One of the main reasons gamblers enjoy playing blackjack so much is because of the low house edge available in the best games. Even the blackjack games with the largest house edge are still relatively low compared to other games and bets available in a casino.
The house edge in blackjack doesn’t matter to all players but it probably should. It’s a way to play longer and possibly have a winning session. What gambler doesn’t want that?
Understanding The House Edge
The house edge is the mathematical advantage the casino has in a game over time. The house edge is important for the casino and the player.
When the house edge is calculated the casino operator can estimate the amount of money they should win from the player over time. There will be ups and downs in the short term but the house edge will hold true over millions of games played.
The house edge lets a player know if they’re playing a good, bad, or ugly game. The higher the house edge, the worse the chances of winning over time. The lower the house edge, the better the chance that the player can play longer and possibly hit a hot streak.
This doesn’t always mean a casino will make less from a low house edge game than a high house edge game. For example, more high rollers play baccarat since it’s a game with a very low house edge (1.06% on banker bet, 1.24% on player bet). Casinos often make more on baccarat than others because players risk more per game.
Games like 3 Card Poker and Let It Ride have a large house edge but fewer players and even fewer high rollers. Comparatively, those games don’t make as much money for the casino.
Blackjack is right in the middle. The number of blackjack players far outweighs every other game in the casino. There are also a good amount of blackjack players that are high rollers. Between the two there’s a lot of money for casinos to make from blackjack.
Finding The Best Blackjack House Edge
Casinos have been gradually changing the blackjack rules and increasing the house edge for years. Additionally, many casinos are offering blackjack games with different rules in different parts of the casino.
High limits rooms often have the blackjack games with the lowest house edge in a casino. High traffic areas like party pits often have blackjack games with the highest house edge. In between these two areas, there still might be multiple games with different blackjack rules.
Typically, blackjack games with the lowest limits have the highest house edge. This isn’t always the case but this happens frequently at the most popular casinos. For example, $10 blackjack on the Vegas Strip often pays 6:5 for a natural blackjack. That same minimum will pay 3:2 for a natural blackjack.
As you’ll see in a second, this is the most important thing for finding a blackjack game with a lower house edge.
House Edge For Different Blackjack Games
Here are a few things that affect the house edge of a blackjack game. Finding the most player-friendly rules should make the game more enjoyable.
- 3:2 vs. 6:5 payout for a natural blackjack: This rule has the largest impact on the house edge of a blackjack game. Playing a 6:5 blackjack will increase the house edge more than any other rule. Always try to play 3:2 blackjack if it’s in your budget.
- The number of decks: The house edge will increase the more cards in play. Play the game with the fewest decks as possible to keep the house edge lower. Most casinos have a double deck or shoe games with six or eight decks. If the rules and limits are the same, the double deck game is the better play.
- Splitting Pairs: New blackjack rules will sometimes limit when bettors can split cards in order to increase the house edge. Look for the following rules to lower the house edge – split on any two cards, double after splitting and resplit Aces. These are all separate rules. The house edge will be lower if more of these rules are available.
- Dealer Hits/Stands on 17: Most blackjack games today have the dealer hitting on soft 17. This increases the house edge. Dealer standing on 17 isn’t always available but check to see if it’s in your favorite casino. Every little bit helps.
- Surrender: This rule isn’t available in every casino but it’s another way to lower the house edge a little. Basic Strategy cards will inform bettors on when the optimal time to surrender.
Why Look For Low House Edge
There are two main reasons to play the blackjack game with the lowest house edge.
- Extend the length of play
- Make money
Playing a blackjack game with a low house edge doesn’t guarantee a bettor will make money. The blackjack games with a lower house edge should allow a gambler to play longer. The lower house edge should allow for fewer big downswings over time.
The combination can be gambling nirvana. Playing blackjack with a lower house edge should keep the player’s bankroll active for a longer period so they can hit a hot streak and possibly walk away as a winner.
Again, there’s no guarantee that a player will win a lower house edge game. However, playing a blackjack game with a lower house edge can extend play and give the player a better opportunity to make some money.