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The Maths That Makes Blackjack Tick

November 6, 2023

To one degree or another casino games, whether they are played offline or online, can all be broken down into odds, probabilities, and mathematical equations.

Here we take a look at the numbers and sums that make the classic table game of Blackjack tick, so that players can better understand exactly what mathematical forces are at play when they come to place their bets.

Odds Percentages of Outcomes

During a Blackjack game the maths gets underway as soon as the croupier deals the first card.

Of course, the best opening hand that any player can be dealt in Blackjack is the magic 21, with an ace being paired with a ten or a face card.

The odds of this happening stand at about 4.8%, although players should keep in mind that the dealer has the same odds of dealing themself the top opening hand.

Players are usually advised to stick on card pairings worth 17 or above, because the likelihood of busting with the next card equals 69% or higher.

38.7% is the percentage chance that a player will be dealt an opening hand that totals from 2-16. This means that 39 out of 100 is the number of times a player will be called upon to make a decision, about whether to stick with what they have, or to try and improve their hand by asking for another card. 

Customer playing

Brushing up on Maths skills can help any gamer

Probabilities of the Dealer Going Bust

While there is always the danger of going bust if a player asks for an extra card or two, the same applies to the dealer who is obliged to deal themselves another card if their opening hand totals 16 or less.

This means that if the dealer is dealt a 6 in their opening hand then they are likely to go bust 42 times out of a 100, or on 42% of such occasions.

Different Blackjack Variations Boast Different Odds

All the maths and numbers we have written about so far have been connected to the original form of Blackjack.

But there are now a great many varieties of the classic game, some of which boast slight tweaks to the original’s format, and which therefore change the maths involved.

This means it is always good to double check what the numbers connected to a game are when going to tackle variants like Premium Blackjack, Live Power Blackjack, and Live Quantum Blackjack to name a few.

Counting Cards Skews Maths in a Player’s Favour?

In famous Hollywood movies like 21, players seemed to find a way of flipping the odds in their favour and to beat the house at Blackjack by counting cards.

It is fair to say that for online Blackjack players it is impossible to count cards as RNG blackjack games are dealt from a full shuffled deck and the shoe is shuffled at regular intervals in Live Games. Furthermore, the maths stays the same no matter who is dealing and who happens to be seated at the virtual table.