The house edge can be described as the built in advantage the casino has in games, in order for the casino to make money. It is the casino’s average profit on a player’s bet. It is well known that blackjack has the lowest house edge in all casino games, which explains the popularity of the game.
If you’ve ever wondered why blackjack has the best odds for the player, it’s because the casino has just one advantage in blackjack, which is the fact that the player makes the first move in the game.
Think about it, if the player decides to take a hit and busts, the house wins right away, without making a move. Even if the dealer busts later in the deal, that player that already busted, still loses.
Ok, say you try the strategy of never busting yourself. With that, the dealer will make 17 or better more often than you, so you still lose in the long run. When the first player to bust automatically loses, the player who has to act first, is at a distinct disadvantage. That distinct disadvantage has been calculated to be 8% for the player.
Yes, that is a ridiculous advantage for the house, so that’s why the developers of the game decided on rules that would bring down that percentage, making it a more enticing game to play.
- Blackjack paying 3-to-2 vs. even money
- Hit/Stand at will vs. dealer hitting on 16 and standing on 17
- May double down vs. dealer no doubling
- May split pairs vs. dealer no splitting
As you look at the above rules, it does show that basically all the rules favor the player, except for the fact that the player must act first. The dealer also has to follow strict rules that must be played exactly the same, every time, so the dealer plays like a robot.
Maybe that’s why some dealers seem a bit grouchy! You sometimes hear players saying certain dealers are tougher than others, when actually every dealer plays by the exact same rules! In reality, no dealer is tougher than another. Therefore, the house edge over a player is ultimately decided by how well the player uses the favorable rules of the game!
PLAYER OPTIONS TO CUT HOUSE EDGE
- 3-to-2 blackjack payout cuts house edge by 2.25%
- Correct hitting/standing strategy cuts house edge by 3.25%
- Correct doubling down strategy cuts house edge by 1.5%
- Correct pair splitting cuts house edge by .5%
That totals a 7.5% player advantage if perfect strategy is used by the player, leaving the .5% house edge for casinos.
The casino doesn’t have to beat every player every time. Even the tiniest margin, as in blackjack, is enough to make it a viable game for the casino to offer players. All the casino has to do is make it a game that you will play and the casino will win in the long run. That’s how and why the house edge works.
It can be said that there is some skill involved with blackjack. If you learn basic blackjack strategy, you can practically erase the house edge and actually enjoy profitable gambling when playing blackjack! However, as I have stated before, it is a game of chance and winning cannot be guaranteed, considering the house edge, but the chance at winning with blackjack is much better than any other casino game.