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Blackjack Odds: How to Increase Your Chances of Winning

One of the best things about blackjack is its low house edge and multiple player advantages. In this guide, we will provide you with tips on how to improve your blackjack odds and illustrate what factors influence the house edge. Every little bit counts; removing just a fraction of the house edge percentage will make you a more profitable blackjack player.


The House Advantage in Blackjack

The house advantage, or house edge, is the percent of a player’s initial bet that the casino will expect to make in the long run. Flip it around, and it is the amount you would expect to lose. The house has an advantage in every single game – that is how casinos make their money – but not all games are created equal.

Fortunately, blackjack has one of the lowest house edges of any casino game. If we assume a standard game in which is a 6-deck shoe is used, dealer stands on soft 17, the player may double on any first two cards, the player may split up to four times, and the player may double after splitting, the house edge with basic strategy is only 0.4062%. Here, we are assuming the deck is shuffled after every hand.

Thus, over an infinite number of hands, the house will win just 4 cents for every £10 you initially bet. This doesn’t mean that you will never have a winning session, nor does it mean that you won’t have a terrible session sometimes. Anything can happen in the short run. The probabilities are for giant, long-term samples.

When it comes to blackjack’s house edge, one thing to keep in mind is that the number of decks used will alter the house advantage. Single deck blackjack has the lowest casino edge of 0.16%, which gives the player better odds. Double deck games have a considerably low edge at 0.46%. Most land-based resorts and reputable online casinos use six to eight decks for blackjack.

There are dozens of rules variations at different casinos, all of which also change the blackjack house edge. The table below lists just a few that you might see and how they affect the edge. Positive values increase the house edge in blackjack, while negative values decrease the house edge.

Blackjack Rule VariationEffect on House Edge
Natural pays 6 to 5+1.3597%
Dealer hits on soft 17+0.2125%
Double down on 9-11 only+0.0961%
Eight decks+0.0266%
Four decks-0.0532%
Late surrender allowed-0.0726%

To figure out the new house edge with a different blackjack rule, simply take the baseline blackjack house edge and then add or subtract the percentage above. There are loads more rules variants – the above are just a few common ones.

For example, if you find a blackjack table that pays 6 to 5 on a blackjack (a “natural”), run away. The house edge in that game, assuming all other rules are equal, is 0.4062% plus +1.3597% for a whopping 1.7659%. The change in house edge alone is more than three times the original blackjack house edge.

A rule of thumb is anything that pays you less, gives the dealer more flexibility in actions, or gives you less flexibility in your actions increases the house edge.

The Player’s Advantages in Blackjack

Though the house always has the advantage in blackjack, that edge exists entirely because you, the player, must act first. You can bust before the dealer does anything with his hand, so even if the dealer were to also bust, you already lost. The player has an advantage, however, in the decisions you are allowed to make.

You can boost your winnings by doubling down if the situation is in your favor. You also automatically get paid more on a blackjack (3 to 2 in most cases), whereas you don’t have to pay any extra if the dealer makes blackjack. Conversely, you can reduce your losses if strategically optimal by taking insurance when available or by surrendering a weak hand.

The dealer also has no flexibility in his actions. The dealer must hit in certain situations and stand in others. You, on the other hand, can reduce the house edge by hitting, standing, or splitting pairs whenever you would like. Every rule favors the player except for the one dictating he or she has to act first.


The Importance of Blackjack Odds

Unless you want to become a professional gambler, we aren’t going to sit here and tell you that you need to memorize every probability. At least understanding blackjack odds is important, however, if you want to be able to make the best decisions at the table every time.

Blackjack is one of the few casino games in which you have a reasonable chance to win in any given session if you have the proper skill. Understanding blackjack odds and how they work gives you the best chance at winning. Take a look at the following table that shows your hand value and the chances of busting with one more card:

Probability to Bust on An Extra Card

Hand ValueProbability to Bust
11 or less0%

12 seems pretty safe, right? Safer than the other totals, but the next card will still bust you almost one-third of the time. And check out the jump from 13 to 14. You’re already living on the edge at that point. It’s obvious that with any holdings equal to 12 or more that you’re at risk, but you need to know how much you are at risk. Let’s check out the next table:

The Dealer’s Probability to Bust

Dealer’s CardProbability when standing on soft 17Probability when hitting on soft 17

As we’ve discussed, the blackjack house edge comes from the dealer acting last. You are going to bust fairly frequently no matter what you do but understanding the dealer’s bust probability combined with your own bust probability can improve your chances of winning at blackjack.

How to Reduce Blackjack’s House Edge and Improve Your Odds

The blackjack house edge is determined by the rules of the game. We showed you some tidbits earlier to help you find the best games to reduce that house edge. But the Vegas Slots Online team have a few other pointers to decrease the house edge even further and get the most out of your gameplay. For this, we are assuming that you already know about the benefits of winning with basic strategy and at least have access to a blackjack strategy chart. If you don’t, we recommend you check out our in-depth blackjack strategy guide.

Put Your Odds Knowledge to the Test at Our #1 Blackjack Casino

One of the great things about playing blackjack online is that you can play for a wide range of stakes and you can play at your own pace. Using proper blackjack strategy to reduce the house edge is no problem online. When you are ready to test your skills and have some fun, join our #1 blackjack casino site below:

Blackjack Odds FAQ