Dec

22

2015

# Strategy And Betting in Blackjack

Everywhere you look, house edges on casino games are listed by percent – 1.52 percent on place bets on 6 or 8 in craps, 5.26 percent in double-zero roulette, 1.06 percent on the banker bet in baccarat, and so on.

A reader asked me to translate that into dollars and sense for blackjack players. If you’re playing basic strategy, how much money of yours will the house keep? What if you’re just an average player who hasn’t memorized the strategy chart?

Let’s run some numbers, assuming a basic strategy player assuming a 0.5 percent edge, a second player a little fuzzy on the strategy who faces a 1.5 percent edge, and a weaker player facing a 2 percent edge.

Assume you’re betting \$10 per hand at a full seven-player table, playing about 50 hands per hour. Your risk is \$500 per hour. If the house rules yield a half-percent edge against a basic strategy player, that player’s losses average \$2.50 per hour. A player whose strategy spots the house a 1.5 percent edge loses \$7.50 per hour, and the player facing a 2 percent edge loses \$10 per hour.

Increase the bets to \$25 per hand, and average losses are \$6.25 for the basic strategy player, \$18.75 for the 1.5 percent player and \$25 for the 2 percent player.

Now assume you’re playing at a less busy time, with three players at the table averaging 100 hands per hour. The \$10 players risk \$1,000 per hour. Average losses are \$5 for the basic strategy player, \$15 for the 1.5 percenter and \$20 for the 2 percenter. If the bets are \$25 a hand, then average losses are \$12.50 with basic strategy, \$37.50 at 1.5 percent and \$50 at 2 percent.

Playing head-to-head with the dealer, the game moves in excess of 200 hands an hour. At 200 hands, the \$10 bettor risks \$2,000, and losses average \$10 with basic strategy, \$30 at 1.5 percent and \$40 at 2 percent. At \$25 a hand, it’s \$25 with basic strategy, \$75 at 1.5 percent and \$100 at 2 percent.

The bigger the bets and the faster the game, the bigger the dollars-and-cents difference between a basic strategy player and an average player.