Reduce Expected Loss Playing Blackjack

By | November 1, 2021

Blackjack isn’t the same casino game it used to be. There was a time not too long ago when a gambler could sit down at any blackjack game inside any casino and have a similar experience. Nowadays there are different rules, payouts, side bets, and a variety of ways to play the game.

There’s always been an element of strategy playing blackjack. Today there’s plenty to consider before even sitting down at a blackjack table. Choosing where to play blackjack isn’t as simple as you’d think.

In addition to finding the right game, players have to think about what to do when actually playing a blackjack game. Recreational blackjack players can reduce the house edge by learning how to play using perfect basic strategy. The casino will always have the advantage unless a player also learns how to count cards and spread bets correctly.

We’ve discussed tips for becoming a better blackjack player but that’s not the end of the story. No matter how skilled a player is, the casino will still have the advantage. There are a few things a blackjack player can do to reduce their expected loss.

Here’s the formula for finding the expected loss in a blackjack game.

(Number of Hands played x Avgerage Bet)x(House Edge for the game)

New blackjack games can sometimes make reducing the expected loss a little easier. Some of the tips will be common sense while others might sound a little outlandish.

Play The Best Blackjack Game

It’s always better to play the game available with the lowest house edge. There are different degrees of rules. While games that pay 3:2 when a player is dealt blackjack are best, there are rules that can make one game with this payout better than others.

The same can be said for 6:5 blackjack games. Even though we should always look to play 3:2 games, that’s not always possible. Play the best blackjack game available. This will reduce the house edge and expected loss as much as possible.

Sign Up For A Casino Rewards Card And Use It

Casinos aren’t in the business to give away things for free. While this is about signing up for a rewards card, you should never gamble just for comps. The points and comps won’t offer profit to a player at a blackjack game with a negative expected value. However, if you’re playing you might as well enjoy whatever perks the casino wants to offer.

Using a card then maximizing rewards will help a player slightly reduce the expected loss from playing blackjack.

Slow Playing Can Help

According to the Wizard of Odds, a player will be dealt 52 hands per hour at a full blackjack table. On the other side of the spectrum, a player will be dealt 209 hands if they play heads up against the dealer.

Dealers still control the pace of play at the blackjack table but a player can do little things to slow down the game. Even a reduction of one hand per house will bring the expected loss down.

The fewer hands a player sees the lower their expected loss will be. Playing at a full blackjack table should give a player a more enviable expected loss than playing with just the dealer since the game moves slower.

A player can further reduce the number of hands dealt by playing each hand slower. Taking sporadic breaks will also slow the pace of the table down. Restroom breaks and stepping back from the table can help reduce the number of hands per hour.

Thinking about the right plays or consulting a basic strategy card every now and again can also help reduce the number of hands dealt and the expected loss.

This isn’t something that should be abused but playing a little slower should only help a blackjack player slow the pace and reduce the expected loss.

Play Blackjack Games Without A Dealer

The newer electronic and video blackjack games allow players to enjoy the game at their own speed. Playing slow or skipping a hand or two won’t upset other players. Even though the cards even out over time, some recreational blackjack players believe that every move by every player will impact their game.

There are now plenty of ways to play blackjack without having to deal with misconceptions from other players:

  • Video blackjack (bartop or multi-games)
  • Individual or multi-player electronic blackjack tables
  • Stadium gaming blackjack

Many casinos offer a few different ways to play blackjack. Electronic and video blackjack games can deal faster than a human. Unlike blackjack games with a live dealer, players can more easily enjoy the game at their own pace.

This could lead to more accurate basic strategy plays that should reduce the house edge. Since a player controls when hands are dealt they can also slow play these games to keep the expected losses down. This is one of the overlooked values of playing a blackjack game without a live dealer.

Skip The Side Bets

Side bets typically increase the house edge of a blackjack game for the casino. Over time, the casinos will win more than the player does. Just stay away from these bets to avoid increasing your expected loss in blackjack.

Find The Right Pace For You

We all have different preferences when playing blackjack. I like a very slow game because I’m bad at math. Even though I know the right plays it takes a couple of seconds to add the numbers in my head.

Add booze to the mix and my blackjack game can be obnoxious to some dealers. I’m always slow and booze doesn’t help. A slow leisurely game with friends, booze, and a good dealer makes a perfect blackjack experience.

If I’m stuck playing a 6:5 blackjack game with friends, I’ll slow the pace even more and reduce my buy-in and bet per hand.

The strategy works for me but not everyone. Find a pace of play that works for your game today and tomorrow. Think about ways to make your blackjack experience as good as can be.

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