When it comes to casino games, the house always wins but not all the games have the same house edge and blackjack is among the first ones. The game is played between the dealer and one or more players, with the latter being given the initiative, while the dealer enjoys some perks to offset the disadvantages. In addition to calculating the house edge, players need to be aware of critical percentages such as the chance of hitting a blackjack, or the advantages of surrendering or purchasing insurance.
Drawing first is not an advantage
Contrary to popular belief, having the initiative in this game is not an advantage, because if the player busts he loses regardless of what the dealer does. Both the player and the dealer have a chance of 28% to the bust which translates into a chance of 8% for both of them to surpass the 21 threshold in the same hand. By employing the right blackjack strategy, players can mitigate the odds and decrease the house edge from the massive 8% to well below 1%. Card counting strategies can further decrease these numbers, but they work better in land-based casinos and they are not foolproof.
There are some actions that can help players offset the house edge, and some inherent advantages that blackjack gives to players as a counterbalance for the fact that they draw first. While the dealer only wins the amount wagered by the player, the latter will have his profits increased 3 to 2 if he gets a natural blackjack. Players can also double down when they feel that their odds of winning the hand are better, and even split pairs to double their chances of winning the hand. Furthermore, players can stay at 16 while the dealer is forced to hit on the same value and can only stay on soft or hard 17.
The difference between household and house edge
Players are almost obsessed with the idea of accurately calculating the house edge, and tend to ignore an equally important number which goes by the name of household. This is the counterpart of the most famous house edge and it is essentially the amount that the casino keeps and it is affected by variance. At least in theory, the household leads to higher gains for the casino if the player stays at the blackjack table for longer periods of time and keeps wagering the same amount.
Players who do nothing to offset the house edge, will leak money on the long run without even realizing it and sit out with less money than they came. By using perfect basic strategy time off their time and avoiding perils such as the purchase of insurance, players can easily decrease the house edge to 0.5% the absence of a strategy and greed are the main errors in the game of blackjack, and outside factors that leads to the dramatic increase of the house edge.