You may have heard that live blackjack players can get an advantage against the house by counting cards. While this is true for some players, they can’t do the same thing while playing online because the virtual deck of cards is shuffled after every deal.
But smart online blackjack players can find ways to gain an edge against the casino through proper strategy, finding games with the best rules, and taking advantage of bonuses.
The only way you can hope to overcome the house edge while playing blackjack online is by reducing the edge as low as possible. This requires two steps. The first step is by playing the perfect strategy on every hand.
Fortunately all you have to do is pick up a strategy card or print off one of the many found online. On each hand you compare your two starting cards with the dealer’s up card and follow the instructions.
Each specific rule is either favorable for the casino or for you. The second step is finding games that offer as many favorable rules as possible. By finding the best rules you can reduce the house edge to as low as a half percent.
Here’s a list of rules that are favorable for the player:
• The dealer stands on a soft 17.
• The fewer decks the better for you.
• Double down on any two cards.
• The more times you can split the better.
• Only play games where blackjack pays 3 to 2.
Find a game with as many of these rules as possible and use the best strategy every time you play.
Most online casinos offer sign-up bonuses and many offer a host of other bonuses for existing players. These bonuses often seem great on the surface, but blackjack players are often left out. Most online casino bonuses are designed for slots players and don’t allow play at blackjack or other table games.
But when you can find a favorable bonus that allows blackjack play to clear you can play with an advantage against the house.
Here’s what to look for:
• The bonus must specifically state that you can play blackjack to meet the clearing requirements.
• You must find a cashable bonus. Many bonuses are sticky, and can only be played with, not withdrawn. These bonuses are deducted from your balance before you can take your money out, so they won’t help you overcome the edge.
• The play through requirements must be low enough so you can clear the bonus with enough left on average to leave a profit. The following example shows you how to determine the potential profitability of a cashable bonus.
You find a bonus that’s cashable, allows clearing while playing blackjack, matches 100% of your deposit up to $200, and requires 40 times play through to clear. You deposit $200 and receive the bonus, making your total bankroll $400. You have to wager at least $16,000 to clear the bonus.
If you’re able to play at a table with a half percent house edge and you play every hand using perfect strategy here’s the simple way to determine if the bonus lets you play with an advantage.
Multiply $16,000 times the half percent house edge to see how much you’re expected to lose while clearing the bonus. If it’s less than $200 you’re playing with an edge.
$16,000 x .005 = $80
This means your expected value is a profit of $120.
It’s important to understand that the edge is based on the long run and in the short term you may win more or lose. You have to find these situations over and over in order for the long term expected value to be realized.