remember that the casino always wins in the long run. And this is fair enough, as the house provides players with the necessary resources to enjoy the game, and these services should be paid for. In addition, like any entrepreneur, the casino earns an income from wagers.
There are various tools to compete with the casinos and reduce their income. They have some levers of influence as well. These opportunities attract players and make them excited and thrilled with the game. The variety of options and complicity of the title makes the players prefer it to simpler ones like slots. The gamblers can split pairs, double down, and apply other options to win and to affect the house edge, getting it down to 1% or even lower.
What else might be helpful? Let’s consider the strategies.
Tips and Strategies that Help You to Manage and Reduce the House Edge
Blackjack, like nothing else in gambling, provides chances for both players and the dealer to compete. We should state a fact: the house has the edge much more often than a player hits a jackpot in blackjack. But, still, you can reduce the house edge using proper blackjack strategies.
There are basic and advanced ones, or you can develop your own unique strategy. In this article, we’ll discuss a few of them to provide our readers with useful tips and increase their winning chances.
Do Your Research and Learn Blackjack Basic Strategy
We speak only about legal ways to increase winning chances and prizes when playing blackjack. First, you should press your efforts towards research. Continue by thoroughly learning the blackjack basic strategy. Finally, you are expected to look through the terms of various casinos and find the lowest house edge (0.5% is available).
There is a simple and, at the same time, quite complicated strategy known as card counting. You should have a ready memory to track the cards as the dealer lays them on the table. You should make calculations in your head following every appearance of every card and make the right choices based on this information. You definitely need to practice and/or have a strong aptitude for mathematics.
Use a Blackjack Chart
There is a blackjack chart, also known as a blackjack decision matrix, which will help you win. It offers the best possible actions in a variety of situations. You can hit, stand, double, split, and surrender. The chart seems complicated, but in fact, it includes a lot of information that is arranged in such a way that you can benefit from it. Just take the effort to understand the matrix and use it to correctly decide for every hand.
Find Out How Many Decks of Cards There Are: If More, a Higher House Edge
The more decks are used, the higher the house edge the casino takes, provided that the rules are the same. For instance, playing eight decks increases the casino’s income by about 0.5%. How does it work? First, let’s remember that blackjack requires the player and dealer to start with a two-card hand. The part that has the higher total points wins, provided that the number does not exceed 21. If someone has a total of 22 or higher, he loses at once.
There is a single-deck blackjack game. The player gets the first card, and it is an ace. Wow! That is good. He can calculate the probability of his win. The deck consists of 51 cards. He needs a card with a value equal to 10 to get a blackjack. There are 16 cards with such a value in the deck. It is easy to calculate the probability of winning right now. The number of cards with the value required to get blackjack should be divided by the whole amount of the deck. The result is 31, 37% (16/51= 0. 3137).
There is an eight-deck blackjack game. The player gets the first card, and it is an ace. Wow again! He can calculate the probability of his win. The deck consists of 415 cards. He needs a card with a value equal to 10 to get a blackjack. There are 128 cards with such a value in the deck. It is easy to calculate the probability of winning right now. The number of cards with the value required to get blackjack should be divided by the whole amount of the deck. The result is 30, 84% (128/415 = 0. 3084).
If the winning chances are lower, the house edge is bigger. Actually, for the above-mentioned example, the difference is 0.25%.
Check a Dealer Soft 17
You should know that the situation when a dealer hits a soft 17 will result in a bigger house edge.
In accordance with the rules of blackjack, the dealer is expected to hit a total of 16 or fewer. But, some tables add to the standard rules and allow the dealer to hit soft 17. It means that the dealer’s hand includes an ace, and the dealer can choose how to count it (as 1 or 11). Thus, he can increase his score up to 21, if he is lucky.
So, there are two actions of the dealer. He can stand on all 17’s or hit soft 17. The latter may result in a dealer’s bust. But, if he does not bust, the player will have to pay a bigger house hedge (+0.2%).
Improve House Edge by Doubling After a Split
The player can be allowed to double after a split in blackjack. It means that when he splits (when he plays each of the cards of the same number in his hand like two different hands), he can double the bet before the dealer gives another card. Thus, you can get more money, be sure of your win, and increase your prize in this way.
This option is not available in all casinos. But, if you find it, you’ll be able to decrease the house edge by about 0.15%. And if you have more freedom in terms of doubling, the outcome can be even better. In order to benefit from this option, you should understand and use the basic strategy. As usual, the more ways you have to act, the better the outcome you can expect.
Splitting aces, you get two hands. In this case, each hand includes an ace, which increases the chances of a blackjack.
That is why most casinos allow splitting with restrictions. They can provide you with a single attempt, for instance. But, there are casinos where you can do it multiple times.
Check the Surrender Rules
Do not forget about the benefits of surrendering. This is an optional rule in the game. You can give up half the wager when you know your first two cards and the dealer’s card and understand that you have a less than 50% winning chance.
There are two types: “early surrender” and “late surrender.” The former is used before a dealer checks for blackjack. Use it if a dealer has an ace and you are not satisfied with your hand. The latter is used after a dealer has checked for blackjack. Not all casinos allow this option.
Learn About the Split Aces
If you get aces as your first cards, you can split the hand into two. However, you should make sure that the casino allows you to draw to each new hand as many times as you want because some casinos only allow you to get one card on each. The split aces can reduce the edge by 0.06%.
As in any other game, the house edge in blackjack works against you. You should take measures to minimize its impact if you want to gain as much as possible. Here, you will need skills and a good memory. Still, blackjack is not highly challenging, and everybody can navigate a situation.
We hope that the above recommendations will help you succeed and beat the house. Even if luck is still important in this game, you can impact the outcome. Enjoy the process, which can result in huge winnings.
Why does the casino always win on a natural blackjack and not let me draw?
There are rules that state that if a dealer has a blackjack, he wins immediately. The player is not allowed to draw. You should simply accept it as the established rule. And vice versa, the dealer is not allowed to draw if a player has a natural blackjack.
In order to avoid disappointment, learn the rules of the casino and find out what their house edge is before starting to play. There are options that are not available at every casino, but they can be beneficial for a player. The house edge will show whether the prize is high enough compared with other casinos.
How often does the house win in blackjack?
The casino always wins, meaning that they earn their profit, determined by a house edge. But, the profit margin can be different. Even though blackjack is known for the lowest house edges in the industry (probably, video poker can be even more beneficial). It can be 0.5%. The more common value is up to 2%.
How does the house have the edge in blackjack?
The casino has the house edge from the dealer, who has a hidden card that the player is not aware of. You should know the rules of the game and the basic strategy to understand how the house has an edge in blackjack.
Is it possible to beat the house in blackjack?
It is possible. The player must be skilled and involved in order to win. Choose a reputable casino, learn the strategy, and use our tips to reduce the house’s advantage.
How is blackjack house edge calculated?
The house edge is expressed in a percentage and applied to the wager. It is calculated by the casino analysts on the basis of repeated outcomes of the game sessions, played by various players of the casino over thousands of hours. If an edge is 1%, it does not mean that you personally pay 1% of your wager to a casino. This is one of the facts about the house edge in blackjack you should know.