Blackjack is one of the most popular games in casinos due to it being easy to understand and its low house edge, giving players a better chance of walking away from the table with a profit.
Blackjack has a house edge of around 0.5% which means that the casino will make 0.5% profit on average from every bet that is placed. For example, if £100 worth of bets were placed, the casino could expect to make £0.50 profit. That’s not to say that players can’t win money at blackjack. There’s nothing stopping you playing one hand, beating the dealer and walking away with a profit. However, if you play long enough, the house edge will come into effect and you will be down overall. It’s just simple maths based on the probability of your hands beating the dealers’ hands.
With blackjack having a house edge of just 0.5%, it’s appealing to players considering some other games have a much higher house edge. Roulette, for example, has a house edge of from 2.5% and Three Card Poker a house edge of from 1.5%. However, with the majority of casino games, the house edge will only be what is advertised if you play it correctly and the same goes for blackjack.
You may think that you know how to play blackjack but you may not be playing it mathematically correct. It is only when you do this that you will achieve a house edge of just 0.5%. Play it incorrectly and the house edge could be much greater than that.
So how do you play blackjack correctly?
It’s pretty simple. You just need to know when to hit, double, split and stand. The correct decision is based on the probability of the hand you are holding beating the dealer’s hand based on their upwards facing card. Thankfully, Profit Squad provide a blackjack chart which shows you the correct decision to make based on your cards and the dealers’ card. All you have to do is look up your cards and the dealers’ card on the chart and it will show you the mathematically correct decision to make in order to stand the best chance of winning the hand.
Above is a blackjack chart showing the correct decision based on visible cards.
Bear in mind that you won’t win every time by following the blackjack strategy chart. The house still has an edge and so will be in profit over time. There will be times when you may have won your hand by not following the chart but the recommended decisions are mathematically correct and so you will benefit from following it over time.
As the house still has the edge even when following the chart, you should only play blackjack, or any other casino game, when there is some kind of added benefit for doing so. This could be in the form of a casino bonus, a free bet, cashback or free spins. By factoring in the value of a bonus, it may be possible to turn the odds in your favour and give you, the player, the edge rather than the house.
Let’s take a look at an example of how this would work.
Playing blackjack without a bonus
Let’s say that you played 100 hands of blackjack, each for a stake of £1 and followed the blackjack chart on every hand so that the house edge was 0.05%.
On average, you would finish the session £0.50 down (0.05% of £100)
Playing blackjack with a bonus
Now let’s say that the casino was running a promotion and was offering you a £5 bonus with x1 wagering if you placed £100 worth of bets on blackjack.
We know that we will lose £0.50 on average by the time we finish wagering our £100 and so we need to determine the value of the bonus after we have wagered it once. Again, the house edge is 0.5% when wagering our bonus if we follow the chart which tells us we should be left with £4.9975. Or, let’s just say £4.99.
That means that on average, we should make a profit of £4.49 from that offer (£4.99 – £0.50) showing us that the tables have turned and it is us who have the edge and not the casino.
Even though we have the edge, we won’t make a profit every time but on average we will be up by £4.49. If the math confuses you, you can use a casino calculator like the one available on Profit Squad to do the calculations for you.
Why playing perfect blackjack matters
By making the correct decisions whilst playing blackjack, we’re able to reduce the house edge to a minimum. This gives more value to us and increases the EV (Expected Value) of the casino offer we are participating in. As matched bettors, we want to make as much profit as possible from every bookmaker or casino offer and just how finding a close match makes sports offers more profitable, minimising the house edge makes casino offers more profitable.