How to Decrease the House Edge in Blackjack

How to Decrease the House Edge in Blackjack

Blackjack is a casino card game where players compete with the dealer for the highest hand value. Several playing options exist including surrender, splitting, doubling down, hitting and standing. The objective of the game is to beat the dealer by having a total higher than 21 from the player’s first two cards. Players can also place a side bet on whether the dealer has blackjack. In the event that the dealer has blackjack, the player loses. If the player’s unbusted hand has a total of 21, they win and are paid at 1 to 1 odds. In the event that the dealer and player have identical totals, the hand is a tie (or push) and the player retains their bet.

Before you can begin playing blackjack, it is essential to understand the game’s rules, values and betting requirements. Once you are familiar with these, you can begin to learn strategies that will increase your chances of winning. Aside from understanding the basic rules of blackjack, you should also be familiar with the game’s procedures and etiquette. This will help you avoid attracting the ire of other players and the dealer.

House Edge (HE) in blackjack is calculated by summing the expected values of all possible outcomes and then dividing the result by the total number of equally-possible outcomes. This process results in a percentage which represents the overall edge that the casino has over the player. Various rules and strategies can affect the HE in blackjack, and these include the number of decks used, the mode of shuffling and dealing, doubling down allowing, late surrender, resplitting aces, and more. Changing any of these factors can significantly alter the HE for the game.

While the house edge for blackjack is generally less than 1%, it can vary depending on the rules and strategy employed. In general, a lower HE is better for the player, but this advantage will not materialize in one or a few games. Rather, it will occur over the long term.

The simplest way to decrease the house edge is to know when to hit or stand. The best time to hit is when the dealer has a face up card with a count of 6 or higher. In this situation, there is a 40% chance that the dealer will bust, so it makes sense to take an additional card. However, this method can be very difficult to master and requires keeping track of the cards as they are dealt, which can lead to confusion and even mistakes. Fortunately, some casinos offer charts that show the proper hitting and standing strategy for all hands. These charts are especially helpful for beginners and should be studied prior to playing at a casino. A good idea is to focus on learning the charts for the type of blackjack you will be playing at a particular casino. This will help you to make a smooth transition to the rules-specific chart when necessary.