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What Is the House Edge in Blackjack?

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.

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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.

What Are the Odds of You Winning in Blackjack?

Generally speaking, when talking about the different casino games, we can say that the house edge can go up to 29%-30%. But don’t worry if you are not too familiar with what house edge is. We will explain everything in detail. If a particular casino game has an advantage over players of 20%, this means that mathematically players will get back 80% of all their wagers in the long run. This might sound a bit stressful and harsh, but you should know that the situation is very different regarding Blackjack.

What makes Blackjack unique is that the game has many different versions, but at its core, the house edge doesn’t change that much because there aren’t too many changes that the game of Blackjack can implement successfully. That said, you can expect the house edge when playing Blackjack to be roughly around 2%. This means you will return approximately 98% of your wagers in the long run. Looking at that objectively, this should come as fantastic news for most players that want to enjoy a fun gambling experience.

But we also have good news for the players who want to engage in Blackjack gambling solely to realize some winnings. If players apply a proper strategy, they can reduce the house edge even as down as 0.2%. This might not seem significant, but if you can return 99.5% percent of your wagers in the long run, you can quickly get into a groove and register a fantastic winning streak.

In that case, you can cash out on your winnings, making your strategy and approach a massive success. But as we briefly covered, for this to happen, you need to understand better how house edge work, especially when it comes to Blackjack. 

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.

Working of House Edge in Blackjack

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,

  1. Whether can you double after a split or on any first two cards?
  2. How many hands you can re-split to?
  3. 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.

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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).

Count Cards

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.

Example:

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.

Example:

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%.

Split Aces

16 Things You Need to Know About Blackjack House Edge

To get to the level where you can take the fruits of your work and make your strategy a success, you will need to understand every little detail about the house edge that the casino has over you at the Blackjack table. 

After going through the following 16 crucial things, you will learn about Blackjack house edge, you can consider yourself an expert, and after some actual practice, you can begin your adventure at the Blackjack table. That said, let’s get right into it.

  • What Exactly Is House Edge in Blackjack?

We already touched upon this, but basically, the house edge in Blackjack shows what amount of your total wagers you will get back in the long run. As we mentioned, if a particular Blackjack game has an edge of 2%, you will get back 98% of your bets as long as we are talking about an extensive period.

You can’t possibly expect to return around the same number if you have been playing only a few hands. You can either get much more significant returns or not be so lucky and end up with a few wager amounts in the red. This leads us to the next crucial point about house edge we have to mention.

  • Can We Measure the House Edge Over A Few Hands?

You might get exact numbers for what you can get on average from a particular Blackjack game, but they mean nothing when it comes to only a few hands. It’s incredibly challenging to calculate the house edge over an extensive period, but this is impossible for a few Blackjack hands or even a whole daily session. That’s because the results of casino games like these fluctuate significantly. 

That’s evident if you apply a particular strategy, for example. You might be playing the same way a few days in a row but end up with entirely different results in terms of winnings. This is because there is something called variance, which is something you can’t escape as a wagering enthusiast.

But it would be best to consider this variance as your ally because you wouldn’t be able to realize any winnings without it. After all, how could this be possible if you are getting only 98% of your invested funds, even after only a few hands?

  • Comparing The Blackjack Edge to the Edge in Other Casino Games

You should already know that Blackjack is one of the most user-friendly games regarding the house edge over players. But some of you may be wondering how it compares to some of the other most popular casino games. As you have already learned, the average house edge across the different Blackjack types is around 2%.

If you have been playing Baccarat, you will enjoy a house edge of only about 1.2%. The situation with the thrilling Roulette is different, though – 2.8% for the game with one zero, and more than 5% if the Roulette table has two zeros. On the other hand, slot machines are an entirely different beast.

You can find slots with a house edge as low as 1%, while games with a house edge are also available that can go as high as 10%. Video Poker is the same story. There are tables with a house edge as low as 0.5%, while you can also come across Video Poker tables with a house edge of around 10%.

This is why it’s crucial to be careful about the versions of a casino game you play and use proper strategies to get that advantage to the absolute minimum. 

  • Blackjack House Edge When Using a Simple Strategy

We stressed a lot about how you can influence your win rate and the house edge on the Blackjack table when using a strategy. However, your impact also depends on the type of strategy for a particular Blackjack table. For example, if you use a simple strategy, you can’t expect excellent results unless you don’t get into a prolonged winning streak, but this is not as likely.

But you should know that the basic Blackjack strategy includes understanding the game’s core values and how to exploit certain spots. In other words, if you make the correct decisions like stand if your hand strength is over 17, split the cards if you have two 8s, or hit if your hand is very weak, you can say that you are already implementing basic Blackjack strategy.

Still, as this is not too advanced, you can expect to reduce the house edge just a little bit. If the edge of the particular Blackjack table you play is 2%, you can maybe decrease it as low as 1.5% or even 1.25% in some cases. This is very good, but the real opportunity presents itself when you are using a more advanced Blackjack strategy.  

  • Blackjack House Edge with an Advanced Strategy

By using an advanced Blackjack strategy, you can skyrocket your win rate and leave the Blackjack tables with significant winnings much more often. However, this is not as easy as it sounds. Implementing a simple strategy is an excellent way to reduce the house edge, and it’s elementary. But doing the same with an advanced system is a much more challenging task. An advanced strategy can be considered an extensive game plan that you can follow in almost every situation.

On top of that, you should have information about specific situations where you can slightly break that plan to adjust to a particular hand. An example of a strategy like this will be counting cards and implementing different adjustments when necessary. But knowing the information and the process is not quite enough. You should understand it so well, so you don’t make even a single mistake. 

With these game plans, even the slightest confusion can lead to the fall of the strategy. This is the most significant downside of the advanced Blackjack strategy, which is why there aren’t so many players keen on gaining that considerable edge. But is it worth it to go to such lengths?

Well, if you successfully implement an advanced Blackjack strategy, you can expect to decrease the house edge to as low as 0.2% sometimes. This means you will get over 99% of your total amount invested, which is an incredible payout. As we mentioned, that way, you are much more likely to get into a winning streak and close particular sessions with fantastic results.

  • How To Possibly Get the Edge in Blackjack?

Some players might not be keen on implementing different strategies to gain an edge over casinos. However, we have bad news for enthusiasts like these. Unfortunately, implementing even a basic strategy is the only way you can get the edge. And this is not only Blackjack but also in every other casino game.

It would be best if you understood that taking a basic strategy into action doesn’t require that much effort but will drastically increase your chances of success. As a matter of fact, as players that don’t want to invest that much time and effort, getting into a basic Blackjack strategy is one of the best options you can choose. 

  • Is House Edge Fixed for Every Blackjack Situation?

If you have been paying close attention up until now, you should already understand that the Blackjack house edge is fixed, but for long periods. As the house edge in Blackjack can’t possibly be calculated for shorter periods, we can confidently confirm that the house edge is not fixed for every hand you play on the Blackjack table.

The high variance of games is the sole responsible factor for this. As we already once mentioned, if the house edge in Blackjack was fixed for every situation, you were going to take back, let’s say, 98% of your wagers after every hand, which is impossible, considering the game rules. 

  • More Decks Equal More House Edge

Previously in the article, we pointed out that the Roulette with two zeros has a significantly higher house edge over players. The situation is the same with Blackjack when there are more than one decks in play. The reason is simple. When there are more decks, the chances of you getting a better hand are worse. 

After all, there are many more number cards in the decks, which bring you fewer points. And by increasing the decks, the casinos automatically increase the number of worse hands you can get. All this results in a much more significant house edge. 

That’s why you should never choose a Blackjack table that has more than one deck in play. Even if you use the proper strategy, you won’t be able to get great results. And on top of that, it will be much more challenging. 

  • You Get the Edge If You Double Down After Splitting

Splitting in Blackjack can sometimes be a bit of a controversial topic. That’s because there are no two identical situations when you enjoy the game.

However, after extensive research, we can say that it’s more beneficial to double down after splitting your cards, especially if they are 8s, 9s, or 10s. 

This can increase the edge you get on the particular hand by 0.2% or even better, which is significant.

  •  Using The Option to Surrender Lowers the House Edge

There are some speculations that surrendering from a particular Blackjack hand decreases the house edge of the casino. In practice, this is true because you have the option to forfeit your hand, getting back half of your original stake.

It will always be profitable to get the worst hands out of the way in the long run because you can rarely realize a win with them. The problem with this is that not many Blackjack tables offer the “Surrender” option. 

And the ones that do have a higher house edge because of other factors. That’s why you should also be very aware of that when choosing a Blackjack table for your gambling experience.

  •  Lower Payout of Blackjack Means Significantly Higher House Edge

Playing on a Blackjack table that offers a lower payout when you draw a “Blackjack” is one of the worst things you can do. Generally, in the majority of Blackjack games, getting exactly to 21 points pays out 1:1. 

In other words, you will double your stake. But some games will pay out around 95% on top of your stake. This might not seem significant, but the truth is that “Blackjack” is one of the most crucial and frequent outcomes you can come across in this game. 

And when the casino starts to pay out less than double your stake, in this case, the house edge goes through the roof and can increase a few percent, which now makes sense why there are tables like these.

  •  Blackjack With Ante Has Much More Edge in Favor of the House

Similar to the reasons we mentioned in the previous points, every single part of the bets and payouts you have, in particular, has a significant impact on your winnings in the long run. Some Blackjack tables require an ante on every hand you play. 

At first sight, this ante is not something significant as it’s either $0.50 or $1, but if you play with lower bets, like $10, you lose 10% of that every single hand before even playing. 

This is why your potential winnings will take a significant hit, as the ante will turn even a proper strategy into a losing one. We recommend never to play at a Blackjack table with an ante, and if you do, it better be to have some fun.

  •  The House Edge In Video Blackjack Is Higher Than On Live Tables

It should be common sense that every video casino game has a much more significant house edge than the live versions of the same games. That’s because when casinos have a video game, they can control the outcome much easier.

Or rather, we should make sure that they won’t make any mistakes across the whole length of the rounds. While if you are playing live Blackjack, many different factors get into play. For example, the dealer can make a mistake, which will give you an edge in the particular edge.

There might be unnecessary slowed hands, allowing players to make better decisions and many other factors like that. As a result, while the average house edge of live Blackjack is around 2%, the one at the video Blackjack tables can go well over 3%. 

  •  You Can Still Lose in the Short Run Even If You Are a Profitable Blackjack Player

You should already understand that the variance has the last word about whether you will leave the table with winnings or significant losses. 

As we stressed out a few times in the article, your winnings are not guaranteed even if you are playing a perfect advanced strategy.

In the long run, it’s a different story as you will always bear fruits from the proper approach, but when it comes to the results of a few hands, you can’t have any expectations. 

  •  Online Blackjack Games Could Have the Lowest House Edge

The video Blackjack tables can provide players with the worst house edge they can take advantage of. The general online Blackjack games can prove to have the lowest house edge that players can ever exploit.

Why is that? Well, there are quite a few different factors that impact the house edge one way or another. 

And some Blackjack tables have been created explicitly, so players have the best chance of realizing some profits. That’s why when you go online, you can find Blackjack tables with a house edge of even less than 1.5%. 

These tables include the best features and flexibility you can use to the fullest. So the only thing left for you is to dive deep into these games and crush the games with proper strategy. 

  •  Only Video Poker Has Lower House Edge Than Blackjack

Some claim online that Video Poker is the only casino game with a lower house edge than Blackjack.

Generally, Video Poker is a game that can reach a shallow house edge, creating an excellent environment for players who want to win. However, this claim is not as accurate as you may think.

If we come across the Video Poker games with the lowest house edge, we can find individual options where the casino’s edge is only around 0.25%. This is incredible, and after reading this, you might think that the question is settled. But this is not the truth.

However, there are Blackjack games with a house edge of around 1%, or a bit less sometimes. 

If you take the Blackjack game with the lowest edge and apply a proper strategy, you get to a house edge even below this 0.25% that the Video Poker games provide.

In other words, if you maximize your options when it comes to playing Blackjack, you will get a laughable house edge that will rarely prevent you from making the bank gains you want. 

Conclusion

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.

FAQ

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.

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