How to Reduce the House Edge in Blackjack
Are you ready to start winning at blackjack? Understanding blackjack house edge is a start. This guide covers the basics of house edge and includes tips on how you can reduce it.
- House Edge: An Overview
- Blackjack House Edge: The Basics
- How to Reduce the Blackjack House Edge
- How to Calculate the Expected Losses
House Edge: An Overview
They don’t say the “house always wins” for nothing. The saying is rooted in the mathematical fact that any venue that provides casino gambling services will always have an advantage, i.e., an “edge” over the players, meaning it will always win in the long run.
The house edge is the value (represented in percentage points) that indicates how much of every wager you place goes to the house.
For example, online slot machines have, on average, a house edge that can range from 1% to 10%. So, if a game has a house edge of, say, 6%, it will, on average, claim 6% of every wager.
How to Calculate the House Edge
The house advantage for some games is fixed, while for others, it can change during the gameplay. If you’re playing casino games online, almost any game includes specifics about its house edge and payout rate.
The in-game settings menu is usually where you can find the game’s house edge and see how the house edge changes based on different bets without having to make any calculations yourself.
The easiest way to calculate the house edge, i.e., how much the casino/game will earn from each bet, is to check the house edge for each game. Then, evaluate your potential win based on C$100 worth of wagers.
For instance, if the game has a house edge of 3% or 5%, the house will deduct C$3 and C$5 for every C$100 you wager, respectively.
Blackjack House Edge: The Basics
Blackjack is as much a game of chance as it is a game of skill. You play against the dealer and strive to get a better hand to get closer to 21. At the average blackjack house edge casino, the house edge is around 2%, usually even lower.
However, the blackjack house edge will most likely vary based on your type of blackjack variant. Some blackjack variants have a higher house edge; others have a lower advantage.
It is important to note that the blackjack house edge casino dealer can, to an extent, lower or raise the house edge by removing certain cards. The table below graphically shows the average house edge when the dealer removes a specific card type.
Blackjack House Edge When Specific Cards Are Removed
|Card Value||House Edge|
How to Calculate Blackjack House Edge
It requires exceptional skill to calculate the blackjack house edge casino advantage. Many factors are in play – the number of decks or whether the player hits or stands can change the house’s advantage.
With practice and active play, you can eventually make rough estimates based on these factors. You can learn faster using an online house edge calculator to determine the house advantage per hand and wager.
There are several popular variants of online blackjack you will likely come across. Below is a list of some top blackjack games and their respective payout rates:
- Infinite Blackjack – 99.47% RTP (0.53% house edge)
- Lightning Blackjack – 99.56% RTP (0.44% house edge)
- Speed Blackjack – 99.29% RTP (0.71% house edge)
- Power Blackjack – 98.80% RTP (1.20% house edge)
- Free Bet Blackjack – 98.45% RTP (1.55% house edge)
How to Reduce the Blackjack House Edge
Because blackjack is a game that involves a good deal of skill, you can implement certain strategies that will improve your prospects of winning and reduce the blackjack house edge. Below we explain how you can lower the house edge with different bets.
To lower the house advantage when splitting pairs, you must first learn the basic rules of when to split and when not to split. For instance, as a general rule, you should never split fours, fives, and tens.
Splitting (the right) pairs can lower the house edge, but the difference is negligible. This action to reduce the house edge is most effective when you can split more than once (up to 4 times, which is rare) and can bring down the advantage by 0.05%.
Blackjack Double Down
Doubling down – placing another wager equal to your initial bet after the dealer hands you the two cards – indicates your confidence in a strong hand. One possibility of doubling down is when you split pairs, in which case the house advantage will drop approximately by 0.15%.
Single Deck Blackjack
Simply put, the more decks involved, the more disadvantageous a position the player is in. If you plan on playing online blackjack and you’re just starting out, choose a single-deck blackjack variant, as there is almost no house edge. On average, the house edge for single-deck blackjack is about 0.20%.
Better Not Make Insurance Bets
Insurance bets, particularly in multi-deck blackjack, will automatically raise the house advantage. Consequently, playing single-deck black is preferable if you already want to place insurance bets. The house advantage can range from 3% to just under 6% when placing an insurance side wager in single-deck blackjack.
Play Blackjack Online
While not an exact rule for reducing the blackjack house edge, playing online blackjack can go a long way in helping you understand how you can improve your hand and decrease the house’s advantage.
How to Calculate the Expected Losses
To calculate expected losses when playing at the best online casinos for blackjack, you must familiarize yourself with the game’s betting rules and strategies.
The term itself is somewhat misleading as it does not denote how much money you can expect to lose but rather the average loss based on your gambling style. You’d need to work on your instant calculations to approximately determine your ‘expected’ losses.
The good thing is you can do these estimates using online calculators, considering several variables you need to factor in to calculate the expected loss. The key variables include:
- Type of blackjack game you’re playing and its base house edge
- How many hours you spend playing on average
- Number of hands you play per hour
- How much money you wager per hand