Winning at the casino isn’t always easy, but you can improve your chances when you take the time to learn and apply what we call black jack basic strategy. As with all casino games, black jack has a built in statistical advantage, or ‘house edge’ that ensures they maintain a profit. In black jack this small advantage comes from the player losing in the case where both the player and dealer bust.
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Black Jack House Advantage
In black jack the casino expects to earn 2.5% of all money wagered by the average player. Take Player A for example; he is betting $25 per hand and can play 75 hands per hour. After playing for 3 hours he has wagered a total of $5,625. This is called ‘turnover’ and 2.5% of this is $140. This is the casino’s ‘theoretical win’. If you ever wondered how they determine comps, it is figured as a ‘reinvestment’ percentage of this value – but player rewards is for another article all together.
Many years ago a group of mathematicians produced a computerized black jack simulation with millions of hands to determine the most ‘profitable’ decision for a player to make in every situation. They hoped to find a profitable solution – or at least a break even one. They failed to do this, but they did discover what is referred to today as ‘Black Jack Basic Strategy’. Following what they discovered will ensure the casino is getting as little out of you that is mathematically possible based on the games rule set.
Each gaming jurisdiction has regulations that govern what rules a casino can impose and within the same casino you may even see different tables offering different rules. Each rule variant will alter the base game odds – more on this later.
Depending on the rules the casino is offering you, the basic strategy laid out in this article will reduce the house edge to 0.5% – 1%! This makes black jack the ‘cheapest’ game on the casino floor for the player. Let’s go back to Player A from above – remember the casino was expecting to win $140 from him? With basic strategy he can reduce his expected loss to $28! That’s a pretty cheap night out isn’t it? Who knows the pit boss may even throw in a 2 person buffet dinner.
With all things being equal the fewer decks you are playing with the smaller advantage the house will have over the player.