Blackjack Bob amused by house edge confusion | Night life


In reality, giving players options to hit, stand, split, and double down, as well as paying extra on blackjacks, is how the house gives players enough to make blackjack playable.

“Good,” Bob said. “We don’t need to go down that rabbit hole again. What interested me this time was the source of the house edge and that someone who played long didn’t understand where it came from.

“In other games it’s usually more obvious. Take roulette. With double zero, there are 38 numbers, so the odds against a single winning number are 37-1. The win is only 35-1. The difference between 37-1 and 35-1 is the house advantage.

I added that the house edge comes from paying less than true odds on any game, including blackjack. You have a less than equal chance of winning a hand, but with the exception of two-card 21s, the winnings are just even money.

Bob asked, “What other games are more subtle in how they manage to pay less than real odds? I know craps and roulette from having played them for a long time, but I don’t play everything. You know I stick to blackjack.

Some players might think that the source of the advantage is not obvious on poker-based games such as Three Card Poker or Caribbean Stud. In the ante game against the dealer portions of these games, the edge comes from the concept of a qualifying hand. If the dealer does not have a designated minimum hand, only antes are paid and play bets are pushes. Not all winners get paid, which leads to the house edge.

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Raymond I. Langston