Many will agree that basic strategy is the best way to play blackjack, a casino game where your skills and knowledge of the rules can help you reduce the house edge further. If you’ve ever wondered how basic strategy was created, the answer is plenty of mathematical calculations.
While it’s not possible to predict the outcome of every game in blackjack, you can use the blackjack odds and probabilities to make predictions to a certain extent. Mathematical calculations based on odds and probabilities can also be used to generate statistics for the best move possible in the game based on the cards you’re dealt.
Luckily, you won’t have to wrap your head around complex calculations to determine the odds of winning blackjack because it’s already been done for you. This page will discuss what are the odds of winning blackjack and walk you through the odds and probabilities of winning for every scenario.
With a knowledge of basic strategy and the blackjack best odds, you can ensure you’re playing with the best odds and lowest house edge. However, it’s vital to understand that nothing can guarantee the outcome of a hand or a game with 100% accuracy. Similarly, no strategy can be relied on for guaranteed success, so don’t forget that chance is also always part of the game.
If you’re looking to take your blackjack game to the next level, join us as we get into all the details of blackjack payout odds, blackjack side bets odds, house edge, and our blackjack top 3 odds tips to help you play better blackjack at online casino UK.
Blackjack Odds and Probability
Before we dive deep into the blackjack odds, let’s first understand what odds and probabilities are and the difference between the two. The probability of an outcome is often described as a fraction, and it’s calculated on the number of times a certain result occurs out of several trials. On the other hand, the odds are the probability of the outcome occurring divided by the number of times the outcome won’t happen. This means that we first need to determine the probability to calculate the odds.
Comparing the blackjack vs roulette odds, we think the latter are much easier to understand if you’re relatively new to this topic. So, to make it simpler, let’s take an example with online roulette, which is far simpler to play and understand than online blackjack. If we look at the roulette wheel, we’ll see there are 37 pockets, 18 of which are red, another 18 which are black, and one green.
The probability of winning a bet placed on red is, therefore, 18/37 because there are 18 red pockets out of 37 pockets where the ball can land. If we wanted to determine the odds of hitting red in roulette, then we would need to divide the probability and multiply by 100 to get a percentage. In this case, 18/37 x 100 would give us 48.6%, the odds of winning a bet placed on red.
Roulette is one of the best games to illustrate how odds and probabilities work in a simple manner that’s easy to understand, but let’s move on to an example using blackjack. Let’s say you want to know the probability of being dealt any specific card from a deck of cards this time.
A standard deck has 52 cards, and each card has the same chance of being drawn as the rest. This gives us a probability of 1/52, which provides us with odds of 1.92%. If we wanted to know the probability of a specific card type such as a King of any suit, we would first need to know how many of these cards are in the deck.
There are four Kings in a single deck and only one King of spades, meaning the probability of drawing any King is four times higher. This would be 4/52, or 7.36% as a percentage.
What’s important to understand about odds and probability is that while they’re both related to the chances of a specific outcome occurring, they have important differences. Odds are also related to possibility, but they can be the odds against an outcome occurring or odds for it. The first refers to the ratio of losing to winning, whereas the latter refers to the opposite (ratio of winning versus losing).
Using the same example, the odds for drawing a King of Spades would be 4:48 because there are four of these cards and 48 other cards. Conversely, the odds against drawing this card would be 48:4 because there are 48 cards which aren’t a King of Spades and four which are.
Player’s Blackjack Odds Table
Having a solid understanding of the blackjack odds and probabilities and how they affect each other will ultimately help you identify where you might have an advantage in this online casino game and where you don’t.
Combining the odds of winning blackjack with basic strategy and an understanding of how probability affects winning odds is the most effective way of slightly reducing the house edge. As we mentioned in the introduction, it’s absolutely impossible to eliminate the house edge, but reducing it can have a impact on your success in the long run. More advanced strategies like card counting can potentially turn the odds in your favour even more, but this page will focus on the casino blackjack odds for the player.
Because skilled players can reduce the house edge even further, casinos have long ago implemented measures to reduce the player’s odds. We’ve all heard the expression ‘the house always wins’, and while this may not be true 100% of the time, it’s certainly difficult to beat the house because casinos want to come out on top.
One of the ways by which a casino can decrease your odds of winning is by using more than one deck of cards to make it difficult to keep track of what cards have been dealt and calculate the probability of specific cards being dealt based on what’s been dealt so far.
They might also lower payouts to keep the edge in their favour. For example, the most standard payout for a blackjack is 3:2, but it’s becoming quite common to see 6:5 blackjack tables, especially in land-based casinos. A 3:2 payout means you win 1.5x your bet, while a 6:5 payout only gives you 1.2x your stake. The casino might also alter some of the usual blackjack rules for splitting and surrendering, for example. Some online blackjack games allow you to surrender if you’re dealt a losing hand, which means you can surrender the game and leave the game with half of your stake rather than nothing.
As you may already know, playing your hand in blackjack requires you to look at your own hand and the dealer’s upcard. Your decision to hit or stand should be based on the probability of busting if you take another card, so let’s look at the probability of that happening based on your first two cards.
The blackjack odds table below shows the best probability for each hand value:
|Probability of Busting
|11 or less
As you can observe from the player’s blackjack odds table above, the higher your hand, the higher the odds of going over 21 and busting if you choose to take an additional card.
Dealer’s Blackjack Odds Table
Next, let’s look at the blackjack odds chart for the dealer busting. First, however, we must remember that the dealer is already in a better position than you because their turn comes after yours, which means they’ve seen your hand and know whether you’re in a strong position. One of the dealer’s cards also remains hidden until you’ve played your turn while your cards are dealt face up.
However, what works to your advantage is that the dealer must follow specific rules for hitting and standing. Additionally, the dealer isn’t allowed to split or double down, while you have plenty of flexibility when playing your hand.
The dealer stands or hits according to the game’s rules, so the choice is not up to them. In most cases, the dealer must stand on a soft 17, so they won’t be able to improve their hand by drawing another card and potentially getting closer to 21. In this case, the dealer’s odds of winning are lower than a dealer who can hit on soft 17.
So, before you start playing online blackjack, check the blackjack house rules to find the game that gives you the best advantage.
Below is a blackjack odds card for the dealer’s bust probability based on their upcard. Please note that the table applies for games where the dealer must stand on soft 17 according to the house rules.
|Probability of Busting
What Are the Odds of Winning in Blackjack?
The odds of winning blackjack are difficult to calculate accurately because it depends on your skill level, whether you use basic strategy, and the specific rules of the blackjack variants, but they can be as high as around 42%. If you’re playing without any knowledge of basic blackjack strategy or even an understanding of the card values, rules, etc, the odds can fluctuate considerably.
With odds of roughly 42% for the player, you might think that the house wins 58% of the time, but the odds are actually around 49%. This is because there’s also a third potential outcome in blackjack that’s often overlooked. The first two outcomes are that the dealer wins or the player wins, while the third is that the game ends in a push. This happens when you and the dealer have the same hand value at the end of the game, in which case there is no winner. In this case, you’ll also get your bet back, but no further payouts.
The best way to get the best odds of winning at blackjack is to rely on basic strategy, a strategy chart based on online blackjack odds that tells you how to play your initial cards. Depending on the value of the cards and the dealer’s card, this chart will suggest the best move to make next, whether it’s to hit, stand, split, double down, or possibly even surrender if allowed.
Blackjack Odds: 16 Against Dealer 10
The point of calculating blackjack odds against house and having something like a basic strategy chart when playing blackjack is to help you beat the dealer when you’ve been dealt tricky hands. Some blackjack hands are more straightforward to play than others, and with a basic understanding of the game, you can confidently make the best move.
In this section and the following ones, we’ll examine the most difficult blackjack hands and how you should approach them, always keeping the dealer’s upcard in mind.
One of the toughest blackjack hands is a 16 against a dealer’s 10, specifically a hard 16. According to basic strategy, you should stand on a hard 16 and only hit if the dealer has a 7 or 8 card. If the dealer has a 10, your best move will be to surrender and take half of your initial bet back. This is because your odds of busting are obviously high, while the dealer is in a good position to get a higher hand without going bust.
Blackjack Odds: 12 Vs Dealer 4
A hand of 12 in blackjack is rather weak, especially against a dealer’s 4. The dealer has a 40% chance of going over 21, while you have a 60% chance of losing if you decide to stand and a 58% losing chance if you hit. However, the best way to play this hand is to stand and hope the dealer goes bust. Unfortunately, this is one of the worst hands, even though the dealer’s card is low. If you’re following basic strategy, the chart will also tell you to stand.
Blackjack Odds: 12 Vs Dealer 3
If the dealer’s card is a 3, you can hit on a hand of 12. It’s still a very tricky hand when playing blackjack, but against a dealer’s 3, you’re better off hitting once for a chance to improve your hand. The same applies if the dealer shows a 12. The probability of busting on a 12 is relatively low at 31%, while the dealer’s is slightly higher at 37%.
Blackjack Odds: 15 Vs Dealer 10
A 10-card for the dealer is the worst scenario if you have a hand value of 15. Following basic strategy, surrendering for the round is your best option. If surrendering isn’t an option in the game, you’re bet off hitting for a chance to beat the dealer with a higher total, but the probability of busting is quite high at 58%. If you stand, however, this hand will lose around 77% of the time, so your best chance is to hit unless you can surrender.
Blackjack Odds: Low Pairs
Low pairs are the ones with a value of 14 or lower in most online blackjack games, which means a pair of 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s, or 7s. Low pairs should be played differently depending on the dealer’s upcard. The easiest low pair to play is a pair of 4s, which should always be split into two new hands if the dealer has a 5 or a 6.
A pair of 2s, 3s, or 6s should be split if the dealer’s card is between 2 and 5. Pairs of 2s and 3s should also be split if the dealer has a 7. In other situations, these pairs shouldn’t be split, and it’s best to hit instead.
Pairs of 5s are a different scenario because you should double down instead of hit for any dealer’s card (except 10 and Ace). The odds are in your favour for getting a total of 20.
What is the Probability of Getting Blackjack?
There are two ways to get a score of 21 in blackjack, with two different payouts for each. The first is getting a score of blackjack made up of three cards, which means that you took an additional card after being dealt your first two cards and made a total score of 21. The other is often referred to as a ‘natural’ or ‘natural blackjack’, which refers to being dealt an Ace and a 10.
Getting a blackjack immediately gives you a score of 21 and an instant win. The probability of getting a natural blackjack is 32/663 if you play a single-deck blackjack game. This gives us a percentage of 4.83%. In other words, this translates to a probability of around one per 20 hands.
What’s crucial to remember about odds, probabilities, RTP rates, or even house edge figures is that they shouldn’t be taken literally. These are always estimates based on a number of factors, so it doesn’t necessarily mean that if you play 20 rounds of blackjack, you’ll be dealt a blackjack on the last round. It may not always work out that way.
Having said that, these odds will also change depending on the number of decks used in the game. If you’re playing multi-deck blackjack with two decks, the probability of being dealt blackjack decreases slightly and continues to do so if the number of decks increases. For a two-deck blackjack game, the probability is around 4.78%. In comparison, six-deck games have a probability of about 4.75%, which isn’t a very significant difference but still important to note.
Besides a natural blackjack or a total score of 21, you can also win the game if the dealer busts. In this case, your hand value doesn’t matter as long as it’s not over 21. The probability of winning blackjack with any of these two outcomes is more difficult to quantify because the odds constantly change as you play the game. Blackjack is a dynamic game, and the odds fluctuate at different points of the game, depending on the cards that remain in the deck.
In live blackjack, the odds also depend on the number of players at the table and the rules of the game variant, as well as the number of decks used as explained above.
Blackjack House Edge
One of the reasons why blackjack is one of the most popular casino games, both at land-based casinos and live casino sites, is the low house edge of the game. Every single casino game, including poker, online slot machines, roulette, scratch cards, and so on, has a house edge, which is where the saying ‘the house always wins’ comes from.
The house edge is another term for the house’s advantage over the player. It’s usually expressed as a percentage, and it’s different for all casino games. Overall, blackjack has one of the lowest house edges, although it does depend on a few factors. Compared to roulette or baccarat, blackjack has a very low house edge which works in your favour.
The house edge also varies depending on the type of bet you make in the game. For example, the 21+3 blackjack odds will be lower than the general blackjack odds without any side bets because these are less likely to win. The same applies to perfect pair odds blackjack games; the higher the payout in the paytable, the lower the odds of winning.
The game variant and house rules also affect the house edge, which is why choosing a blackjack game carefully is important. Below, we’ve highlighted the house edge for the most common blackjack variants.
|Vegas Downtown Blackjack
|Vegas Strip Blackjack
|0.48 - 0.72%
What Effect Do Rules Have on the House Edge?
Let’s dive into further detail on how blackjack rules influence the house edge.
- Soft 17 - The soft 17 rule also impacts how the dealer plays and the house edge. If the dealer hits on a soft 17, the house increases slightly by 2%.
- 6:5 Blackjack Payout - The usual payout for a blackjack is 3:2, but some casinos and blackjack variants offer a payout of 6:5 instead. This increases the house edge by 1.4% because the payout is 1.2x your stake rather than 1.5x.
- No Hole Card - This is another blackjack rule that increases the house edge, in this case, by roughly 0.11%. The European no-hole card rule means the dealer can take their hole card right after dealing the players’ cards.
- Split Aces - Most blackjack house rules allow you to draw one card for every Ace when you split a pair of them. This rule decreases the house edge by 0.13%.
- Splitting Aces Prohibited - If the rules for splitting don’t allow you to split a pair of Aces, the house edge increases by around 0.06%. Splitting Aces is one of the best moves you can make in blackjack, so choose a game where splitting Aces is allowed.
- Number of Decks - The number of decks used in the game can vary the house edge between +0.18% and -0.5%. The more decks used in the game, the higher the house edge will be, while the fewer the decks, the better the odds will be for you.
- Even-Money Blackjack Payout - Even money is similar to the insurance bet but offered when you have a blackjack, before the dealer reveals their hole card. Taking even money instead of a blackjack payout increases the house edge by 2.3%.
- 5 Card Charlie - A 5 Card Charlie is a rare scenario where you hit five times without busting. If this happens, the 5-Card Charlie rule applies, and you’ll automatically win the game. The house edge will be reduced by -1.46%.
FAQs About Blackjack Odds
1. What Are the Odds of Winning in Blackjack?
The odds for winning in blackjack are calculated to be around 42.22%, but these odds fluctuate throughout the game and vary depending on a variety of factors, including the house rules, the number of decks used, and your skill level, amongst other factors.
2. What Are the Best Odds at the Blackjack Table?
The best odds when playing blackjack are found on the 3:2 tables. As explained in this blackjack odds strategy guide, it’s best to avoid tables which pay 6:5 for blackjack.
3. What Are the Odds of Getting 20 in Blackjack?
In a single-deck game, the odds of getting a hand with a value of 20 in blackjack casino games are around 10.2%.
4. What Are the Odds of Getting 4 Blackjacks in a Row?
The odds of getting four blackjacks in a row are extremely low and calculated to be 1 in 1 in 160,000 or 0.000625%.
5. What Are the Odds of Busting on 12?
If you take another card, the odds of busting with a hand value of 12 are 31%.
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