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Blackjack Odds & Probability Explained - Learn How They Affect Your Play

To master the game of blackjack, you must first have a deeper understanding of the game’s odds. Knowing how casinos gain an edge over players and understanding your chances of landing a blackjack will help you improve your likelihood of walking away from the table with a win in your pocket.

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Image of Blackjack Odds & Probability

This guide will tell you all you need to know about blackjack odds and probability so that you can bring your betting game to a whole new level.

Let’s get started.

Blackjack Odds and House Edge 

Many people use odds and probability as interchangeable notions, but that’s not the case.

Let’s start by understanding what the odds are. They show us the ratio between the number of wanted outcomes and the number of ways in which the desired result will not occur. In other words, they are a reflection of the probability of having a winning or a losing hand, if you look at it in terms of blackjack. 

Let’s take single-deck blackjack as an example. The odds for getting a jack of hearts from a deck composed of 52 cards is 1 in 51, or 51:1. This tells us that there is only one desired outcome and 51 other ways in which it won’t happen. 

The odds can be affected in many ways. Having extra decks in the shoe, lowering the payouts in games, and implementing certain rules, such as banning doubling down after splitting, can all alter the odds in a blackjack game. 

The house edge is also closely related to odds and probability, but its significance needs to be clarified. Namely, the house edge represents the built-in advantage of any casino game that will ultimately ensure players lose more than they win. 

For example, consider a simple thing as flipping a coin. The true odds for each side will be 1:1, right? However, the casino will pay the winnings at odds of 0.9:1, and the difference is credited to house edge. If we transfer it to percentage rates, you will get a 10% house edge, or in terms of dollars, for $1 wagered, you will lose 10 cents.

The initial house edge in most blackjack games is 8%. However, by applying the basic strategy, you can lower the house edge to a mere 0.5%, which is why this casino classic is so favored among most players. 

The odds of winning at blackjack can easily be as high as 42.22%, while the chances of losing are 49.10% since 8.48% of all blackjack games end in a push. 

Probability Explained 

Image of Blackjack Probability Explained

Probability is a separate branch of mathematics with a very specific purpose — to show the likelihood of an event occurring. In terms of blackjack, it’s the probability of winning or losing with certain cards in your hand. 

You can calculate the probability if you divide the number of winning outcomes by the number of all possible outcomes.

To use the cards analogy again, the probability of drawing a king of clubs from a fresh 52-card deck is 1 in 52, or 1/52 = 0.0192, or 1.92%. If you compare drawing just that particular king to any of the four kings, you get a probability of 4 in 52, or 4/52= 0.0769, or 7.69%. 

Since probability is best seen in percentages, it’s evident that the likelihood of landing any king is far greater than getting a particular king. 

Blackjack Probability Charts

We have already pointed out that the chances of winning can change depending on the rules of the game, the dealer’s up card, and the cards removed from the deck. 

We will start with the basic table showing the probability of getting a blackjack based on the total value of certain cards: 

Hand totalProbability
214.8%
17–2030%
1–1638.7%

Now let’s see the probability of a dealer busting and how card removal affects it. For starters, the math says that the initial lower cards for the dealer favor the player, as opposed to higher cards.

Here’s a table with the probability of a dealer busting with a specific card in a soft 17 blackjack game. 

Dealer’s up card Probability of dealer busting with this card on a soft 17 game
Ace11.65%
235.30%
337.56%
440.28%
542.89%
642.08%
725.99%
823.86%
923.34%
10, J, Q, K21.43%

How Do Blackjack Variations Impact the Odds and House Edge (Blackjack Odds Table)

Whether the dealer hits or stands after a soft 17, the number of decks, side bets, or if blackjack is paid in 3:2 or 6:5 odds are just some of the factors that impact the odds of winning and the overall house edge. These rules change the gameplay and therefore affect the odds. 

The following table will show you how these changes in the rules affect the house edge. 

Blackjack rulesImpact on house edge
No surrender+0.08%
8 decks instead of 1 deck+0.61%
6:5 payout instead of the standard 3:2+1.3%
Dealer hits on soft 17+0.21%
No doubling down after splitting+0.14%
Doubling down only allowed with a total of 10 or 11+0.18%
Aces can’t be re-split+0.07%
Hitting on split aces not allowed+0.18%
5 Card Charlie-1.46%

Final Thoughts 

Blackjack odds and probability are an intrinsic part of the game, and the better you understand them, the more likely you are to make the right choice.

Your best bet is to master the basic blackjack strategy and use it to to lower the house edge to its minimum, which is 0.5%. You won’t beat the casino, but you could give yourself a better chance of winning more

FAQ

What is the probability of winning a natural blackjack? The probability of winning a natural blackjack is 4.8% in most standard games.
What are the odds of winning in blackjack? The odds, represented in percentages, are 42.22%.
Can you lower the house edge in blackjack? Lowering the house edge in blackjack is only possible by implementing the basic blackjack strategy.
How does the number of decks affect the house edge? The more decks are used in the game, the higher the house edge gets. Consequently, the lowest house edge can be found in single-deck blackjack games.
Which blackjack variant has the lowest house edge? Blackjack Switch has the lowest house edge, and it’s only 0.17%.

About the Author

Author Hi all! My name is Jayson Peter, and I am the Chief Editor here at Casino USA. I have always been a huge fan of casinos, but I noticed that there are not a lot of websites out there that discuss the gambling industry in enough detail, so that’s how the idea for CasinoUSA.com was born. With my extensive knowledge of the industry and the help of my team, I am ready to give you an insight into the exciting world of casino gambling in the United States.