House Advantage at Blackjack

Why the house has an advantage

online blackjack rulesWhen I was just starting to play and understand blackjack, I simply did not understand why the house, either an online casino or an actual casino, had an advantage. After all, you are normally going to be paid 3 to 2 when you are dealt 21 right off of the bat and you are able to double down, split, surrender... while the dealer has none of these options. Also, the dealer is usually forced to hit on 16, even when it might be advantageous not to. So many signs point to the player having the advantage over the house.

As we all know, busting is all too common in blackjack. It does not get much worse then hitting a face card when you have 12. I hate to be captain obvious here, but you, the player, have to make the first move in blackjack when you are up against the dealer. Once you bust, the hand is over and the house wins, the dealer has to do nothing. If the dealer had to act first and had the first opportunity to bust, the odds would be shifted in your favor greatly.

Unfortunately, there is nothing much that you can do about this, standing on 12's [playing never bust blackjack] is disastrous and will shift the house edge from 0.5% to between 5 - 10%. You are always going to have to make the first move in blackjack, that is the nature of the game. If casino's decided to shift the odds in your favor, they would obviously be bankrupt within a week, no one profits from bankruptcy.

The only way you will have a chance against the house, in the long run, is to play perfectly. Memorize and live by a blackjack strategy card. Doing this alone will shrink the house advantage from 3 - 5% to under 1%. It is easy to stand at 14 and cross your fingers that the house will bust instead of yourself, but that simply does not work in the long run. It is easy to hit on 17 when the dealer is showing 6 because you have "a feeling" but making these foolish, emotion driven decisions will only hurt yourself in the long run.

The only way to turn the traditional blackjack house edge from 0.5% in the house's favor to slightly in your favor is by learning advanced card counting strategies. Card counting is tough to learn and even tougher to implement. Many casino's can smell a counter from a mile away and kick you out before you even have a chance to play multiple hands. Simply put, card counting is anything but easy, however it would not be around if it did not work. If you are serious about blackjack, card counting is your only way to have a chance.

Blackjack is by far the most popular casino game for many reasons. It is simple, exciting, but most importantly, it has the lowest house edge of all of the popular casino games. You will experience a house edge of 0.5% in blackjack if you play with proper strategy, the house edge in slots and roulette can range from anywhere to 2% at best and 16% at worst. If you are going to play a casino game, blackjack is the only smart choice.

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