For as long as blackjack has been around, there has been one question that repeatedly arises and perplexes players: why does the dealer always seem to come out on top?
The explanation lies in understanding the odds, the mechanics of the game, and, most importantly, the dealer's role.
Why Does The Dealer In Blackjack Have An Advantage?
In blackjack, the dealer holds a distinctive advantage, often referred to as the 'house edge'. This term, frequently misinterpreted as a guarantee of dealer victory, represents the built-in advantage that is part of the game. It represents the casino's average profit over time. It's calculated based on the odds of the dealer winning versus the payout if the player triumphs.
The Game's Rules Contribute to the Dealer's Advantage
A critical factor that bolsters the dealer's advantage is the game's rule that the dealer always acts last. Essentially, the dealer has the benefit of knowing all the players' final hand values before playing their own. This edge is further magnified by the fact that if a player 'busts' (exceeds 21), they lose immediately, regardless of their hand's value. So, the dealer only plays their hand against players who choose to stand.
Misconceptions about the Dealer's Advantage
Many blackjack players fall into the misconception that the game is skewed in favour of the dealer. While it's understandable, reputable casinos, both brick-and-mortar and online, ensure their casino games are fair and unbiased. Moreover, online blackjack games usually employ a device known as a Random Number Generator (RNG) to deliver unpredictable results, ensuring that neither the dealer nor the player can manipulate the game's outcome.
How Often Does The Dealer Win In Blackjack?
Grasping the odds of the dealer winning in blackjack can offer a more lucid insight into the game's mechanics. The odds can fluctuate based on the dealer's 'up card' (the card visible to the players).
Here's a rudimentary breakdown of the dealer's odds of potentially busting, contingent on their up card:
(Up-Card Value – Chances of Bust %)
- 2 – 35%
- 3 – 37%
- 4 – 40%
- 5 – 42%
- 6 – 42%
- 7 – 26%
- 8 – 24%
- 9 – 23%
- 10 – 23%
- Ace – 17%
This list assumes that the dealer adheres to the standard rule of 'standing' (not drawing more cards) on 17 or higher.
Why Is It So Hard To Beat The Dealer In Blackjack?
The perception that the dealer always triumphs in blackjack is primarily due to the 'house edge'. However, it doesn't imply that the dealer will always win. Multiple factors can influence the outcome of a blackjack game, including the player's comprehension of the game's rules, their strategy, and their decision-making skills.
The dealer's strategy, in contrast to the player's, is relatively straightforward and seldom changes. They must hit on 16 or less and stand on 17 or more, depending on the variant and rules.
Again, the fact that the player loses if they go bust or if the dealer plays their hand and ends up with a higher value can make it appear that the dealer wins more. However, it's important to note that this is because the player has more to overcome to win than the dealer.
Do Dealers In Blackjack Cheat?
The probability of blackjack dealers cheating is exceedingly low. Dealers are professional individuals who adhere to rigorous rules and are closely monitored to ensure that the game is conducted fairly.
Any suspicion of cheating could result in harsh consequences, including hefty fines and potential revocation of the casino's licence.
Again, the dealer has no need to cheat, as the casino makes money in the long run regardless due to the house edge.
How Do You Beat The House Edge?
The house edge in blackjack sits around 2-4%, but this can be lowered by implementing basic strategy effectively. Basic strategy cards can be found in casinos and online easily. They provide guidance on how to play your hand based on your current total and the dealer's visible up-card.
Implementing basic strategy effectively can result in the house edge being as low as 0.5%. However, it cannot eliminate the house edge entirely.
So, while it may sometimes seem like the dealer always wins in blackjack, it's important to realise that this is simply due to the house edge.
However, a solid understanding of the game's rules, coupled with effectively utilising basic strategy, can help to lower this house edge. But it's important to remember that it can never be fully eliminated, and blackjack is still a game of chance, no matter what strategy you use. So, please gamble responsibly.
*All values (Bet Levels, Maximum Wins, etc.) mentioned in relation to this game are subject to change at any time.