Those who play blackjack live or online blackjack for real money should be concerned with the subject of blackjack win percentage. We are talking about more than the house edge here. We are speaking in practical terms of how many sessions you should realistically expect to win. Even more important, how many sessions do you need to win in order to make a consistent profit.
There are multiple things that factor into this discussion. House edge plays a role, but it is not the only consideration. Here is a closer look.
Blackjack Win Rate According to the Odds
Let’s begin the discussion of blackjack win percentage by sticking with the average odds. The probability of an overall win in blackjack is 42.22%. The chance of a tie is 8.48%. The chance of a loss is 49.10%. This is about what you would expect with any game of chance in a casino. Blackjack is generally better for the player than any other casino game.
The stats that we just mentioned are by hand, not by session. Each time a new hand is dealt, the probability starts over again. Extending that out over time the percentages pretty much hold. The house edge in blackjack can be lowered to about 0.5% when you apply perfect basic blackjack strategy.
On the surface these numbers look pretty bleak. If you are only winning 42% of the sessions you play, failure is the only realistic result. You won’t even win enough to break even when you play.
Creating a Positive Win Percentage in Blackjack
The goal of any blackjack player should be to win money. Even the recreational player who only plays once in a great while should not have the expectation of losing consistently. To win you are going to have to find a way to create a positive win rate. There are many ways to define a positive win rate, but the simplest definition is this: you win more blackjack sessions than you lose.
Let’s say that you play an average of ten blackjack sessions per week. If you are only winning two of those sessions, you will probably have a negative win rate. Sure, you may make enough in those two sessions to even out your losses from the other eight, but that will only last so long.
At ten sessions per week, you need to be consistently walking away from the blackjack table with a profit at least six times. Yes, that is hard to do. Yes, there will be times when you fail to meet the mark. But falling short should be the exception to the rule.
The first step in creating a positive win rate is to master basic blackjack strategy. As we mentioned earlier, using perfect blackjack strategy alone is enough to lower the house edge to 0.5%. The key here is using perfect strategy. You cannot use blackjack strategy on a whim or when you feel like it. You have to be consistent in your application of strategy.
Basic strategy should be intuitive when you play. You should practice enough that you are able to execute the proper play in every situation without thinking about it. Online blackjack is a good way to practice. Some online casinos have free games that you can play. Others let you play for just $1 per hand. This will allow you to simulate an actual game.
The smartest blackjack players know that card counting is the other way to lower the house edge. Some card counting methods when combined with basic strategy can actually put the odds in your favor. The downside is that you really can’t use card counting in an online game unless you are playing with a live dealer.
In live blackjack, card counting will greatly improve your chances of winning the majority of your blackjack sessions. But not even card counting can keep you from taking an occasional loss.
Dealing With Losses and Getting Back on Track
In blackjack you are going to have some losses from time to time. When these happen, it is crucial that you quickly get back on track. You cannot let the loss get you down and begin making poor blackjack decisions.
Players learn to deal with losses in different ways. Most would agree that they realize the blackjack win percentage is the product of a long game. It is not reckoned in a day, a week, or even a year. If you play enough blackjack there will be periods when you can’t seem to do anything but lose. When you look at the year, things may take on a different appearance.
There is something to be said for momentum when it comes to playing blackjack or other gambling games. You build momentum by stacking one winning session on top of another. This increases your confidence and it makes you a better overall player.
In closing, always remember to keep good records of your blackjack sessions. You need to know how often you are winning and losing. When you see your blackjack win percentage drop, it is time to examine your game and address any possible weaknesses that you uncover.
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