Odds of Getting Blackjack

Blackjack has been sought out by the more strategy-minded casino players in North America since Las Vegas began offering it in the 20th century. In the early days, people played according to their instincts and enjoyed having a chance to beat the dealer and earn a payout. Over time, however, the game was perfected at the player’s end. In the 60’s, the ground-breaking book Beat the Dealer by professor Ed Thorp was published, and it changed the course of blackjack history. Thorp established optimal strategy based on Roger Baldwin’s earlier publication (The Optimum Strategy in Blackjack), and not long after, people were counting cards in live casino settings and gaining an edge on the casino. 

Casinos countered these exploits with rule variations. Additional decks were added to the shoe, and house-friendly rules, such as the dealer hitting on soft 17, were rolled out nation-wide. More recent updates, including decreasing the payout for landing blackjack from 3:2 to 6:5, have further disabled the player from gaining an edge on the casino.

At Bodog Casino, you can still play blackjack the old fashion way. We have games with one or two decks that offer a 3:2 payout for landing a natural. We even have a version of blackjack that has the dealer stand on soft 17 hands (see Double Deck Blackjack). To truly appreciate the impact of these rule variances, it’s best to understand how to calculate the odds of getting blackjack in any of our games.

What are the Odds of Getting Blackjack?

The blackjack odds are directly correlated to the number of decks in the shoe, and as you might expect, the fewer the decks, the greater the odds. If there’s just one deck, there’s a 4.82% of being dealt blackjack, and that number decreases slightly to 4.78% for the Double Deck variant. The most popular six-deck game has 4.74% odds of being dealt blackjack; the difference in odds may appear small, but it adds up over time. We’ll show you how we arrived at these numbers. 

Being dealt blackjack can happen in one of two ways. First, you can be dealt an Ace and then a 10-value card; conversely, you can be dealt a 10-value card and then an Ace. With the first possible route, there is a 4-in-52 (or 1-in-13) chance of your first card being an Ace in Single Deck Blackjack. With that Ace removed, the chance of being dealt a 10-value card (there are four Tens, Jacks, Queens and Kings in the deck) in a single-deck game is 16-in-51. When you multiply 1/13 and 16/51 together, you end up with a 16/663 fraction, which is the equivalent of 0.0241 (2.41% expressed as a percentage).

The second way to get blackjack involves being dealt a 10-value card first and then an Ace. The chance of getting that 10-value card first in Single Deck Blackjack is 16-in-52, which can be broken down to 4-in-13. The odds of landing an Ace as the second card is 4-in-51. You get the same end result of 16/663. When you combine the fraction from the first blackjack hand with the second, you get 32/663, which is 0.0482, or 4.82% expressed as a percentage. As you increase the number of decks, the advantage of having one of the unwanted cards removed from a 52-card deck is diluted. 

What is Blackjack Insurance?

One of the side bets offered in blackjack is the Insurance bet. This bet is available when the dealer has an Ace as the up-card and gives you the opportunity to protect your bet in the case of the dealer having a blackjack. If the dealer does indeed have blackjack, the bet pays 2:1, which is the equivalent of getting your bet back. 

The cost of the insurance bet at Bodog Casino is half of the original bet. That way, if the dealer beats you with blackjack, the payout will cover the money you staked, letting you walk away unharmed from losing to the dealer’s blackjack. More conversative bettors like to have this insurance to protect themselves. 

Savvy blackjack bettors typically steer clear of the Insurance bet, as it loses more often than it wins and has a considerable 7.4% house edge (for six-deck games). The only exception would be with the card-counting folks, who like to take Insurance bets when the shoe is rich with 10-value cards—a strategy that is not possible when you play blackjack online.

Which is Best for Beginners?

If you’re new to the world of blackjack, figuring out where to start can be daunting. Dodging the games with big “clawback” rules, such as the games that offer a 6:5 payout for blackjack or the eight-deck versions, is wise for anyone. After all, the more money you save, the more you will have to cushion the early stages of your blackjack journey, which is often the costliest. 

Playing online is incredibly valuable for beginners. All of our online games are available to play in Practice mode, which is essentially free play with a pretend bankroll. As you learn the ropes, you will inevitably make mistakes, so this removes the impact of those errors on your bankroll. In addition to having access to free play, online blackjack lets beginners play at their own pace and follow along with strategy charts. This no-pressure environment is just what beginners want as they test out the game and get familiar with the bets and payouts. 

In our casino, you will find 12 different blackjack games that include classics (Single Deck, Double Deck and standard six-deck) and twists (Zappit Blackjack, Perfect Pairs, Euro Blackjack). Stick with the classics as you get started and then you may eventually like to explore the more interesting variations when you crave something new. There’s always something fun to play in the Blackjack section of Bodog Casino, so check it out today.