Learn to Lower the Blackjack House Advantage


Blackjack has a long history of being one of the world’s most popular casino games, and shows no sign of abating in the future. While the simplicity of the game lends something to its universal popularity, the main reason for the magnetic appeal of blackjack through the ages is its extremely low blackjack house advantage. In a world of casino games with shockingly high house edges, blackjack is a game in which players who employ even the most nominal blackjack strategy can remove a great deal of the house edge.

Learn to Lower the Blackjack House Advantage

Before you set your sights on becoming a blackjack high roller, you need to know a few basic facts about the standard blackjack house advantage in most casinos. Of course, it all depends on how you play, but we will go into that a bit later. If you were to simply sit down at a blackjack table and play mindlessly, the blackjack house advantage would be a little over 5%. Obviously, this is significantly higher than you would like it to be (although comparable to roulette). The good news is that you can easily decrease the blackjack house advantage by adhering to a few simple strategies and choosing a casino with beneficial blackjack rules.

The big things that you are going to want to know before you start to play blackjack are how many decks are in use and whether the dealer stands on a soft 17. Most online and brick and mortar casinos will use a standard six decks. But remember, most does not mean all and you may be able to find a single or double deck game among the free online casinos out there if you look around for a while. As a basic rule the lower the number of decks in use, the lower the blackjack house advantage. It will also be easier for you to count cards if there are fewer decks in use at one time. You also need to review the house rules about soft and hard 17s before you sit down at a table. (Quick reminder about the blackjack rules- a soft 17 is made up of an Ace and a 6.) Don’t sit down at any blackjack table if you learn that the dealer is required to hit on a soft 17. With this single rule a casino can up their blackjack house advantage by 0.3%. Every little bit counts when it comes to blackjack.

The last, and most controversial, way to lower the blackjack house advantage is to count cards. Blackjack counting systems rely on numerical values assigned to each card that the player tracks in his head. This tactic has been proven to work under laboratory conditions, but very few people have the on the spot math skills to really put it into practice. Most people memorize some basic rules like when to split, hit, or stand and do just fine. The numbers really show a difference between pure luck play and even basic strategy. Remember that the automatic blackjack house advantage is a little over 5% if you play solely based on luck. If you can manage to play with good strategy most of the time (even making a few mistakes) you can get that house edge down to 1-2%. You won’t find a game with better odds anywhere on the casino floor. Blackjack is truly the only game wherein a little bit of practice and prudence can really pay out.

- Staff