Do you want to bring the house down? Are you seeking ways to slash the blackjack house edge? Well, my friend, you’re in the right post. A lot of strategies in blackjack are intended to cut the house edge by as much as 0.5% or more. Mathematicians, card counters, and expert gamblers have come up with different ways to increase your odds of winning.
You don’t always have to be an expert card counter to push your chance on the table. By understanding some basic principles and pairing it with gumption, you should have a better play than before.
Here, I’ve discussed some of the possible strategies you can use. But first, let us know what the house edge is.
What is the house edge?
As you know, casinos don’t host gamblers just for fun. They need to earn money which means they need to have an advantage over your hands. This is called the house edge. It’s the mathematical computation of how much the casinos can get from you vis-à-vis what you can win. In plain thought, the higher the house edge, the lower your chances of winning are.
Some casinos will try to claim that blackjack is a game of chance and house edge depends on your strategy and fate. Although strategy can really affect your winnings, casinos are smart enough. They will ensure that they have some upper hand before you put your money on the table. Otherwise, some genius card counter or gambler can rack up all their money. Have you seen casinos shut its doors due to bankruptcy? Rarely.
And to prevent you from being discouraged, casinos disguise the house advantage blackjack in the number of card decks, when the dealer will hit or stand, side bets, and so on.
Never believe anyone who tells you that the odds are 50-50. Just because the dealer is also playing doesn’t mean you both are on the same page. Come to think of it, if both of you and the dealer busts, does he lose money? No, but you do. This is the reason why reducing the house edge is a major goal for many blackjack players.
How to calculate house edge
We’re not going to dive deep to the arithmetic of house edge since you can use Wizards of Odds’ blackjack house edge calculator. But to give you an idea, here are some of the factors that will affect the house edge:
Card decks on the table. The more decks the lower your chances of winning. The single deck blackjack house edge is lower compared to 6 or 8 decks.
Dealer hits or stands. Most blackjack tables nowadays can either require the dealer to hit or stand when s/he reaches a soft 17 hand.
Splitting rules. How many times can you resplit? Can you resplit aces? All these factors will move the knob of the house edge.
Surrender rule. Does the casino allow the surrender rule?
Payout. How does the house pay for blackjack, 3:2 or 6:5?
Using the blackjack house edge calculator I mentioned above, you’ll have an exact computation of your odds. It includes the edge using the basic strategy with a cut card and the advantage over using basic strategy with a continuous shuffler.
Why do you have to know the house edge?
The house edge dictates the amount of money you can win per round as well as the amount that you’re bound to lose. Still, your losses will depend on some factors including your speed of play, average bet size, total hours played, and the house advantage blackjack itself.
Even with a low house edge, you can’t maximize your wins if you won’t be hasty with your rounds. Although blackjack games don’t have timers, players have to think fast so they can play as many rounds as they can in an hour.
If you want a more specific computation for your losses, you can follow this formula:
Bet amount per round x house edge x rounds per hour x total hours played
If you play 70 rounds per hour with five players while betting $5 at a house edge of 0.43% in a 6-deck S17 DAS format, your losses will be $15 for 10 hours of play.
How to gain the upper hand
If you’re planning to bring the house down by exploiting your advantage, there are four possible ways to do it:
➕Have a good grasp of the principles
➕Play at casinos with a lower house edge
➕Master a strategy
Using these tips, you can make your money last longer. This is regardless if you’re playing against a double deck blackjack house edge or higher. Still, you shouldn’t play too long or else, your chips will start to dwindle. One tip I want to give before we proceed is that you should know when to quit. Yes, you should maximize your winning streaks, but it’s best to walk away while the money is flowing in rather than quitting when you’re starting to lose.
Always remember that no matter how good you are in defying the house advantage blackjack, the casino will still win in the end. So when you’re racking up money, quit and run away from the table. That way, you can defeat the beast and prevent it from turning the tables.
Have a good grasp of the principles
Never play blackjack with an empty head. The first step to winning is understanding what you’re dealing with. Ask when the dealer will stand and what the rules of the table are. From there, you can research ways to increase your odds of winning.
For example, playing at a Soft 17 table will increase your chances of winning by 0.2% using the basic strategy. Many players have shared that casinos have lower blackjack house edge when the dealer has to stand at Soft 17 (A-6). Since the house can’t draw any more cards, there’s a lower chance that s/he will get an 18, 19, 20, or even 21.
This is just one example so you should explore all the rules of the game. Remember, blackjack has many variations and each one will have unique rules. It’s important that you choose the variant and start your practice from there.
Play at casinos with a lower house edge
If you want to increase your chances of winning, you might as well play at casinos with a lower house edge. House edges can be a moderate 2.8% or even a low 1%. There are casinos that might have 5% house edge so make sure to ask around before you sit on the table.
Online casinos usually have lower house edges to encourage players to bet for long. Also, they offer a very lower minimum bet, say $1 per hand even for double deck blackjack house edge.
However, you should know that the house edge computation stated on the table is based on a specific strategy. So even if the casino has a low house edge, you can still lose money with the wrong technique of playing.
For example, a table may indicate that the house edge is 0.5%. This is the case for the basic strategy, but in general, it will be around 2-3%. A lot of players get fooled by this and lose their bankroll along the way. Again, use the blackjack house edge calculator.
Remember that the harder it is to master the game the higher the odds of winnings is. Let’s put blackjack and Keno in juxtapose. Since Keno is easy to play, a lot of people flock to it. What these players don’t know is that Keno has a 25% house edge.
Master a strategy
Blackjack isn’t a guessing game, but if you play it like one, you should expect to lose a whole fortune in just one night. You have to master a strategy and play according to its rules. And for beginners, the basic strategy never grows old. I suggest that you start by defeating the single deck blackjack house edge.
This strategy is also called the Total-Dependent strategy where the player takes into account the value of his hand and the dealer’s up card. Based on these, there’s a list of moves that the player should do. This is more of memorization and mastering the application during an actual game.
Some say that if you play using the basic strategy rules, you can cut the house edge by 0.2%-0.5%. This is the reason why many expert gamblers recommend that you start with this strategy before exploring other techniques.
Once you’ve memorized the charts by heart, I suggest that you merge it with the Composition-Dependent Strategy. In this method, you’ll take into account, not just the total of the hand, but the cards composing it. In short, we won’t just see a hard 14, it might be a 7-7, 8-6, 10-4, and so on.
The C-D strategy gives you an idea of whether you should hit or stand. If there are high-value cards at the table, hitting on a hard 13 might be plausible.
Also known as wonging, card counting is a method of determining the true count of the deck. You’ll assign a value for every card. In the Hi-Lo method, 2-6 = +1; 7-9 = 0; and 10-Ace = -1. Every time the cards will be dealt, you will have a running count for every hand by subtracting, adding, or doing nothing.
The rule of thumb here is that each time the running count increases, the player gains the upper hand. However, if the running count decreases and becomes negative, the house gains more edge.
Take note, though, that this is easier for a single deck blackjack house edge game since casinos have discovered that players are starting to practice such a card counting scheme. As an effort to douche the fire, they used multiple decks. Still, card counters came up with an upgraded method.
Remember that what matters here is that concentration of the low cards versus the high cards. For example, a running count of 5 in a single deck translates to 5 extra aces or 10s in the deck. This true count makes your edge even higher.
However, it’s a whole different thing to have a running count of 5 in a two-deck, four-deck, and eight-deck table. What we do is divide the running count with the number of decks. For example, if we’re playing an 8-deck round and the running count is 2, the True Count should be 4. But what if the initial running count is indivisible, like -7 ÷ 2? We’ll take 3 as the True Count.
Once you have the True Count, you can now adjust your betting as it merits. This is how professional gamblers make a living out of casino games while beating the house advantage blackjack.
To know more about card counting, here’s Mike Aponte from the MIT Blackjack Team as he gives tips and tricks to win it:
Aside from the major points above, I have some additional tips to increase your chances of winning. This is true for double deck blackjack house edge and higher. A lot of players overlook these little details and end up losing their money.
➕Never take insurance bets
When the Ace pops as the dealer’s up card, you’ll be given a chance to place a wager on it. The dealer will look at his card, and if he has a BJ, the house pays. But if not, you lose. It seems like this is a good way to milk money from the dealer’s hand. However, this side bet is actually increased house edge disguised as something good.
The chance of the dealer to have a blackjack is very little. This is why insurance is a sucker bet. Never waste your time and money on this. Using the blackjack house edge calculator, you’ll know that this bet is a snake pit for an escalating edge.
➕Beware of the no hole card
There’s a blackjack variation where the dealer only deals his up card and waits for the players to complete their hands before getting the hole card. This is a different strategy, although just a little bit different than the usual setup.
So why watch out? Well, this no hole card game increases the house edge by 0.1%. It’s just a small increase but an increase nonetheless.
Defying the blackjack house edge is a matter of using the cleverest strategy. Casinos nowadays are exhausting all means to dampen your chances of winning. But with the right technique and discipline, you can bring the house down and rack up thousands of dollars.