Blackjack House Edge
The house edge at blackjack is about one-half of 1%. In the long run, you can expect to lose about that percentage of the total amount bet, for example, $5 per session, where a session is 100 hands at $10 per hand. Note that you can win or lose much more than the average in any particular session.
2019 Update: The Current Blackjack News no longer reports information on games that pay less than 2:1 on blackjack (for example, 6:5 games). Only true 2:1 payoff games are listed. Therefore, you need to be extra careful to make sure you’re not sitting down to a 6:5 game in the casino.
The exact house edge depends on the playing rules in effect. To find out the house edge for a given set of playing rules, go to this website:
Wizard of Odds Blackjack House Edge Calculator
Click the buttons to specify the rules, and the “Optimal results” field is updated with the house edge for that set of rules. The house edge ranges from about 0.2% to 0.7% for games that have a 3:2 blackjack payoff. Avoid games that pay only 6:5 on blackjack, which have a house edge of about 2%.
If you don’t know the blackjack rules in the U.S. casino where you plan to play, go to this website:
Stanford Wong’s BJ21
Scroll down until you see “Current Blackjack News” and click the “Sample Issue” button. This opens the Current Blackjack News sample newsletter. Type Ctrl-F and enter the name of the casino to search for it in the newsletter. You can find out the number of tables, the house edge, number of decks, shuffle point, minimum and maximum allowed bet, and the specific playing rules: blackjack payoff, dealer hits soft 17, double after splitting allowed, and so on.
The blackjack basic strategy decisions vary slightly, depending on the playing rules. To find out the exact basic strategy for a given set of rules, go to this website:
Wizard of Odds Blackjack Basic Strategy Calculator
Use the pull-down menus to specify the rules, and the color-coded strategy table is automatically updated with the perfect strategy for those rules.
You might find the perfect basic strategy too difficult to learn. In that case, you can try learning a simplified strategy, such as the Super-Easy, Simple, or Great strategy at BlackjackCalculation.com:
Easy-to-Memorize Blackjack Basic Strategy Chart
The simplified strategies are easier to learn, but they have some incorrect decisions that increase the effective house edge. The Super-Easy, Simple, or Great strategies are successively more accurate but harder to learn. For example, you can learn the Super-Easy strategy in one hour, but its incorrect decisions will cost you an extra $4 per hour, based on playing 100 hands per hour, $10 per hand.