How to Beat the House Edge in Blackjack


Blackjack is one of the few casino table games where the player has a real chance to beat the house. This is because, unlike most other casino card games, players can increase their bets when the odds are favorable and make decisions based on information they gather as they play. These facts, coupled with some solid math, give players a unique opportunity to turn the tables on casinos and win real money.

In the first few decades of its existence, blackjack was king in most casinos. After all, it was the only game in which smart and disciplined players could be guaranteed to beat the casino. This made it a magnet for intellectuals, mathematicians and those who like a challenge. But even the most skilled players can’t beat every casino game, and a combination of factors has led to blackjack losing its position on the Vegas Strip. Competition from baccarat, sports betting and even resort fees has reduced blackjack’s share of the gambling dollar.

The game of blackjack is a table game in which the dealer deals two cards to each player and then to himself. Each player can decide to “hit” (receive additional cards) or “stand” (keep their current hand). When all players have decided what to do, the dealer will reveal his face-up card and then if he has an ace, offer insurance bets to the players. Insurance bets pay 2 to 1 on a dealer’s blackjack, while the original bet loses if the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack.

After all the players have received their cards, the dealer will collect the bets and then shuffle the decks before dealing another round. The dealer will then deal himself two cards, one facing up and the other down. He will then check his hole card to see if he has a blackjack, which pays 3 to 2. If the dealer has a blackjack, he will collect all bets except those of any players who have a blackjack, which pushes (neither side wins).

In most live games, the shoe holding the blackjack cards is shuffled frequently. Once around 50% of the cards have been played, the shoe is swapped for a second one, which has also been shuffled. This makes it tough to count cards, but some players still try. These counters keep track of the concentration of aces and 10s in the deck, increasing their bets when they are high and decreasing them when the concentration is low. Whether or not counting actually works in practice is another story, but it certainly helps some people beat the house. It’s not for everyone, though. If you’re not careful, the house edge will eat into your profits. That’s why it’s important to understand how blackjack works and learn about the rules of the game before you play. Good luck!