Blackjack Odds & Probabilities
Blackjack is one of the few casino classics that require not only luck but also skills. The fact that its outcome can be influenced by using a reliable strategy attracts a number of players as it gives them the opportunity to improve their chances of winning. In blackjack, knowledge can really make the difference between winning and losing and this is the reason why it is essential to be familiar with the basic rules and strategy.
Throughout the years, a great deal of extensive surveys has been conducted in an attempt to figure out its odds. Since blackjack is a card game, it is possible to determine to some extent the pattern the card follows and the likelihood of getting certain combinations. The probability of winning can be also calculated quite accurately, taking into account the players’ hand and the dealer’s up card. It is extremely important to get familiar with the odds and probabilities of blackjack as well as with its house edge in order to get a general idea of the game. If players want to become consistent winners, they should be aware of the likelihood of getting a blackjack or busting.
Blackjack Odds and Probabilities
The odds of a particular casino game are usually expressed as a ratio between the number of a given event to occur as opposed to the number of the same event not to occur. For example, the odds of drawing the Ace of Hearts in single-deck blackjack is 1/51 as there is only one Ace of Hearts in a standard deck of 52 playing cards. Usually, odds are presented reversely. In other words, the first number shows the chances of losing and the second number presents the chances of winning. This means that the odds of drawing the Ace of Hearts in single-deck blackjack are 51/1.
If you are a casino fan, you most likely have a basic notion of what the terms “true odds” and “casino odds” mean. True odds are the actual odds of winning a bet. However, casinos never pay according to the true odds and that is why it is true that the house never loses. The casino odds represent the payout for $1 wagered.
Many people use odds and probabilities as synonyms, but the two terms denote different things. The probability is the percentage of a given event occurring as opposed to all possible outcomes. Let us take an example to provide you with a better understanding of the term. If you want to know the probability of drawing the Ace of Hearts in single-deck blackjack, then you have to divide the possible ways of the event happening by all possible outcomes.
Since a standard deck of cards consists of 52 playing cards and there is only one Ace of Hearts, then the probability of drawing the Ace of Hearts is 1 ÷ 52 = 0.019. Then, you have to multiply this number by 100 to express it as a percentage, or 0.019 x 100 = 1.92%. Probability is always a number between 0 and 1. If a given event has a 0 probability, it will never occur and vice versa.
Blackjack – A Unique Game Based on Skills
Odds are used to determine the players’ chances of winning against their chances of losing a particular hand by taking into account a number of aspects. What players should remember is that even the smallest rule change can make a huge impact on the game. Every adjustment directly influences players’ chances of winning. Therefore, it is essential to be familiar with the most beneficial variations in order to boost your chances of winning.
By getting acquainted with the odds of the game, players automatically increase the possibility of making the best move in a certain situation. The reason why is simple – since they have a general idea of the remaining cards in the deck, they can make better decisions which are in accordance with this valuable information.
In blackjack, the odds are changing in favor of the player or the dealer with every card drawn from the deck. And the blackjack optimal strategy is based on this changing of the odds. Blackjack fans should take their time to develop their skills and learn as much as possible about the game if they want to leave the casino as winners. Your playing decisions should not be controlled by your instincts but by other factors such as the dealer’s up card, the number of decks in use, and the rules dictating the dealer’s play. In fact, that is the most tangible difference between chance-based and skill-dependent games.
The Effect of Card Removal in Blackjack
As we already hinted above, every card that leaves the deck brings valuable information about the remaining cards in the deck and the player’s odds. Interestingly enough, card counting systems are based on that knowledge. Decks rich in high-value cards stack the odds in favor of the player. Quite logically, decks in which the low-value cards outnumber the high-value cards work in favor of the house.
The removal of a card worth 10 decreases players’ chances of winning by 0.51%. The same goes for the removal of an ace, reducing the players’ chances of winning by 0.59%. The removal of a nine leads to a 0.15% decrease in the players’ chances of winning. To sum up, the removal of a nine, ten, or an ace decreases your chances of winning. On the other hand, the removal of 2 through 6 works in your favor.
Blackjack Odds & Probabilities of Busting
One of the most important things that players need to get familiar with before playing is their odds of going bust. Since the main objective of the game is to reach 21, without surpassing it, it is essential to know when it is best to avoid hitting. Even though players should follow the basic strategy in order to make the best possible moves, it is also very important to be aware of their mathematical chances of losing.
Thus, let’s have a look at the following chart which illustrates the odds of going bust, providing that players have chosen to hit. The chart takes into account only the total value of the player’s hand and according to it, calculates the likelihood of busting. It can be very helpful and efficient as it provides players with valuable information about their chances of losing.
|Blackjack Odds of Busting if Player Chooses to Hit|
|Player’s Hand||Probability of Busting|
|11 or less||0.00%|
Frequency of the First Two Cards
At the beginning of every game, players are dealt two cards which form their hand value. Since the standard pack of cards consists of 52 cards, 13 ranks, and 4 suits, it is possible to predict the odds of getting a particular combination. Thanks to these findings, players have the chance to get an overall idea of how often they can form a natural blackjack or a soft hand. They will be able to grasp the fundamental principle of blackjack better and find out the exact percentage of getting any of the different hand categories.
Natural blackjack or in other words, an ace and a ten, occurs 4.8% of the time. It is the most desirable hand and as such, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it is hard to get it. The second best combination that players can get is a hard-standing hand as its total value is usually enough to beat the dealer. The following chart has proven to be very useful as it provides valuable information about the possibility of getting a certain combination.
|First Two-Cards Frequency Chart|
|Two Cards Combination||Frequency in Percentage|
|Hard Standing (17-20)||30.00%|
|Decision Hands (1-16)||38.70%|
Blackjack House Edge
It is no secret that every casino game, including blackjack, has a built-in advantage as this is the reason why casinos offer such gaming products in the first place. The house edge is a rather dynamic measurement as it depends on many factors such as the deck number and the specific version. Blackjack is famous for having a very low house edge – around 1% which can be reduced even more if players apply a strategy correctly. In general, casino games that require skills and knowledge are the ones that have the lowest house edge as their outcome can be influenced.
Blackjack is one of the most played casino games and as such, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it has numerous variations. Every version gives players different chances of achieving the desired win as some variations offer more favorable rules and odds than others. For instance, the house edge of the popular version Super Fun 21 is 0.94%, whereas in Blackjack Switch it’s only 0.17%.
House Edge of Multi-Deck Blackjack
In blackjack, the number of the decks included in the game plays a crucial role as it directly influences the odds of winning. In the past, it was mainly played with a single pack of cards, but nowadays, it is extremely hard to find such a game. Therefore, players should get familiar with the house edge each variation provides them with as it determines to a huge extent their chances of making a profit. The number of decks is also essential for card counters as if the game is played with eight decks it is extremely hard to keep track of the cards properly. It is worth noting that the more decks are used, the higher the house edge is. For instance, if players play with two decks, the house edge is 0.42% but if the game involves eight decks – 0.70%.
One of the reasons why blackjack is so wildly popular is that it offers players moderately good chances of winning as its house edge is less than 1%. Since its odds can be calculated to a huge extent, it is possible to determine the likelihood of getting a certain card combination. Blackjack is a game that requires a good deal of skills, enabling players to influence the outcome of every hand by utilizing a reliable strategy. It is extremely important to know the situations in which it is a good idea to increase the amount of your bet, providing you with the chance to maximize your winnings.