The card game blackjack is a gambling game of chance, typically played online or at land casinos. The game can appear deceptively simplistic to new players, but those who are experienced in it know the many intricacies and patterns of blackjack. Professional blackjack players are able to use the blackjack odds of winning to their advantage and utilise some complex mathematics to gain increased odds against the house. Read on to answer the question, what are the odds of winning blackjack?
The card game blackjack is a gambling game of chance, typically played online or at land casinos. The game can appear deceptively simplistic to new players, but those who are experienced in it know the many intricacies and patterns of blackjack. Professional blackjack players are able to use the blackjack odds of winning to their advantage and utilise some complex mathematics to gain increased odds against the house.
The goal of Blackjack
The goal of Blackjack is simply to reach 21 or the sum closest to 21 with your cards. You are given two cards to start out with and you can either keep those two cards as they are and “stand”, or ask for further cards and “hit”. If you hit and the card you receive launches the sum total of the value of your cards over 21, then you “bust” and lose the game. If you hit 21 with your first two cards, you have achieved blackjack and win the hand – unless the dealer also has blackjack! So, how do you increase your odds in blackjack? If you’re keen on basic blackjack strategy and you want to learn how to win at blackjack, read our blog!
Increasing the chances of winning
The complexities of blackjack become apparent when you try and develop specific winning strategies. Many players will simply take the game at face value as a game of chance, and let the outcome be the outcome. Professional players, however, will always use the odds and mathematics to their advantage, in an effort to increase their chances of winning the game over the house and reaping the rewards. Understanding some basic strategy blackjack to win, and how to get a better advantage over the house, can help you to make the most of your game.
Odds for various scenarios
Becoming a Blackjack master requires not only understanding the mathematical implications of blackjack odds for multiple scenarios that you may face when playing the game, but also understanding what steps to take once you understand those odds. There’s not always one correct basic strategy and even the most prepared players take losses. Still, understanding the odds and some complex strategies will give you an increased advantage over the house that will make Blackjack a lot more fun and a lot more lucrative for the right and savvy player.
Any player who wishes to master blackjack must first understand the inherent advantage the house has over the player. If the house didn’t have the advantage, there would be no reason for them to hold the game. This is simply because there would be no profit in it for them and they would lose all their money. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t win. By having the edge, the house will win in the long run and win over the majority of games. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be in that minority of games where the house loses. To give yourself the best chance, you need to be prepared, play blackjack smart and know when to stop playing.
In this article, we’ll go over the basics of the odds, and blackjack basic strategy that you can incorporate into your game to try and tip the advantage away from the house and towards your own hand. When you’re done reading this article you should be well on your way to understanding what it takes to master the game and just how a disadvantaged player can turn the tables and get even just the slightest upper hand over the house. We will examine the inherent advantages the house has over the player, how the player can turn those advantages around and get an increased advantage, and look at some examples of odds of blackjack and strategies that make up the core of the game.
The house egde in Blackjack
As we’ve already noted, a casino or online website wouldn’t be hosting a game of blackjack if it wasn’t readily apparent to them that they were going to make more money from it than they lose. This is an obvious fact. A casino isn’t a charity, it is a business and a form of entertainment.
While understanding and mastering odds and strategies will give you an increased advantage, players still have to realise the inherent advantage of the house at all times. Unless you are a mathematics savant who is able to learn the shady art of counting cards, you are likely never going to be able to totally dominate the casino. Still, by understanding these blackjack odds and strategies you will be able to increase your own chances of winning.
The house’s advantage comes from the fact that, in blackjack, the player is the one who is going to have the make the first decision in every scenario. That means that the player is the one who has to decide first whether they will hit and take another card or let their hand stand. If the player chooses to hit, that means that the player stands a chance of busting out. Thus, the player has a strong likelihood of losing the game before the house is even forced to make a single decision regarding their own hand.
While the house has the inherent advantage over the player, there are actually some ways in which the player has advantages over the house and even more ways that the player can both increase and utilise these advantages to maybe get a slight upper hand. Let’s examine these in the next section.
The player’s advantages in blackjack
By understanding the small and not always apparent advantages the player may have we can begin to see how we may turn the tables and attempt to get the upper hand, or at least increase our odds.
While the player has to make decisions earlier than the dealer, the player is freer in the choices they can make regarding their hand. No matter what the value of their hand is, the player gets to decide whether they want to hit or stand. Comparatively, the house is obliged to continually hit until they reach a value of 17. This means that the dealer is slightly more likely to go bust as they have less control over when they can stop hitting. This means that maximum patience and level-headedness on the player’s part is key. Still, there is always a risk that the player will stand and the house will get 21.
- The player can “double-down” on their hand – The player has the unique option to “double-down”, which means that they can double the amount they’ll win if they feel that they have the upper hand against the house with their cards. This opens up the potential for bigger wins if the player knows the right time to double down.
- The player has the opportunity to split pairs– The player has the unique ability over the house to split pairs. This means that the player has the ability to play two hands at once and potentially win on both. The dealer has no such ability.
- The player often has the option to surrender – Lastly, depending on house rules, players will often have the ability to surrender their hand and get back half of the money that has been wagered. While this means that you are going to be sacrificing half of your stake, it also means that you aren’t going to be losing your entire stake.
How to increase the chances of success
Now that we understand the basic advantages and disadvantages both the player and the house have over each other, as far as their position and abilities, let’s take a look at how understanding, and being well-versed in, blackjack odds can increase our advantage. Certainly, increasing the chances of success in the average game of blackjack is all about the player becoming acquainted with, and understanding, the mathematical complexities of the odds of winning.
- Knowing the odds can make all the difference – regardless of what cards you have been dealt, knowing the odds of winning is incredibly important for making your next move and increasing your chances of winning. Experienced professionals should always be aware of what odds they have to win and what odds they have to bust. Of course, this is going to require a good deal of memorisation and an understanding of some basic strategy.
- Avoid busting – as should be obvious to most players from the get-go, especially if they’ve spent some time with the game, the higher the value of your hand, the higher your chances of busting are if you choose to hit another card. The same goes for the dealer. If the dealer has 16, they are going to be required to hit and the chances of them busting are greater than the chances of them winning. This is an ideal situation for the player but it’s not always the case. If the player has 16, they are not required to hit. The player will have to really think about whether or not they want to hit, stand, or possibly surrender in this situation because if they hit they have a very high chance of busting.
- Knowing if the dealer has a strong likelihood of busting – let us consider that you have a low-value hand, say 13, and the dealer has an upcard of 6. You may feel that it is a good idea to hit, as 13 is nowhere near to 21; but that might not always be the case. If the dealer has a hand value of 6, that means that there is a strong likelihood that the dealer is going to be forced to hit twice and, therefore, the dealer is more likely to bust. If you let your hand of 13 stand in this situation then there’s a very strong chance that you will win the game based on the dealer busting from potentially having to hit twice.
- Focus on the dealer’s hand as much as your own – of course, in the above situation, if the dealer has an Ace in the hole, you’ve lost; but the odds of this happening are stacked against the dealer. For this reason, it is incredibly important to focus on the dealer’s hand as much as your own. Inexperienced players with a hand value of 13 may only pay attention to their own cards, see that they have a minimal chance of going bust if they hit and a strong chance of getting their hand value that much closer to 21. The odds of them going bust are far higher than the odds of the dealer having an Ace in the hole.
- Knowing when to stand – of course, in the above situation, if the dealer has an Ace in the hole, you’ve lost; but the odds of this happening are stacked against the dealer. For this reason, it is incredibly important to focus on the dealer’s hand as much as your own. Inexperienced players with a hand value of 13 may only pay attention to their own cards, see that they have a minimal chance of going bust if they hit and a strong chance of getting their hand value that much closer to 21. The odds of them going bust are far higher than the odds of the dealer having an Ace in the hole.
Just by understanding these basic concepts you will be well on your way to taking some odds back from the house. You still aren’t guaranteed a win and, in fact, the odds are still more often than not ever so slightly in the houses favour, but your blackjack odds can always be increased if you play your cards just right.