Blackjack Odds & Probabilities

In order to be successful at blackjack, players must have a firm understanding of the odds and probabilities associated with the game. The ability to compare the odds of creating certain hands as well as the house's advantage can lead to more wins and a larger bankroll.

The House's Advantage

The first thing any player must consider as far as the odds and probabilities associated with blackjack is the advantage the house has over the players. The average house advantage in blackjack is about 8%, and this is because the dealer is the last in the series to act. If a player chooses to learn and implement strategies and betting techniques, however, they can lower the house edge to as little as 0.5%; this is a much lower number and provides a much better opportunity to win.

Odds of Winning with Certain Hands

Once players are aware of the house edge, they must then understand the odds of achieving certain hand totals. As an example, the odds of being dealt a natural blackjack--or a two-card hand with a score of 21--are a mere 4.8%. The odds of being dealt a two-card hand with a value of two through 16 is 38.7%, however, and these hands leave plenty of room for the player to make decisions. The odds of getting a two card hand with a score of 17 through 19, then, are about 56.6%. These hands require no further decisions as the player must stand.

The Dealer's Up-Card

When the dealer's up-card is a five, this is when there is the highest probability of the dealer busting; the player can make decisions about his or her own hand based upon this statistic because the player advantage jumps to 23.9%. However, when the dealer's up-card is a value of nine or above, the player's advantage falls back into the negative territory and decisions must be made to compensate.

By understanding the mathematical probabilities and odds associated with blackjack, players can decide whether to make aggressive or passive decisions that may lead to a favorable outcome.