The great game of blackjack has changed a lot over the past 50 years. With so many players learning optimal strategies, such as card counting, adjustments had to be made. For example, many casinos in Las Vegas have changed their payouts for making blackjack. Some are now offering 6-to-5 odds instead of the standard 3-to-2. There are even games out there where it’s graded a push when the dealer gets exactly 22 points.
Bovada Casino doesn’t resort to any of these clawback measures. In our blackjack games, 22 points is still a bust and you’ll get paid out 3-to-2 for blackjack – provided the dealer doesn’t also have a “natural” 21. You can defend against this possible result by buying insurance, which pays out at 2-to-1.
But should you? In this guide, we’ll show you the blackjack odds for the games at Bovada, how the insurance bet works, and which blackjack games are best for beginners to play. In just a few short minutes, you’ll learn more about this game than most players will learn in a lifetime. You can start using that knowledge right away to help you get the most out of your blackjack experience.
What are the Odds of Getting Blackjack?
One of the most important things about blackjack that most newcomers don’t understand is how the odds change depending on how many decks are used. Each 52-card deck is identical, but if you’re playing Single Deck Blackjack, the odds of being dealt a natural 21 are at their highest; the more decks you add, the harder it is to be dealt an Ace and a 10-value card.
We’ll do the math for you. To calculate your blackjack odds in a single-deck game, all we need is to break down the two different ways you can get a natural, then add together their odds. Here’s the first possible way:
First card Ace, second card 10-value
The odds of being dealt an Ace with your first card in Single Deck Blackjack are 4-in-52, or 1/13. With that Ace, there are 51 cards remaining in the deck, and 16 of them are 10-value cards. That means the chance of your second card being worth 10 points is 16/51. Multiply those two fractions together, and you get 16/663, which works out to about 2.41%.
Next, we have the second way to get blackjack:
First card 10-value, second card Ace
This time around, all 52 cards are still in the deck before you receive one of those 16 cards worth 10 points, so the odds of that happening are 16-in-52, or 4/13. Take that card out of the deck, and you now have a 4/51 chance of getting an Ace with your second card. Multiply those together, and you get… the same 16/663 in this case.
Now all that’s left is to add those two ways of getting a natural. Voila, your blackjack odds are 32/663, or 4.83% once you round up.
Note: We’re ignoring the first card the Dealer receives after you get your first card. If you want to calculate your odds live as the hand is in progress, you need to account for the dealer’s up-card, and whether it’s an Ace, a 10-value card, or something else.
This process we used to figure out Single Deck Blackjack works exactly the same when you’re playing multi-deck games; Just use the right number of cards when you’re doing the math. For Double Deck Blackjack, the odds of being dealt a natural work out to 4.780% on average; for the standard six-deck game, it’s 4.749%, and for the eight-deck games, it’s 4.745%. Every thousandth of a percentage point matters, and eight decks are a bit harder to count live than six.
What is Blackjack Insurance?
The Insurance bet in blackjack is a side bet that you can make when the dealer’s up-card is an Ace. You have to place this bet at the start of your turn, before you make any play. At Bovada Casino, your insurance bet will be half the size of your original bet, and you’ll be paid out at 2-to-1 if the dealer makes blackjack.
When you buy insurance at Bovada, the dealer will “peek” at their down-card to see if they have a natural, which is standard practice in blackjack. The insurance bet will then be resolved. This peeking is indicated by the dealer’s down-card moving slightly back and forth.
Mathematically speaking, the house has the edge when it comes to insurance. However, many players prefer this bet anyway – especially when they already have a blackjack of their own. The logic here is that you’ll end up doubling your money whether the dealer has 21 or not. But by giving up the chance to be paid the full 3-to-2 when the Dealer doesn’t have blackjack, this “even money” play will cost you 3.85% of your potential winnings in the long run.
Which Blackjack Games are Best for Beginners?
If you’ve read this far and you understand both your blackjack odds and the insurance bet, congratulations: You have the curiosity and drive it takes to be a serious blackjack player. Ideally, you’ll go on to learn all the different blackjack games we have waiting for you at Bovada Casino. But start with Single Deck Blackjack (and take advantage of the those more forgiving odds), take the time to learn the basic strategy for that game, then add more decks as you get more comfortable.
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Don’t forget, you can work on your blackjack strategy for free at Bovada by using the Practice Play mode. Switch to Real Play when you’re satisfied with your progress and ready to rule the felt. There are tons of casino games for you to enjoy at Bovada Casino, so if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up today!