When you are planning to play blackjack for money, you will naturally have a vital interest in learning as much as you can about the game. One of the exciting things about blackjack is that it has a relatively low house edge compared to other casino table games (as low as .17 percent if you’re playing with a single deck of cards). This means that your odds of winning at blackjack are much higher than at baccarat, keno, poker, roulette or the like. And blackjack odds can be improved still further by experienced players who use solid strategy. If you enjoy a challenge, where your knowledge and skill make a difference, blackjack is a great game for you.
The House Advantage
Theoretically, the player and the dealer have 50-50, that is exactly equal, odds of winning. This excludes the possibility of a tie (“push”), which in blackjack simply means that the player’s bet is canceled and his money returned, therefore not affecting the odds at all. The house advantage is based on one basic fact – when it comes to drawing any additional cards over and above the 2 that are first dealt, the player goes first. If he busts (totals over 21 points), he loses. It doesn’t matter if the dealer also ends up busting in the very same round. The player is still considered the loser, and his wager reverts to the house.
The House Hold
The house hold is the percentage of wagers on any blackjack game that the house actually ends up taking – that is, the casino’s gross profit. While in theory it should be the same as the house edge, the hold is affected by several factors. A blackjack pays at 3:2 for a player, compared to only 1:1 for the dealer. Players are allowed to split pairs for an increased wager and double their bet on a favorable hand, unlike the dealer. The dealer is required to hit on a hand of 16, while the player can choose to stand.
Even the Odds
Over time, blackjack players have devised basic strategies to help you succeed at blackjack. If you memorize and conscientiously use these strategies, you can reduce the blackjack odds against you until you end up playing against the house at odds that are very close to 50-50. Playing at online casino sites, rather than land based venues, can also be helpful. First, the lack of pressure and outside distractions provides a better atmosphere in which to make use of your strategies. And second, the house edge in online casinos is generally lower, due to their decreased overhead expenses.