As with every card game, there is an element of luck. However, it is what you
do with the cards that are dealt to you that separate the lucky players from the
smart players. This is where a solid card strategy comes into play. However,
before you can even contemplate learning about strategy, you need to know what
odds you are facing.
All that you have in blackjack are the cards that dealt to you, the dealer's
up card and what many players forget - the cards that the other players are
holding. The other players' cards may not seem that important, but if you are
hoping to hit a high card and you see that all the other players are sitting
with high cards, this means that there are fewer high cards left in the deck/s.
Knowing how to play your cards will help you ascertain whether you should hit,
double down, surrender or stand.
Odds at a Glance
Using a blackjack game that uses multiple card decks as an example, you will be
expected to reach around a 0.50% house edge if you follow a simple blackjack
strategy. This means that you are expected to lose around 5c for every €10 you
bet. This is not an exact science, however - but this is what has been
calculated both mathematically and over time with trial and error. This also
does not mean that every player will lose 5c for every €10 bet. It means that on
average this is how it will pan out. One player could win €100 where another
player could lose €100.05. The house edge would still be at 0.50%
Many online casinos offer you the option of surrendering. This means that you
are allowed to throw in your cards if you believe that you do not have a winning
hand and the casino gets to keep half your bet. However, the house edge for the
casino (when looking at surrendering in isolation) sits at around 7% for casinos
- far too high for any blackjack player who plays the odds to contemplate. There
is always a place for surrendering, but this should be done sparingly. When you
use the surrender to your advantage then it can drop the house average down to
How the Odds Play Out
You should look out for online casinos which make the dealers stand on a soft
17. When a dealer is allowed to hit on a soft 17 it increases the house edge by
You should also look out for what the odds payouts are. Some casinos may only
offer 1:1 for blackjack, but they offer other bonuses to counter-balance this.
However, in Spanish blackjack, for example, the casino may offer very good
blackjack odds but the tens are removed from the deck, thereby reducing the
ten-ranked cards by up to 25%.
It is imperative that you understand all these odds properly before embarking
on any blackjack game.