Blackjack is a mathematical game at its heart. It is one of the few games in the casino that can mathematically be beaten. Of all the math to consider, the probability of getting a blackjack is among the most important. Getting more blackjacks means that you will up your profits over the long run.
Chasing the Blackjack Payout
Like many gambling table games blackjack requires you to make a starting wager. A basic win will result in a 1-1 payout of that starting wager. Bet $5 and get $5 if you win. Bet $50 and get $50. What makes blackjack interesting is that we have a variation to the payout not found in other table games. That variation is the payout for a blackjack.
When you are dealt a natural blackjack the payout increases to 3-2 in most games. So, bet $5 and you’ll get back $7.50. Bet $10 and you’ll win $15. A natural blackjack is rewarded with a payout that is greater than even money.
Now, remember that this only applies to a natural blackjack. You must be dealt an A-10 to start. Also, the dealer cannot also have a blackjack. That would be a push unless you have opted to take insurance. You are only paid even money on totals of 21 that are made by acting on your hand.
Because of the extra payout it helps to know the probability of getting a blackjack. Also, you should avoid playing blackjack games that offer less than a 3-2 payout for winning blackjack hands. Some casinos have started to offer 6-5 on some games. This is not in your favor.
Getting Blackjacks Is Not As Random As It Seems
There is an element of luck to all forms of gambling. There is also an element of skill. It is also true that a house edge in a gambling game is dependent upon being able to generate random results from a hand.
Yes, the cards that you receive are random. It is also true that mathematics and probabilities play a role. The reason for this is that blackjack is played with a standard deck of cards that does not change. There are a specific number of tens in each deck and there are a specific number of aces. Therefore it is possible to compute the probability of getting a blackjack.
The actual numbers are not what is important here. Let’s just state them and get them out of the way:
- Single deck – 4.83%
- Double deck – 4.78%
- Six decks – 4.75%
What you should pay attention to is the decline as more decks are added. This should tell you that you should prefer to play in a games that use fewer decks. The bad news is that live casinos rarely offer single deck games anymore, and only some offer double deck games. The double deck games are usually higher in limit, forcing many smaller players out. You may also find that blackjacks in a single or double deck game are paid at 6/5 instead of 3/2. This is to the advantage of the house.
Raising Your Chance of Getting a Blackjack
Let’s state again that the probability of getting a blackjack involves the first two cards only, and only an A-10. Hands of 21 made any other way are not considered as a blackjack, and they are not paid out at 3-2.
There is one place where you can play single-deck blackjack without fail. It is also a place where you can play blackjack for as little as $1 per hand. That place is an online casino. We think this gives you a better chance than you would have in some live casinos if you were not counting cards.
Virtual blackjack games online shuffle the cards after each hand. So, each hand is completely random. That means that you are starting each hand with a 4.83% chance of being dealt a 21. That is your probability of getting a blackjack.
It doesn’t sound like a very big number, and it isn’t. But compared to the other forms of the game which use multiple decks it is better. True, you will lose some of your edge when playing online because you are not able to count cards in this situation. But you can still put together some good winning streaks. Best of all, you’ll get paid 3-2 on your blackjack even when playing with a single deck.
Many things go into success at the blackjack table. One of these is an understanding of the mathematics and probabilities of the game. If you want to learn more about the probability of getting a blackjack, you should consider reading books like Beat the Dealer by Edward O. Thorp. They do a far better job of diving into the math than we ever could in the present discussion.
Blackjack Probability for Those Who Hate Math
We understand. There are plenty of you who don’t want to dive into difficult math just to play a game of cards. You don’t have to. It is possible to win at 21 without knowing the probability of getting a blackjack. You just need to know that getting that 3-2 payout is critical to your success.
If there were no 3-2 payout in blackjack, beating the game in the long run would be almost impossible. Card counting changed the way people played blackjack because it gave them an advantage. It gave them the knowledge of when to raise their bets. If you raise your bets when the deck is in your favor, you will have more money on the table when you get a blackjack. That means a bigger 3-2 payout and larger profits.
That should be enough to tell you to stay away from 6-5 blackjack games, and it should also convince you to stay away from the side bets that casinos often introduce to blackjack games.
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