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What to Know About the House Edge in Blackjack?

Last modified: October 1, 2019

Is your blackjack percentage of winning low and you’re wondering why? Let us enlighten you a bit. You must have heard about the blackjack house edge. Well, if you haven’t, the house edge (HE) is a statistical way of determining the advantage the casino has over a player. Understanding the way it works makes it easier for players to find their way around it and have better chances of winning.

In a game, the house edge can be 5%. This percentage means that the player should expect to lose an average of 5% of the bet amount on every single bet he or she place. Also if you bet £100 on a game with a 5% HE you should expect to lose £5 to the casino. Consider this example, you have £100 and you place 60 bets every hour on a game with a 5% HE. This will means that you will lose £300 to the casino in one hour in the long run. Quite a considerable amount of money to lose, right? However, understanding how house edge works can help you lose less money. Now that you know more about the concept, let’s take a look at how it affects blackjack.

House edge in Blackjack is lower than other casino games

Blackjack odds are much lower than other games. Most often, the house edge in blackjack in most casinos is 0.5%. So, imagine with such a small house edge, you’d only be losing a couple of pence if you wager £100. However, this sounds quite unbelievable, and one might even wonder why casinos would still offer to play at blackjack.

As it turns out, the house edge in this type of casino game can fluctuate depending on your level of skill. Some players are so weak in blackjack that they give away another 1.5% HE to the casino. Therefore, the HE against such players can get up to 2% or thereabout.

Remember the previous question; why does the casino still offer blackjack since they have so little house edge in the game? Well, the simple answer to this question is that most players would not make an effort or take their time to ensure the house edge is low.

If these players would only use the basic blackjack strategy, the game would have a low house edge. The principle of the basic blackjack strategy is to be able to make the right decision every single time in every situation in the game. In blackjack, players must know when to stand, split, hit, and double down.

How to Reduce the House Edge in Blackjack

There are different ways players can use the basic blackjack strategy to drop the HE to as low as 0.5%. Here are two different approaches you can use to reduce the house edge.

Composition-Dependent Strategy

The combination of all the cards you have with no consideration of each individual card is called the total dependent basic strategy (T-D basic strategy). Although there is nothing wrong with using the traditional basic playing strategy in blackjack, taking note of the composition of cards in your hands will help you decrease the house edge. When you make a decision using the composition of cards in your hands, it is known as the composition-dependent strategy (C-D strategy). If we’re to develop a chart of all the possible C-D strategy, we will end up with pages of write-ups to read, which might not be easy for an average player to understand. Nevertheless, you can use the following C-D strategies to lower the house edge.

16 against a dealer’s 10

If you have the following hands of two cards 10-6, 9-7, 4-5-8, and 8-8 against a dealer 10-cards, what would be your response? Let’s also assume surrender is not available in the scenario. According to the T-D strategy, you should hit the first three hand, but split the 8-8 hand. However, what you should note is that the T-D strategy does not consider the make-up of the card. There is a big difference between a two-cards 16, and a three-cards 16. The significant difference is that you can hit on a two-cards 16, while on a three-cards 16, you’re better off if you stand.

12 against a Dealer’s 4

The T-D basic strategy says you should stand when you have a total of 12 against the dealer 4. But before you go ahead and stand, you should note that there are four ways in which you can have the cards. You may have the 12 hands as 10-2, 9-3, 8-4, 7-5, (however, consider 6-6 separately). A 6-6 hand against a dealer four, you should split. You have a better chance by hitting the 10-2 hand and splitting the 9-3, 8-4, and 7-5 hands against a dealer 2.

15 against a Dealer’s 10

If you’re dealt a 15 hand against a dealer 10, the T-D basic strategy says you should surrender. But we would recommend using the C-D basic approach for a 15 against a dealer 10. When you have an 8-7 hand, you have a better chance of reducing the house odd by hitting than when you surrender. The only event you shouldn’t expect to use the C-D basic strategy is when the surrender is 7 decks or more.

Percentage Reduction in House Edge

It is possible to reduce the house edge by 5.3% if you incorporate all the C-D strategies for double-decker. However, the traditional T-D approach can reduce the house edge from 0.19% – 0.18%.

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