Getting a Blackjack and Payouts

Being dealt a natural blackjack is the best feeling in the game. The awesome feeling comes from receiving the best payout in the game without doing a thing. The only thing second to it is winning with an underdog hand because you go from disappointment at being dealt a crappy hand to elation at winning.

Anyway. Blackjacks.

How often can you expect to be dealt a natural blackjack?

The funny thing about this is that the answer is about once in every twenty one hands. Ironic, yes? But that is the average, once in twenty one hands. Granted there will be times that a player is dealt more blackjacks in twenty one hands, or it might be more than twenty one hands until a blackjack is dealt. The statistic is just the average.

But are you really getting the best payout for that blackjack?

Well, that depends. What blackjack game are you playing in? Is it a traditional game of blackjack or is it one of those new-fad single deck games? If you said it was a traditional game, then you fine, keep on playing. But if you answered that you have been playing with those hip and trendy single deck games let me tell you something—you are paying to play in those games.

The reason is all in the payout. These in-the-now single deck blackjack games come with a payout of 6-5 for a natural blackjack.

Let’s say that you are playing $10 a hand and are playing 100 hands per hour. In two hours of play, which is pretty average, you would have been dealt about ten blackjacks based on our aforementioned stat. And based on that stat, you would have only won $120 at that single deck table whereas you would have won $150 at traditional table. You just paid $30 to play in a single deck blackjack game. Was less money worth it?

How Card Counting Odds Work for the Blackjack Player

If you look at explanations of card counting and which cards favor whom, you might begin to wonder something: if high cards, such as 10s, Jacks, Queens, Kings and Aces, favor the blackjack player then they also favor the dealer right?

Well, in truth, yes, they do favor the dealer too. Yes, it is just as likely that the dealer will be dealt a blackjack as you. But there are a few things built into the game of blackjack that, when combined with card counting, bring better odds for players when the remaining cards are rich in high cards. Today we are going to look at how payouts impact odds when the deck is rich in high cards.

Let’s say that you have been counting cards and the remaining deck is now rich in high cards. For right now we are going to say that the dealer is dealt a blackjack and you have not been dealt that pleasure. The dealer collects everyone’s wagers. For him this is an even money collection.

Now let’s say that you are the one who is dealt the blackjack and the dealer is on the losing end. As the recipient of a natural blackjack you get the special payout. And by special payout I mean the 3-2 payout instead of a 2-1 payout.

To compare the two, when the dealer is dealt a blackjack he only makes one chip for one. But the player wins three chips for every two that he wagered. It comes out to the player blackjack giving the player an extra chip that the dealer does not get.

What this means is that the odds from payout lie with the player. Blackjack Odds are based on opportunity to make money, to make a profit. And since the player would make more off of a blackjack than a dealer would, the odds from card counting and a remaining deck rich in high cards puts the odds with the blackjack player.

Difference Between Blackjack and 21 Games

Perhaps on the surface there is no discernable difference between blackjack and 21 games. But obviously there is. Or I would not be about to tell you about the differences now would I?

So, yes, there is a difference between blackjack and 21 games. Actually there are only two differences, but they are very glaring when you stop to think about them. In fact, once you know them you can never un-know them and they will be forever in your mind’s eye.

Ready? Here we go.

Think about blackjack for a moment. Only blackjack. The very basic game that you first learned when you decided that you wanted to make money from a casino game. You know that you wager on one hand. You know that the only plays you have are to hit, stand, double down, split a pair or surrender. You also know that a ‘blackjack’ is made up in the first two cards you are dealt: a card with a value of 10 and an Ace. You also know that you are given a 3-2 payout for being fortunate enough to be dealt 21 in your first two cards—the price tag on luck for the casino.

That is blackjack at its very essence. And that is the only blackjack game. Ever.

Everything else is a game of 21.

Think about it. There are some games out there that have many of the same rules, but you are not paid 3-2 for a natural blackjack. You might get a 6-5 or a 7-5 pay out on a natural blackjack. And this is a problem because you are not getting the traditional payout on a two-card 21. And since the entire point of blackjack is to be dealt a natural and receive a 3-2 payout, changing the payout ratio changes the game.

Hence any change to the payout for a two-card 21, otherwise known as blackjack, a natural or a natural blackjack, is a change to the very essence of the game of blackjack. And changing the essence of a game makes it not that game anymore. In this case, changing the essence of blackjack no longer makes it a game of blackjack and it must be called a game of 21.

And that, folks, is only one difference between blackjack and a game of 21.

Payouts in Super Fun 21

Super Fun 21 is a blackjack game that is a variation of the original game form. There are a few different house rules—some good and some bad. But of all the variations, which I still do not recommend playing, Super Fun 21 is the one with the lowest house edge of all the different blackjack games.

First let’s take a look at the house rules that have changed a bit.

First off all player blackjack wins. There is no topping a player blackjack, not even for the dealer. Even if the dealer also has a natural blackjack, he will still lose to the player—not a push, but a full win.

However, to counter this nice happy house rule, blackjack will only pay even money, or a 1-1 payout. The only blackjack that pays differently is if both the Ace and the 10 value card are diamonds. Then the payout is 2-1.

You might be thinking that settling for even money payouts and the occasional 2-1 payout is a fair trade for having a blackjack that wins no matter what.

You would be thinking wrong, and you would be settling.

Of all of the blackjack that can happen in a game, only one in every sixteen blackjack will be made up of two cards that are both diamonds. That translates into 93.75% of those blackjacks not having diamonds, and a 93.75% chance that you will only be receiving even money for your blackjack.

Over time the amount of money lost in even money and the occasionally 2-1 payouts will add up. Let’s say that you have played enough $10 rounds to have 100 blackjacks. In a regular game of blackjack those $100 blackjack would have given you $1,500.

But according to Super Fun 21 rules, and rounding the 93.75% to 94% to simplify math, you would be making $940 in even money payouts and $120 in the Super Fun 21 diamond blackjack payouts; that brings you to a grand total of $1,060. That is a $440 difference that you lost from playing Super Fun 21. Imagine what you would lose if you were wagering more than $10 per round.

So despite that with a specialized basic strategy played perfectly that can reduce the house edge to 0.8%, the money lost is still just too much for this blackjack variation.

Blackjack vs. Dealer’s Ace

There will come a time when you will be dealt a natural blackjack. You will be elated as you will always be when one is dealt to you. But then the dealer’s up card is dealt and it’s an Ace. Bummer.

At this point the dealer will offer you even money rather than insurance. On the surface this sounds like it’s different than insurance, I mean it is a different question right?

The truth is that there is no difference between even money and insurance. Even money is the special name that casinos give insurance for natural blackjacks in hopes that you will feel all the more threatened by the dealer’s Ace and, therefore, feel more inclined to accept even money. But you don’t want to take even money because it’s a fancy way of insuring your blackjack.

First a quick reminder of what insurance is. It’s offered when the dealer has an Ace up. An insurance bet cost half the amount of your wager; so a $10 wager would have $5 insurance. Insurance pays 2-1. But all insurance really is is a side bet on whether the dealer’s hole card is a 10 or not.

If the dealer does have a 10, you will lose the round but collect on your insurance bet, which in the above example would mean you would be paid $10.

Now let’s look at even money. Even money is a 1-1 payout. Let’s again say that you wagered $10 and were dealt a natural blackjack against a dealer’s Ace. If you were to take even money you would only get $10. You will have thrown away your 3-2 payout.

Even money is like chickening out. And the casino is hoping that you will because it means that they really aren’t paying you anything considering your wager was the same as what you’re getting paid. Yes, even money does guarantee you a payout but your blackjack is worth more.

Just because the dealer is showing an Ace doesn’t mean that he has blackjack.

But what happens if he does? You will have to push and you would have your wager returned to you—which is the same as an even money payout.

So the best thing for you to do, and add this to your blackjack strategy, is to decline even money. This way if he doesn’t have blackjack you beat the dealer and get the 3-2 payout. And even if the dealer does have a natural blackjack, the money you would wind up with at the end of that round is the same amount as an even money payout.

This way you still have a shot at the 3-2 payout with the push/even money amount as a backup. This way you aren’t throwing away the chance at some winnings.