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Blackjack Odds

Blackjack is a card game mostly seen in casinos. It can also be informally played with friends or a group. This card game works on a very simple premise. A player is first dealt with two cards which is called a hand. The goal is to get a hand that will total to 21. A player with a hand nearest to 21 wins the game and takes the pot. There is an option to add another card to the hand to make it three cards. This is where strategy will come in for a player to analyze his move and decide whether to draw a third card or not. A third card may bust the hand, meaning the total value goes over 21. If he settles for his current hand of two cards, the total value may not be close enough to 21 to make him win.

The game is simple yet very tricky. The house edge is normally inclined to the casino but winning the game is not impossible. Blackjack has gained worldwide popularity over many centuries that so many researchers, mathematicians and statisticians have taken immense efforts in analyzing the odds and probabilities of blackjack. If players will take time to thoroughly understand the mathematics and science behind this seemingly simple card game, it could help improve their game and increase their chances of winning a bet.

Some people are just leisure players who just sit on a blackjack table to play and be entertained. The more serious players take time to study the game and fully understand the mechanics. It includes understanding the odds, and more importantly memorizing the odds so he could make wise moves or decisions during his game. There are calculations behind a house edge percentage. If one learns how to compute for a casinoís house edge, he could also calculate his probability of winning.

The odds can be explained through an example. First of all, it is given that a deck is composed of 52 cards. There are 4 cards per value, 13 values in all. Thus, there are four 1s, four 2s, four 3s, and so on. The odds are the chances a specific card will actually be drawn or played. For example, what are the chances that a 10 will be drawn? To be able to answer the question more accurately, a player should know two things. First, there are four 10s in a deck. And second, how many 10s were already drawn from the deck? If three cards of 10 were already played, then the odds or probability of drawing the last card of 10 from the deck is greatly reduced.

In blackjack, a cardís value is the face value for 1 to 9. Ace can be treated as 1 or 11 whichever is more favorable to the hand. Jacks, queens and kings are all valued as 10 points. With this in mind, a player could mentally note at once that there is a much greater probability of drawing a card with 10 points given that 20 out of 52 cards have a value of 10. This strategy is called card counting technique.

Players today will find it much simpler to study the odds of blackjack because there have been many avid players before them who painstakingly studied the game and established a blackjack odds chart. Study and memorize this chart as it clearly illustrates the logic behind blackjack.

The house advantage is typically at 8%. This advantage is gained offhand because the dealer is always the last player to act in a game. In any blackjack game, players around the table are first to wager and decide their moves before a dealer takes his turn. By then, it is possible that some players will bust (meaning the value of the hand goes over 21) while the dealer could make more informed decisions based on his playersí hands.

Studying the odds is basic strategy. From 8%, the house advantage can be significantly reduced to as low as 0.5%. Using the card counting technique can also help tip the house edge to a playerís advantage. Blackjack tables before actually have card counters. It was soon removed because players could manipulate the odds by counting cards. Today, players with sharp memory could still mentally note the cards coming up in the deals.

As much as computing for the odds of winning, it is equally important to learn how to compute for the odds of busting depending on the current hand value. In other words, given a specific hand value, what are the chances that it will bust? If the odds of busting are high, it will be better to surrender or fold and lose only half of the bet. If the odds of busting are low, it might be a wise move to hit or draw a third card.

The odd chart of busting a hit shows the percentage of busting given a hand value. If a hand value is a perfect 21, a hit will bust 100% of the time. Obviously, 21 is the ceiling point winning value so any additional value to it will bust the hand. A hand value of 20 will bust 92% of the time on a hit. A hand value of 19 will bust 85% of the time on a hit. For hand values of 11 of less, always hit because there is 0% chance of busting. The highest point value that could be drawn is a 10 so it is impossible to bust.

Another interesting blackjack odds chart is the two-card count frequency chart. It shows the chances of being dealt two cards that will give a specific hand value. Thus, it calculates in percentage how often a 21, 17 to 20, and 1-16 hand values will show up. The most important thing to note is that a hand value of 21 could show up only rarely at 4.8%. If a player goes through the chart flow, he will see that hand values ranging from 1 to 16 occur frequently at 38.7%.

Another blackjack odds chart shows the probability that a dealerís final hand will result to a specific value. It is further interesting to note that a dealer has 4.83% chance of coming up with a 21.

So the next time you think that it is impossible to win in blackjack, study the odds of the game and you will definitely improve.

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