With so many variations on the market, it should come as no surprise that not every blackjack game is ideal for players. But how can players find the best pick? This article looks at the house edge and how to maximize player odds.
What is the house edge?
The house edge references the casino’s advantage over the player. When the house has an “edge,”it has a built-in “leg up” that makes it more likely to profit than anyone else. This should come as no surprise, of course, as the whole purpose of being a casino operator is to make money. The real question is how much of an edge the house sports and what players can do to even out the odds. Blackjack is often advantageous in this endeavor.
Basic blackjack edge
Traditional blackjack games offer a house edge of less than 0.50% when players utilize basic strategy. Players interested in improving their chances at winning over the house are in luck with blackjack, in other words, and the game is widely regarded as the game with the best house edge in the industry! Skilled blackjack players can almost eliminate the edge making the odds of a win over the operator much more likely than in any other casino game widely available.
However, blackjack is not a game with only one popular interpretation, with dozens of variations crowding the market. It is important to note that the odds can change dramatically from game to game. This can make maximizing the player edge somewhat confusing, so it is essential to understand what influences the odds and how to pick the most advantageous game possible.
What impacts the edge?
Several factors impact the house edge. Before engaging in a variation of blackjack rather than one using the traditional rules, keep a few basic rules in mind to estimate player edge. Before jumping in, remember to check out betting strategies from websites like Betting on Blackjack!
Number of decks
First, how many decks are in play? Blackjack can be played with anywhere from one to eight decks, with the most common number varying between one and two—the fewer decks in use, the better for players. A game with eight decks is about 0.25% worse for players than one with a single deck. That means that instead of almost even, or even slightly player-advantageous – odds, players in games with eight decks are already facing a house edge of 0.75%.
How does the variation handle a soft 17? Players should look for providers that stand on soft 17s rather than one who hits. If the dealer hits, players automatically lose about 0.20% of the edge.
The more often players can double down, the better for their odds. This, along with the number of decks in play, is one of the most significant rule changes that impact the house edge. Ideally, users will be able to double down at any point. In practice, some variations cap double downs to totals of 9, 10, or 11. In games where the players face double-down restrictions, the house edge grows by about 0.20%.