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Blackjack probabilities and odds

Winning at blackjack relies on the player's skills and strategies, not on chance alone. To be a success at blackjack table, one should get thoroughly acquainted with one of the blackjack basics - blackjack probabilities and odds. It is important to understand how casinos gain their house edge in order to apply your basic strategy accordingly.

House and dealer's advantage

The house edge in blackjack usually makes about 7 to 8%. The advantage over players is gained due to the fact that the dealer plays after the other players have made their decisions. This means that other players can go bust due to the final decision of the dealer.

Nevertheless it is possible to reduce house edge significantly (sometimes even to 0.5%) by applying basic blackjack strategy. Experienced card-counters can also turn the odds in the game to their advantage and beat the house edge. That's why most casinos bar known card-counters from entry.

Odds charts

Blackjack probabilities depend on various factors such as casino rules variations, different rules at each table, the number of decks in play etc. The best way to understand blackjack probabilities and odds is to make a blackjack odds chart. Such charts based on different hand combinations may help players make decisions that will turn the odds to their advantage.

The following table shows the probabilities of a player going bust with one hit depending on the total value of the player's current hand:

Rules at different blackjack tables

The player's odds may change due to the rule variations at different blackjack tables. One of the tips for winning blackjack is to choose the right table for you.

  • 6 to 5 payout for "Blackjack". Usually the payout for "Blackjack" makes 3 to 2. 6 to 5 may seem advantageous, but in fact you only get $12 if your initial bet was $10.
  • Dealer's 'soft 17'. In some blackjack games the dealer is supposed to reach a total hand value of 17 (Ace included) called 'soft 17'. At different tables dealers have different options - either Hitting or Standing on 'soft 17' (H17 or S17). With a S17 rule, the house edge may be reduced significantly.
  • No Doubling after the Split. The player who has split his or her pair in initial hand may double the bet and draw another card for each hand. Some tables reject such option thus denying the player extra opportunity to make profit.