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What is The House Edge in Blackjack Games

Like all other games on the casino floor, blackjack gives the house an edge over players, ensuring the casino registers steady profits in the long term.

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Like all other games on the casino floor, blackjack gives the house an edge over players, ensuring the casino registers steady profits in the long term. This casino edge is expressed in the form of a percentage that shows you the amount the house will collect from players' wagers in the long run. If a given casino game comes with an edge of 2.70%, for example, the house will collect $0.027 per every dollar wagered on that table. Blackjack gives the house a very low advantage over players, especially if they use basic strategy.

The House Edge in Blackjack

One aspect that distinguishes blackjack from other casino games is that its house edge is not a constant but changes as cards are dealt out from the deck or shoe. Depending on the deck/shoe composition, the cards favor the house in certain instances or the player in others. When the deck/shoe is depleted from high cards, the advantage turns in favor of the house. When the remaining high cards outnumber the small ones, it is the player who has an advantage over the house.

The house extracts its edge mainly due to the fact the player is always forced to act on their hand before the dealer. If the player busts, his or her chips are collected from the table before the dealer has even acted on their hand.

The house edge in blackjack is also closely linked to the rules at a particular table as rule variations can decrease or increase the advantage of the casino. Some of these rule variations include the number of decks in play, the dealer standing rules, the payout for blackjack, and the restrictions on splitting pairs or doubling down.

As was mentioned in this article about blackjack house edge, the more decks are introduced into the game, the higher the house edge becomes because you will get fewer blackjacks and doubling down opportunities in multiple-deck games. Some casinos would offer tables where the blackjack payouts are reduced from 3 to 2 to 6 to 5, which also increases their long-term advantage because the player receives less money in the rarer occasions when they hit a blackjack.

It is important for players to check the standing rules for the dealer before they join a given blackjack table. It is recommended to avoid tables where the dealer must hit soft 17s because this gives them a chance to outdraw you and boosts the house edge with 0.22%. Players are in a much more favorable situation when the dealer is obliged to stand on all 17s, soft or hard.

Basic Strategy Decreases the House Edge

Unlike the vast majority of casino games, blackjack gives players the opportunity to increase their long-term profits by playing out their hands in accordance with basic strategy, which shows them the optimal playing decisions for all possible hands. Players who rely solely on intuition are up against a house edge of around 2%. The use of basic strategy at the blackjack table reduces this percentage to 0.50%.

A basic strategy chart consists of all possible two-card totals players can get against all possible dealer upcards, but there is a specific sequence of operations to follow. When surrender is allowed, you can forfeit your hand only on starting totals of two cards. Because of this, the first thing to consider when dealt a hand is whether you should surrender it or not. According to basic strategy, you should always surrender 16 against dealer upcards 9s through aces and 15 when the dealer is showing a ten-value card.

Splitting gives you the lucrative opportunity to double your profits when the dealer is at a disadvantage with weak upcards like 4, 5 or 6. This makes splitting the second most important decision after the surrender option. Note that basic strategy requires you to always split pairs of 8s and aces no matter what upcard the dealer is exposing.

If you cannot split your hand, the next thing to consider is whether to double down or not. This way, you can earn twice as much when in a favorable situation. Doubling down is a must on totals of 11 unless the dealer's upcard is an ace in which case you hit.

If any of the moves from above are impossible to make on a given hand, you proceed by deciding whether you must hit or stand on your hand in accordance with what the strategy chart tells you. The bottom line is you do not stand any chance of becoming a successful blackjack player without memorizing basic strategy and following it to a tee.

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