Blackjack Odds

Blackjack is one of the few casino games which are actually… beatable, or at least in theory. This is because according to the laws of probability, a player can actually predict some of the outcomes based on a very simple system of chances. Every Blackjack game in the world comes equipped with a neat little ‘strategy card’, which helps new players manage their play-style a little better.

Actually, the element of ‘free choice’ should be completely removed from this particular gambling mentality. A player must be like a computer; closely following a mathematically predetermined set of actions, and not relying on hunches, guesses or interventions from the supernatural. Some of the best players in the world rely more on a series of probable outcomes, than on any single hand (professionals, rarely put a lot of money on any single hand). A player whose only goal is to win (and not play card games for the same of playing card games) must understand the inner workings behind the strategies, an make the most of them in a situation where he/she is uncertain of what to do.

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The Deck

Like any good blackjack will tell you; the key to understanding any winning Blackjack strategy is understanding the deck first. There are 52 cards in each particular deck (the total number of decks doesn’t matter in this example), 13 different cards total; each card having 4 variations of itself (4 suits: Clubs, Spades, Hearts and Diamonds) 13X4=52. So the chance of drawing any single card out of a 52 card deck is 1 in 52, right? Wrong! Let’s not forget that in Blackjack, the suits of the cards are completely irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if you have the four of clubs, or the four of hearts, you still have a 4. Now we can see that we actually have a 4 in 52 chance of drawing any single card. -this makes 1/13, or about 7.69%. Also, there is about ~27% chance that you will draw a 10 card (because there are 14 ten value cards in each 52 card deck) 14/52 = 7/26.

The Odds

We will demonstrate how odds work by giving you this simple example. What would you say are the chances of the dealer going bust if he has a 7 showing? Lets’ look at the numbers. If the dealer’s whole card is a 10 (the dealer has little over 30% chance of drawing a 10 card) , then he will go bust if he draws a card, whose value is greater than 4 (because 7+10+4=21). There are a total of 9 cards that could bust the dealer (5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K), thus we can say that the dealer has a 9/13 chance of busting, which is about 69,9%. If the dealer’s Hole Card was a 9, then we do the same calculation, only find out that the percentage is actually going down: to bust, the dealer must now draw 8 cards instead of 9 (8/13 = 61.5%).

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The Player

Ideally, a player should always consult his strategy card before making a move. Good hands to hit on are the ones whose total value it 9,10 and 11. This is because regardless of what you hit (7,8,9,10 etc.), you can never bust. Even if your total is 11 and you hit an Ace, you can soften you hand, to give a total of 12. The chances of hitting a 10 and scoring a blackjack are around 28%, which is very, very good for the player. But be mindful when going down too much: let’s say you have a 5 as your total value. The most you can do with a single hit is if you draw an Ace (5+11=16), but here is when it gets tricky – if you take another hit, the chances of busting while you are at 16 are 71,6%! In this situation, it would be wise to look at the dealer’s face-up card, and employ the same strategy as before. Basically, the dealer must always have a better chance of busting than you.

More Articles Covering Blackjack

Blackjack Basics
Blackjack Rules
Blackjack Variations
Multi Hand Blackjack
Single Deck Blackjack Rules
Vegas Downtown Blackjack
Vegas Strip Blackjack Rules
Atlantic City Blackjack
How to Hit a Hand
Splitting Hands in Blackjack
Insurance in Blackjack
Surrender in Blackjack
Standing a Hand
Blackjack Double Down
Splitting Hands in Blackjack
Blackjack Odds
Blackjack Strategy for Playing Hands
Blackjack Cards and Hands Value


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