Blackjack odds work a bit different than odds for other games. The odds
of each and every game of blackjack are different, and different for each
person playing. Blackjack odds your up against depend on the rules of
the specific game your playing, and your skill level.
So what does this mean to you? It means that your blackjack odds can
be better than those of the fellow next to you, which should put a smile
on your face. It also means you can lower the odds of the game you're
at by following the basic strategy defined for it (usually presented in
the form of a chart). If you're feelin' lucky, punk, you can lower the
edge even more by trying a card counting
strategy. But you shouldn't attempt this unless the casino isn't very
stringent about card counters, and most are. New casinos with inexperienced
dealers are a good bet, but it's usually awfully difficult to keep from
looking like a card counter when you are one.
A player playing recklessly (that is, one who pays little attention to
basic strategy) can expect to face blackjack odds that aren't very appealing.
The house edge in this situation is usually hovering between 3 and 5%.
The first and most important thing you need to do to bring the odds into
check, is grab yourself a basic strategy chart for game your playing.
This chart has the optimal decision for every two-card hand you'll receive,
verses every dealer up-card you could be up against. The these charts
do the work of figuring out how to start each hand, and let you 'play
perfectly', nudging the blackjack odds your up against, down a peg. A
good peg in fact; playing with perfect basic strategy can decrease the
house edge to about 0.5%.
The factors that determine the proper basic strategy include:
The number of decks used in the shoe
Whether the dealer hits on a soft 17
Whether doubling is allowed, and on what cards
Whether doubling is allowed after a split
Whether or not surrender is offered
Whether early or late surrender is offered
The classic Vegas strip 6 deck game hits on a soft 17, can double on
any 2 and after a split, offers later surrender, and if played with perfect
strategy, can dip the house edge to about 0.36%
Standard Atlantic City blackjack odds are different, because they don't
generally offer surrender. With all other variables equal, playing perfect
strategy in this game would give the house an edge of about 0.44%.
To view the basic strategy charts for some popular blackjack games, visit BlackjackInfo.com. To view the basic strategy chart for Tony's own free blackjack game, click here.