Blackjack Payouts and House Advantage

Chips on a gambling table in a casino.

If you are a total novice when it comes to playing blackjack, you will almost certainly be unfamiliar with the blackjack payouts available to you. Within this page, we’ll explore the blackjack odds you can expect at various tables. With this explanation, you should be able to pick the right online blackjack game that minimises the blackjack house edge and maximises your betting bankroll.

First and foremost, let’s take a look at a standard game of blackjack. It’s important to understand the payouts of the original game first before we move on to any of the popular blackjack variants available online.

Basic Blackjack Payouts Revealed

  • Winning a hand against the dealer
    Blackjack is an even-money card game at its core. If you bet one unit per hand, you will win one unit per winning hand against the dealer. This payout is known as a 1:1 return. You’ll win one unit for every one unit you bet – plus your initial stake will be returned to you.
     
  • Doubling down and winning a hand against the dealer
    If you double down a hand to win against the dealer, the payout ratio will be the same (1:1). You’re simply doubling the number of units you bet per hand.
     
  • Landing a blackjack
    If you are fortunate enough to land a blackjack – an ace and a face card – you will get one of two blackjack payouts, depending on which table you sit at. There are tables that offer 3:2 blackjack odds or 6:5 blackjack odds.

    The former obviously offers a higher payout, but we’re increasingly finding that online casinos are offering 6:5 blackjack more readily. That’s because 6:5 blackjack payouts significantly improve the game’s edge in favour of the house. In fact, it adds a further 1.39% to the blackjack house edge by playing 6:5 blackjack games.

How Does the Blackjack House Edge Work?

Let’s say for example that you sit down and play at a 3:2 online blackjack table. You bet £10 on your hand and are subsequently dealt a blackjack. The dealer only has 14. You receive a payout of 3:2 on your £10 wager. To calculate, divide three by two and multiply it by the size of your wager. In this case – 1.5 x £10 = £15.

Now let’s run through the same example had you played at a 6:5 online blackjack table. You receive a payout of 6:5 on your same £10 wager. To calculate, divide six by five and multiply it by the size of your wager – 1.2 x £10 = £12.

This means that for every blackjack you win at a table offering 3:2 blackjack payouts, you’re earning £3 more per £10 bet. That equates to a 30% difference, which is a significant amount when extrapolated over the long term.

When it comes to the blackjack house edge, you should also look carefully at the rules on double down. If they state that you can only double down on hands valued 10 or 11, the house edge rises by 0.25% . The house edge also increases depending on how many decks of cards are in play. The more decks used, the bigger the house edge, due to the greater number of variables in the dealer’s card shoe.

There are other rules in blackjack that can reduce the blackjack house edge. Let’s take a look at the other rules offered at some tables and how they can improve your statistical chances of winning:

  • Dealer standing on ‘soft’ 17
    Additional 0.22% towards player edge
     
  • Early surrender
    Additional 0.60% towards player edge
     
  •  Resplitting aces
    Additional 0.04% towards player edge
     
  •  Late Surrender
    Additional 0.02% towards player edge

Even if you’re able to find a table with one or two of the above rules offered, it all adds up to increase your winning potential.

It’s also important to take side bets into consideration at certain blackjack tables. Although side bets may offer something different from the norm, they can also eat into the game’s house edge further still:

  • 21+3
    The 21+3 side bet first appeared on the blackjack tables of the Las Vegas Hilton back in 2001. This wager paid out based on your first two cards and the value of the dealer’s up card. The house edge of this side bet played using four, six and eight decks is 4.24%, 3.24% and 2.74% respectively.
     
  • Perfect Pair
    The Perfect Pair side bet allows you to bet on the likelihood of your hand being the same as the dealer’s hand. A Perfect Pair is when your two cards are the same value and suit. A Coloured Pair is when your two cards are the same colour and value. A Red/Black Pair is when your two cards are the same value, regardless of colour. If three of the four cards dealt to you and the dealer are the same value and suit, you will win the 100:1 maximum payout. The house edge of this side bet using four, six and eight decks is 21.50%, 12.54% and 8.05% respectively.

All You Need to Know about the RTPs of Blackjack Variations

As we’ve already touched upon, the house edge of blackjack games vary depending on the rules and side bets offered. Let’s look at some of the most popular blackjack variants and the return to player (RTP) percentages available:

  • European Blackjack (99.38% RTP)
    Played with two to eight decks of 52 cards, players are dealt two cards face up, with the dealer dealt one card facing up. The face down card is dealt at the beginning of the dealer’s turn, after all of the players have made their decisions.
     
  • Progressive Blackjack (56.10% RTP)
    Played like a classic blackjack game, Progressive Blackjack tables contain one unique feature – a side bet that must be placed to be in with a chance of landing the progressive jackpot.
     
  • Blackjack Switch (99.42% RTP)
    The brainchild of card game pioneer Geoff Hall, players can switch between two pairs of cards in Blackjack Switch. The payout for blackjack is 1:1 rather than 3:2 and the dealer automatically wins with blackjack, regardless of whether you have blackjack before the card switch.
     
  • Spanish 21 (99.60% RTP)
    Played between six and eight decks of cards, all cards with a value of 10 are removed from play.  Dealer stands on a soft 17, late surrender and insurance are available.
     
  • Free Bet Blackjack (98.96% RTP)
    Another blackjack variant devised by Geoff Hall, Free Bet Blackjack allows players to double down and split for free. The trade-off is that if the dealer hits to 22, all bets left standing push.

Blackjack Payouts: The Bottom Line

If you want to ensure you get the best blackjack odds when playing online blackjack, be sure to find games that offer 3:2 blackjack payouts. Look closely at the RTP percentages offered by your chosen blackjack games. Try to choose ones that offer an RTP or 99% or better, unless you really enjoy the side bets of your chosen variant. Another way to assess a table game is to find out what its house edge is. Numbers closest to 0% indicate a better game for the player. But whichever game you choose, be sure to manage your betting bankroll responsibly. Don’t risk too much of your bank on one or even a few hands. This way you can enjoy a fun session at the tables with reduced risk. Don’t be afraid to use any of the basic strategy blackjack charts either, as they can help guide you with your in-game betting decisions based on the scenario of your hand value and the dealer’s.

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Did you know?

The typical payout for blackjack (21 on your first two cards) is 3 to 2. Yet, some casinos have introduced a 6 to 5 payout rate. The difference might not appear to add up to much, but it is a lot more difficult to come out ahead in a game that pays at 6 to 5.

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Heather Ferris is the CEO & Founder of Vegas Aces, with over 15 years of experience in the casino industry. She’s also an adjunct professor at UNLV, as well as a table games consultant. Heather has been writing articles and making videos about the casino industry for a decade and her marketing business helps new table game inventors break into the industry.

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