Figuring How Blackjack Rules Effect Odds

Math is not the most favored aspect of a casino game. I can completely understand this—math was not my favorite subject in school years ago. But thankfully the math involved with blackjack is not that hard.

Yes, I know, I said the M-word in relation to blackjack. But it is true and it the aspect of the game that players tend to ignore. But there is math in blackjack—and I am not talking about card counting or adding up your hand total—and it is not as difficult as you might think.

In fact the math that I am talking about for blackjack, it does not even really involve you having to mess with numbers in your head. All it really needs for you to do is to apply math reasoning. I am talking about blackjack rules and how they affect your blackjack odds.

Your blackjack odds are about your opportunity to make money from playing blackjack. When your odds are up it means that there are more opportunities to make a profit from the game. And likewise, when your odds are down it means you have less opportunities to make money.

So how do you figure out if the rules are good for your odds without carrying around a calculator? Because we all know that calculators are not ‘in’ this season in regards to casino attire.

Look at the house rules. Then think about whether they benefit you or not. If they benefit you, then good. If they give you less room to work your blackjack magic, then bad.

For example, players can only double down on 9s and 10s. If you are familiar with basic strategy then you know that the most opportunities to double down happen when the player has a hard 11. Obviously if you cannot double on a hard 11 it means your opportunities have been cut back, which brings your odds down.

Or if you are not familiar with basic strategy—and shame on you if you are not, and you should get familiar with it—think about it this way: doubling only on 9s and 10s means that you cannot double on anything else, and you know there are more hands in blackjack that are NOT 9s or 10s. The math reasoning there is that 9s and 10s are the minority of the hands in blackjack that you could be dealt. And since being allowed to double down on a couple of hands as opposed to the majority of hands, it stands to math reason that only being allowed to double on two hands is bad for your blackjack odds when compared to a table that let’s you double on more hands.

The point is that it does not take a calculator to figure out if a rule is good for your blackjack odds or not. You can figure if a rule is good for your blackjack odds or not just by using some math reasoning.