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One of the integral components of becoming a successful online blackjack player is familiarizing yourself with blackjack odds and how they relate to your percentage chance of winning for any given game. Blackjack, like every other casino game operates with what is known as a "house advantage" that enables the casinos to turn a profit. Simply put the house advantage percentage stipulates what the house expects to win over time from the player. The house advantage is the sole reason that casinos are in business and this is what guarantees that they will make money over the long run from their clients. While the effects of the advantage can be highly variable in the short run (ex. you might win or lose in one session) over millions of hands and millions of customers, the house advantage will get closer to the casinos expected win rate for the particular game. To start this section, we are going to take a look at the house advantage and how it relates to the game of blackjack as well as taking a look at different rule variations associated with blackjack games to see how they impact both the player and house odds.
House Advantage In Blackjack
In a standard blackjack game where a player is using optimal basic strategy in their playing style, the house edge is approximately 2.5% over a large number of hands and wagers. What this means in application is that say for example you are betting $100 per hands at an average of 60 hands per hour and you play for a 2 hour session. Your total wagers for this particular session will be $12,000 worth of bets, from which the house would expect to make approximately $300 given the aforementioned criteria above. Again it is important to note that the effects of this will vary significantly in the short run, however over time this is approximately what the house would expect to win from a player at this level. It is also very important to note that the house edge is highly volatile and there are many external factors that cause the advantage to deviate both in a positive and negative direction for the player. This would include things such as rule variations (discussed below) as well as factors such as the other players at the tables. If all players were using basic strategy in their game, the house edge would remain relatively constant however this is not generally a likely scenario at a full blackjack table so other players can hinder these figures depending on their playing style. In certain situations it is possible to adjust the house advantage to a positive expectation for the player, which is explained in detail in our card counting section.
Rule Variations & House Advantage
As was mentioned previously, one of the biggest determining factors for changes to house advantage are the rules associated with the given blackjack game. As will be seen below, each adjustment to a rule in a game of blackjack can have a significant impact on the relation to the expected win rate for both the player and the house. Because of this, it is important to learn how rules can change things for both the player and house so you know which games to play and which games to avoid when you visit the casino. All of the percentage statistics below are sourced from the Wizard of Odds website which is regarded around the world as the best resource for gambling statistics. The chart starts out showing rule changes that have positive expectations for players and works downwards citing rules that incur negative expectations thus increase the house advantage.
As you can see from the complex chart above, the rule variations associated with a game of blackjack can have a huge impact of the expected win rates for both the house and player. The best strategy for selecting a blackjack game is to never play any that incorporate more than one or any of the major negative expectation rules for players. By avoiding those games with bad rules for the player, you will greatly increase your odds of winning while playing at the tables.
Eliminating House Advantage
The only real way that a blackjack player can completely eliminate the house advantage and make the expected win rate completely in the player's favour is by using card counting, ace tracking or some method whereby they can gain significant enough information about the table to have some idea of what cards will be coming out next. Our section on card counting explains this strategy in detail and how it is used to beat the casinos at blackjack games. The system involves using your mind and a basic counting system to predict optimal betting times at the tables and is highly effective assuming that a) you are good at it and b) you don't get caught (it's legal, but the casinos hate it). Overall, we hope you enjoyed our blackjack odds section and that it improves your game and win rate at the casinos. Check back often for more updates and strategies on how to win at blackjack both on and offline.
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