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Blackjack Casino Odds Explained

One of the best places to get decent odds on the casino floor is on the blackjack table.

If you follow a simple and basic odds chart the game of blackjack will give almost even odds, with only an edge of half a percent going to the house. Without a basic odds chart to follow the house edge can grow to as much as 8%.

Basic blackjack odds charts tell you what the correct play should be for every situation that you might find yourself in during a hand. The ideal situation is to hit a two-card total of 21. That will occur on average 4.8% of the time, and hitting it not only wins you your bet but it will pay you between 2 to 1 and 6 to 5 on your bet, depending on the rules of the blackjack game you’re playing at the time.

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30% of the time you will be dealt a hand that totals between 17 and 20. These hands are considered hard stand hands because the chances of busting if you take another card are better than 70%. So standing on these hands will be the correct play regardless of what the dealer may be showing. Another 26.5% of the time you will be dealt a hand of 11 or less, requiring another card to have a chance at winning.

Often (38.7%) you will be dealt a hand that will require a decision on your part as to whether or not to take another card to improve. Any two-card total between 12 and 16 will require that you either draw another card, or stand pat with what you’ve been dealt. The decision you make depends on the card that the dealer has turned up.

Odds charts for blackjack differ depending on the game that you’re playing. The first thing to do is to determine the rules of the blackjack variant you’re in and then to find the correct odds chart for that game. The rest is as simple as following the chart and choosing the right time to stop playing if you’re up against the game or have lost your limit.

There are many strategies for playing blackjack but only basic strategy will offer the player the best odds. Many players will employ a “never bust” strategy that will have them hold on a hard twelve or higher. This strategy may seem safe but in actuality playing this way will increase the house edge from half a percent up to 3.91%.

Other failed strategies include mimicking the dealer and assuming a 10 or higher is the dealer’s hole card. When mimicking the dealer the player will never hit on 17 or more, including soft 17. Like the dealer the player will not split pairs either. This bad blackjack odds strategy will raise the house edge over you to 5.84%. Assuming a 10 is the dealer’s hole card is an even worse strategy to employ. Playing this way makes more decisions wrong and gives the house a huge 10.03% edge.

Counting cards is a way to beat the game of blackjack, and even in games with numerous decks cards can be counted to the point that players can beat the game by adjusting basic strategy play and betting higher amounts when more tens and face cards are left in the shoe. Most live casinos will not allow players to count cards and have experienced pit bosses hired to recognize the activity and shut them down.

Counting cards online is a futile exercise. After every hand played the deck is shuffled again in online blackjack games, making it impossible for players to count the cards in play to get an idea of which cards are left in the shoe. Try as one might, the reshuffle element makes basic strategy the best way to win some cash when playing blackjack online.

The game of blackjack is probably the one casino game with the most rule variations depending on where you’re playing. Casinos reserve the right to have house rules in blackjack games, and some of them can change the odds heavily in the house’s favor. The number of decks in the shoe alone will have an effect on how big the house edge is against you.

For example if the house rule is that the dealer wins tie hands the house will increase their edge by a huge 9%. If the house rule is that players can only double down on cards worth 10 or 11 the house gains an additional 0.26%, and if the dealer is allowed to hit on soft 17 the house edge increases by 0.2%. It is worth the time to look at the charts and get an idea of how much house edge you may be giving away to house rules.