Blackjack Odds and Probability, Explained | Beginner's Guide

August 16, 2024

Let's explore the world of Blackjack, the world's most iconic and popular casino card game. Whether you're playing from the toilet on your smartphone or a glamorous land-based casino in Las Vegas, Blackjack is a fun game that offers an addictive blend of strategy and luck to keep players coming back for more. But here's the tea, winning Blackjack isn't about praying for a lucky 21. No, it's all about mastering Blackjack probability and using these odds to your advantage.

Now, odds and probability sound slightly like math, which may be off-putting to some players. However, mastering Blackjack odds is the secret sauce that will level up your Blackjack game, giving you a better chance of winning and making the game 10x more fun. You'll feel more confident in your decisions, whether you choose to hit, stand, double down, or split.

Buckle up and get your popcorn ready. This guide will break down everything you need to know about Blackjack odds to give you an edge when you're playing Blackjack.

What are Blackjack Odds?

In a nutshell, Blackjack odds refer to the statistical probability of various outcomes within a game, whether you're playing at an online casino or IRL Blackjack table. These odds help players understand their likelihood of winning Blackjack, losing, or tying with the Dealer in any given hand.

Since Blackjack is a game of chance, there is no way of telling what card will be dealt next (unless you're an expert card counter). When you play Blackjack, the goal is to get to 21 or close to it, without busting, within the first two cards you're dealt. However, the Dealer always has the house advantage as their cards are dealt last.

The table below shows the bust probability with your hand values after the first two cards have been dealt.

Player's Hand ValueBust Probability
11 or lower0%
1231%
1339%
1456%
1558%
1662%
1769%
1877%
1985%
2092%
21100%

How much does Blackjack payout?

In Blackjack, the goal is to get Blackjack, aka 21, with the first two cards you're dealt. Let's break down the most common types of payouts you'll encounter in the game:

• 3:2 Payout: The most traditional payout is a 3:2 for a natural Blackjack when your first two cards total 21 (an Ace and a 10-value card). If you bet \$10, you could win an additional \$15 and your original money back, totaling \$25.
• 1:1 Payout: Otherwise known as an "even money" payout, this is the standard payout for a regular win, where your hand beats the Dealer without exceeding 21. If you bet \$10, you'll win \$10 and get back your original \$10, totaling \$20.
• 2:1 Payout: Players can take an insurance bet if the Dealer's up card is an Ace. This side bet predicts the Dealer has a Blackjack. The insurance bet is usually half of your original bet. If the Dealer has Blackjack, the insurance pays 2:1, so you'll break even on this round. As an example, if you place a \$5 insurance bet and the Dealer has 21, you'll win \$10 from the insurance bet but lose your original bet amount.
• No Payout: A "push" happens when the player and Dealer have hands of the same value, incurring a draw. In this case, no one wins or loses, and your original bet is returned to you.

Blackjack Side Bet Payouts

Many Blackjack variants also offer side bets, like Perfect Pairs or 21+3, which come with unique payouts, perfect for players looking to blend high risk with high rewards.

Side bets offer higher potential payouts but with a significantly higher house edge, making them a double-edged sword.

Here's a breakdown of the most common Blackjack side bets and their payouts.

Perfect Pairs

The Perfect Pairs side bet focuses on the first two cards dealt to the player. This bet wins if the two cards form a pair (same rank). The payouts vary depending on the type of pair:

• Mixed Pair: Two cards of the same rank but different colors and suits. This payout is 5:1.
• Colored Pair: Two cards of the same rank and color but different suits. The payout for this side bet is 10:1.
• Perfect Pair: Two cards of the same rank, suit, and color. This is the most valuable pair, paying out at 50:1.

21+3

The 21+3 side bet is based on your first two cards plus the Dealer's up card. This bet pays out if these three cards form a "poker hand."

• Flush (three cards of the same suit): Typically pays 5:1.
• Straight (three consecutive cards of any suit): Pays 10:1.
• Three of a Kind (three cards of the same rank): Pays 30:1.
• Straight Flush (three consecutive cards of the same suit): Pays 40:1.
• Suited Trips (three cards of the same rank and suit): This is the highest payout at 100:1.

The Lucky Ladies side bet focuses on the player's initial two drawn cards, with the goal to get 20 exactly.

• Unsuited 20: Two cards that total 20 but aren't the same suit. Typically pays 4:1.
• Suited 20: Two cards totaling 20 and are of the same suit. Typically pays 10:1.
• Matched 20: Two Queens of the same suit, paying at 25:1.

Odds of Winning Blackjack

The odds of a player winning at the Blackjack table are as high as 42.22%. The Blackjack house odds are 49.1%, with the probability of a draw being 8.48%.

Since the Return-To-Player (RTP) rate of Rivalry's Online Blackjack games by Evolution Gaming generally hovers around 99.29%, you'll stand to get some money back, proivded you use basic strategy and critical thinking to minimize the house edge. This RTP is consistent across most of Evolution Gaming's Blackjack variants, including Speed Blackjack and Seven Seat Blackjack.

Some other Blackjack games, like Lightning Blackjack or Free Bet Blackjack, have a slightly lower RTP due to their additional features and side bets.

If you want to play Blackjack with the highest RTP possible, use a basic Blackjack strategy like card counting, avoid side bets and risky decisions, and stick to classic Blackjack variants to maximize your gains.

Despite the high RTP, Blackjack will always have the randomness factor that comes into play. Always remember to practice responsible gambling, like managing your bankroll and setting yourself a limit before you start your Blackjack session.

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House Edge in Blackjack

The house edge represents the casino's mathematical average over players in any given casino game, whether it's Blackjack, Baccarat, or something else. This edge represents the average return of each bet the casino expects to keep in the long run.

With Blackjack, the house edge is typically lower than other casino games, making it a popular choice for players looking to make money. However, please be aware that the house advantage still ensures the casino will profit over a long period.

In a standard game of Blackjack, the house edge will hover around 0.5% to 1% when players use a basic strategy. For example, for every \$100 bet, the casino expects to make a profit of \$0.50 to \$1 on average.

Factors Affecting House Edge

Several factors can influence the house edge in Blackjack, including the following:

• Rule Variations: Some casinos may add rules that increase or decrease the house edge. As an example, if the Dealer has to hit a soft 17 (a hand with an Ace value of 11), the house edge increases by 0.2%
• Player Decisions: While the house edge assumes players practice perfect basic strategy, players who make rash decisions based on "gut feelings" or don't study the deck may inadvertently increase the house edge.
• Number of Decks: Some Blackjack variants may have a different number of decks compared to traditional Blackjack. Games with fewer decks usually have a low house edge, as card counting is more effective and reduces the likelihood of specific outcomes.

Understanding the house edge in Blackjack is crucial for players who want to maximize their chances of winning and beating out the Dealer odds. By playing games with more favorable house rules and using strategies, players can minimize the house edge out of the casino's advantage and tip the player odds in their favor.

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Popular Blackjack Variants

Courtesy of Evolution Gaming, Rivalry offers several Blackjack tables to suit all players and budgets. We even have several games to accommodate different languages like Spanish and Portuguese!

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Final Thoughts

Remember, Blackjack will ultimately always be a game of random chance with luck involved, even for the most skilled players. While you have no control over the cards you're dealt, you can control how you play them and the decisions you make to stand, hit, or split. Armed with the knowledge from this guide, you should now be in a better position to make the most from every hand, knowing the odds at stake. GL HF, and may your next hand be a winner!