House Edge in Blackjack Explained
To understand the blackjack house edge, you can think of it as the expected profit of the casino. There is a house edge for each casino game and blackjack variant, and their total indicates the long-term profits of the casino in percentages.
The blackjack house edge is 2% on average, but it can be higher or lower based on how you play the game and other aspects relating to the rules. Generally speaking, the blackjack house odds are considered the lowest across all other games. For reference, here is the average house edge of other popular games at the casino:
- Online slots 4%
- Video poker 2%
- Online Roulette 3%
- Progressives 8%
An important point relating to the house advantage in blackjack and other games is that even though the statistics are always in favor of the house, this doesn’t mean you cannot win while playing. It’s true that, on average, for every $100 wagered on the blackjack table, you would lose $2, based on the house edge. However, you could take a seat and land 10 or even 20 winning hands in the row.
The house edge and odds in blackjack will usually play out on hundreds or even thousands of rounds.
What Does House Edge Mean in Practice
The house edge can mean different things depending on how you look at it.
True Blackjack House Edge
Now, even though the blackjack house edge can be very low, the casino hold is often much bigger, even from the 2% average. That’s because players are prone to lose due to bad decision-making.
Don’t get us wrong, though. Playing blackjack in the best way possible is challenging, and even professional players sometimes fail.
Our blackjack guides can help you learn the ins and outs and get the best odds each time you take a seat against the dealer.
Ways Casinos Optimize their House Edge
As players can take measures to lower the blackjack house edge, so can casinos. There are two standard ways they can achieve this.
The first one is simple; the faster blackjack rounds play, the more money the casino makes. That’s because the long-term house edge favors it. In the past, casinos shuffled blackjack cards every 20 hands, and the time required for this cost them precious money. Nowadays, brick-and-mortar casinos have incorporated shoes that automatically reshuffle the deck; the same thing happens online but through a random number generator.
The second way casinos optimize towards their edge is by monitoring how each game performs. For example, if a slot machine payouts more than it should, it is most likely to remove it. The same can happen with blackjack dealers making errors.
Blackjack House Edge Myths
There is a lot of misinformation online, and that includes blackjack. Not everyone provides the complete picture regarding the house edge or other mechanics. Similarly, someone might just read the first few lines of a guide and leave the page taking for granted that blackjack has a 0.5% house edge. Word of mouth can then spread this further. Below, we will try and clear the air surrounding some of the most common misconceptions tied to the blackjack house edge.
No matter how many times the dealer wins, you go bust, etc., the chances of getting a winning hand doesn’t increase. The contrary is true since the edge will likely play out in the long run. Don’t let your feelings carry your losing streak further.
The lowest blackjack house edge is enjoyed by players who use blackjack strategies correctly and opt-in for the blackjack games with the most favorable rules. Not every player will enjoy a 0.5% house edge. Also, the edge is irrelevant to every given round, and the odds only depend on your and the dealer’s hand.
This is partly a misconception. It is not a valid claim when it comes to the gameplay or blackjack rules, since players and dealers must stick to them to win. Dealers benefit because they don’t gamble their own money, and their job is to follow their casino’s blackjack strategy. Essentially, they hit until they get 17. Where this myth becomes a reality is the speed of the play. If a dealer is really fast, more rounds are being played, and the house edge is more likely to be realized.
Although card counting is a legit blackjack strategy and can help you lower the casino winning odds, it is not the only one. Players should always practice basic blackjack strategy and choose the games and real money blackjack casinos with the best rules for players. These are easier ways to boost your chances of winning.
What is the true blackjack house edge?
The true blackjack house edge is called hold and is not a standard value. Theoretically, the lowest blackjack house edge is 0.5%, and the average is 2%. However, the true edge will depend on the players’ actions, strategies, and performance. If one plays badly and hits or stands randomly, the edge can be as high as 50%.
How to win at blackjack?
You can win at blackjack by getting 21, and the dealer doesn’t. Going closer to 21 without busting than the dealer is another way to win at the blackjack table. Side bets in online blackjack provide additional winning chances through jackpots or by betting that your cards will be a pair.
Does the casino always win on the blackjack table?
No. In fact, the blackjack game has the lowest winning odds for the casino when compared to other casino games, at 2% of total money wagered. This means that you would lose slightly more times than the dealer on average.
How can you calculate the blackjack house edge?
The blackjack house edge is calculated by 3rd party auditors that review the performance of each casino blackjack game. The same companies will tell you if the casino has fair and legit tables. On average, the blackjack house edge is 2%, and some of the reasons it fluctuates include the blackjack payouts, players’ strategy, and the game rules. In the simplest of terms, a 2% blackjack house edge means that the casino will make $2 on every $100 you bet.