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BlackJack Probabilities How To Figure Them Out

Aug 22, 2008
A good blackjack player understands the probabilities of blackjack and adjusting your play so you have winning strategies. You don't have to reinvent the wheel. The basic blackjack chart created in 1956 and adjusted later for different table rules is available almost everywhere. It reduces the house advantage from 5% to 1%. That's huge over the long haul.

There are mathematical reasons for each move in the chart. For instance, if you have a hard 16 and the dealer shows anything 7 or higher, you always presume that they have a 10 buried and take a hit. The probability of the game is that you'll bust in 62% of the cases, but you go down with a fight. If the dealer has 2 through 6 showing and you have the same 16, you also presume that he has a 16 and you pass, hoping that he gets the probable 62% bust. When you have a 12 and the dealer shows a 2 or a 3 you need to hit. There's only a 31% chance of either of you busting.

Card counting also takes advantage of the odds of the next card. You increase your betting when you card count and the count is a positive. Add one for every 2,3,4,5 or 6 and subtract one for 10, Jack, Queen, King or Ace. If you have a 6-deck shoe and the table used up about four decks, divide that number by 2, since there's five decks left.

If the count is positive, that means that more little cards are out and big ones are coming. This changes the statistics. Since the odds of bigger cards is greater and more favorable to the player.

The probabilities of a better hand if the 5 cards are removed increases for the player by .67%. If you remove aces, it increases for the house by .59%. This fact led The Wizard, to create a system that counts 5's and Aces. Assign a plus to 5's and minus to aces. When you're positive, you increase the bet, negative go back to a single unit.

Mathematicians create most of the blackjack probability charts and strategies because math rules the outcome of the cards over the long haul. In single deck blackjack, you only have so many combinations. In multi-deck games the odds or probabilities change. They use theoretical equations to arrive at their answers and then find ways to make them useful on the gaming floor. These probabilities are over the long haul, and in short-play, may not always work out the way you expect.
When you sit down to a blackjack table, the probability of winning is 42.43%. The probability of losing is 49.09% and that of a draw is 8.48% with no basic strategy. It would seem that if you lose 6 hands in a row, your next hand should be a winner.

It would seem that way, but isn't. Blackjack probabilities are long-term numbers. That means that over thousands of hands these hold true. While the odds of losing 19 hands in a row are 1 in 1,459,921, it does happen. There are no "sure things" when it comes to a single session of cards. That's why they call it gambling.
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