Is Blackjack a Fair Game?

Blackjack is known to be the fairer casino game with the lowest house edge. Let's learn more.

is blackjack a fair game?
Is Blackjack a Fair Game?

Blackjack is a very popular card game, widely played in casinos. It is largely a fair game because blackjack offers the best odds of winning for gamblers when compared to other casino games like slots and roulette.

Blackjack has an element of skill to it. Players play against the dealer. Several people can play the game at one time and instead of trying to beat each other, they are actually trying to beat the dealer. The player, whose hand comes closest to 21, without exceeding the figure, wins the game.

House Edge in Blackjack

House Edge, in blackjack, is the statistical advantage the casino has over the player. In any round of a blackjack game, at the table, the dealer is representative of the house or casino. As he acts last in a hand, he is able to see the other players' cards and identify the probable actions they will take or the potential mistakes they will commit. This way, he has an advantage over other players.

Blackjack, compared to other casino games, has a lower house edge, which is just 0.5%. The percentage is true for when players are using the basic blackjack strategy. For pro gamblers who are using and executing the more advanced blackjack strategies, the house edge can even go down to 0. Similarly, if the player is unable to implement a strategy or take the right decision at the right time, the house edge percentage can rise up to 2.

Average House Edge in Blackjack
The Average House Edge in Blackjack

What Are the Odds of Winning at Blackjack?

Blackjack has some of the best odds of winning among all casino games. In any round of a game of blackjack, the probability of an overall win is about 42.22%. The chances of a loss and a tie are 49.10% and 8.48% respectively. That being said, the odds of winning a single round of blackjack are quite unpredictable.

The odds of winning blackjack, when played over time, improve in favor of the player because he is able to implement strategies, apart from the basic one. Also, the variety becomes less making forcing the odds to even out eventually. That is why; blackjack is not only an entertaining game but a rewarding one for the long-term too.

Is Online Blackjack Rigged?

No, online blackjack and live dealer blackjack are not rigged. Both are as fair as blackjack is in land-based casinos. However, the challenge is that different online casinos have different rules, which players need to be aware of before they start. Also, the odds of winning a game of blackjack in an online casino are much less. This is because, in the online version of the game, the cards are shuffled after each hand, eliminating the possibility of card counting.

There are some gambling sites that allow playing multi-deck games with a cut card. However, they also deal with about 50% of the cards before reshuffling. And even with a 50% cut, the edge with card counting is essentially very low.

Does Having a Solid Blackjack Strategy Increase My Winning Odds?

Yes, a solid blackjack basic strategy does help in increasing the winning odds of the blackjack player. The basic strategy is a set of rules, laying down the optimal way of playing each hand dealt with the given information. The strategy brings into account the process of card counting. It is a mathematically correct way of playing every hand and reducing the house edge to less than 1%. Properly following a solid strategy ensure you are consistently winning while minimizing your losses.

However, the way modern blackjack is played, especially in online casinos, increasing the odds of winning consistently is a rare possibility. There are multiple decks, sometimes, more than 6 in a single round of the game. Also, the decks are reshuffled after every round, making card counting even more difficult. Even with all this, playing with the basic blackjack strategy in mind is the best way to go forward in the game. You can increase a bankroll from $100 to $1,000 when sticking with a solid strategy.

Do Blackjack Dealers Count Cards?

Blackjack dealers do not count cards mainly because there is precisely no need to do so. They just need to deal the cards knowing well that the house edge is in their favor. With the casino already holding a profitable edge at every table, it is unnecessary for the dealer to cheat for the house. Also, they are paid an hourly wage, which does not depend on how much profit the casino makes. And of course, no casino would institutionalize and reward such behavior of a dealer because that would be risky and foolish at the same time.

Apart from this, there are other reasons why it is highly unlikely for the dealers to count cards. For instance, the process would be extremely hard for them to execute. Keeping a count and deciding when and how to act will require a lot of concentration along with the ability to take almost rapid-fire decisions.

Blackjack Side Bets Are Unfair

Blackjack side bets are additional bets placed during a standard round of the blackjack game. They involve the process of predicting which cards the players and at times, the dealer will receive. Blackjack side bets are mostly unfair because they significantly increase the house edge, unlike the main game.

the house edge of blackjack side bets
The house edge increases with side bets in Blackjack.

The house edge gets larger because the returns do not reflect the odds of each of the bets coming in. Side betting does not involve any skill and is rather, simple luck of the draw. That is why; they are good for adding complexity to the game but should not be the main focus of any player's gameplay as such.

The three most common types of side bets are Insurance, 21+3, and Perfect Pairs. 21+3 is when the player plays a poker hand with two cards and the dealer's one up-card. This bet alone increases the casino's advantage by at least 3%. Some of the other side bet games give casinos, odds advantage of up to 15% too.

As a whole, blackjack is interesting and by far, a fair casino game that can reward players, only if they acquire a thorough understanding of the strategies and implement them at the right time.

This article was published on December 1, 2020, and last updated on October 21, 2022.