Does blackjack have the “best” odds for the player?

Copyright © 1994 – 2017By Michael Dalton All Rights Reserved
FAQ 1: Originally published in Volume 4 Issue 2 of Blackjack Review Magazine
RETURN TO THE BLACKJACK FAQ

Yes! Actually, it depends on the rules of the game and the skill of the player. A single deck game with Las Vegas Strip (LVS) rules and double after splitting (DAS) allowed actually gives the player a 0.1% advantage. This assumes, of course, that the player uses the “correct” basic strategy.

It is not often that you will find casinos offering games with the above rules, but they do occasionally surface. The Frontier casino in Las Vegas offered this game for several years while they were on strike. The games were always busy and the Frontier earned a reputation as being the local card counter’s hang-out.

Theoretically, the game of blackjack can offer the player the best odds in the house. Compared with the next best gamble, the craps pass line (and don’t pass line) offer players a 1.4% disadvantage. Blackjack players would have to look long and hard to find a blackjack game with a casino edge as high as this. If you ignore your typical “double exposure” type games and other high casino edge blackjack variations, the worst blackjack game that a player might run into would be an 8-deck game with double on 10 and 11 only, dealer hits soft-17 and no resplits. Casino advantage? … only about 1%! Generally, as long as naturals are paid at 3 to 2, this game is probably better than any other in the casino.

But unlike craps, which requires only a knowledge of where to place your bet, blackjack requires skill. Players must have memorized basic strategy and be willing to place more money on the table when called for in double down and split situations. It is no wonder that casinos continue to offer this game. The continuous flow of inexperienced new players and players who refuse to follow basic strategy increase the casino’s advantage upwards of 5% or so. And, if you believe in published “win rate” figures casinos are winning over 10% of all money wagered at blackjack tables across the country.

CASINO ADVANTAGES
VS BASIC STRATEGY PLAYERS

1-dk LVS & DAS -.1%
1-dk LVS +.0%
1-dk D10 & H17 +.4%
2-dk LVS & DAS +.2%
2-dk LVS +.3%
2-dk D10 & H17 +.7%
4-dk LVS & DAS +.3%
4-dk LVS +.4%
4-dk D10 & H17 +.8%
6 / 8-dk LVS & DAS +.4%
6 / 8-dk LVS +.5%
6 / 8-dk D10 & H17 +.9%
Double Exposure (Typical) +1.1%

LVS = Las Vegas Strip rules where you can double on any two cards and the dealer stands on Soft-17.
DAS = Double After Splits allowed.
D10 = Double on 10 and 11 only

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