Online Blackjack House Edge Favors the Casino
Some online blackjack variants can have a house edge as high as 7% or higher. The house edge refers to the small fraction that the casino keeps of whatever the player wagers over a lengthy play session. It tells us the theoretically expected loss over an extended period.
For instance, a player-favorite blackjack game like Switch by Playtech has a very low house edge of 0.08%. Even so, the player can expect to lose an average of $0.08 for every $100 they wager over time. The casino is more than happy with that amount.
If you have heard people say that the “house always wins,” it’s because of the house’s edge. It’s also the same reason that casinos don’t bother cheating or fixing blackjack. They have a significant advantage over the player as it stands, so they don’t have to cheat.
Random Number Generators Make It Difficult to Cheat on Online Blackjack
Random Number Generators (RNGs) are the biggest reason online blackjack games are impregnable and cannot be hacked. Have you ever wondered what magic determines whether you get an Ace-6 or a pair of 8s while playing online blackjack?
You don’t have to wonder anymore – it’s the random number generators.
RNGs are sophisticated lines of computer code, algorithms, or software that determine each and every outcome of blackjack. It actually controls the results of all online casino games by generating billions of random numbers associated with blackjack cards, slot symbols, or roulette numbers.
The RNG of an online blackjack game is so complex that it would take expert hackers thousands of years to crack or hack. They are responsible for ensuring blackjack outcomes are random and can’t be predicted by anyone, including players, casino operators, or game developers.
As if that isn’t convincing enough, developers like NetEnt, Microgaming, and Evolution Gaming provide Provably Fair software along with their online blackjack games. The software allows players to manually and personally confirm that the game is indeed fair and that the RNG works as intended.
Online Blackjack Games are Independently Audited
Online casinos have a lot to lose when they cheat on blackjack. Trust is a major currency in the world of online casino gambling. When an online casino is perceived as untrustworthy, it will likely lose all its customers.
To project a sense of trust, legitimate online casinos usually use third-party testing bodies like eCOGRA, TST, and GLI to conduct independent tests and audits of their online blackjack games.
Players can typically find the link to the certificate of audit or testing on the page or description of the game. These independent testing labs usually audit, verify, and confirm the authenticity of the game’s RNGs, pay-tables, security measures, and other aspects that boost transparency. The goal is to ensure an online blackjack game is fair for the players.
Cheating on Blackjack is Against Online Casino Regulations
Third-party agencies like ECOGRA do not just audit all legitimate online casinos. They’re also keenly regulated by government-sanctioned gaming licensing and regulatory bodies in their jurisdiction. Some of the prominent examples include the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), the Isle of Man Gambling Control Commission, the Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato (AAMS), Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC), and the UK Gambling Commission (UK).
In the United States, gambling sites that offer online blackjack are usually licensed and regulated by state gaming agencies, such as the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, Nevada Gaming Control Board, and the Illinois Gaming Board.
These regulators provide gambling licenses to online casinos and, at the same time, oversee their operations to make sure that all of their casino games are fair and secure.
Any online casino that is found cheating on blackjack or whatever game risks losing their gaming license and huge penalties. The state agency may also prefer a class action or criminal case against the offending gambling site. Therefore, we recommend playing online blackjack at licensed gambling sites, as they are being watched.
Are blackjack apps rigged?
Blackjack apps are not rigged if you are playing at a trusted gambling site. The free blackjack apps, however, are usually designed for practice or training. They don’t use perfect RNGs and are not audited or regulated, so everything is in the gray area.
If you are wondering if casino blackjack apps for real money play are rigged, then you shouldn’t be worried. They work like their desktop counters. They have verifiable RNGs and certificates that show they are 100% random and unpredictable.
Blackjack Apps Don’t Need to be Fixed
The most rampant argument for blackjack apps being rigged is to allow casinos to make more money. But online and mobile casinos don’t have to fix their blackjack apps to make money. The blackjack odds are already in favor of the casino, thanks to the house edge.
They don’t have to fix, manipulate or rig their blackjack apps because the advantage wired into their games ensures enough profitability. Online casinos also have to worry about integrity issues. If they are found rigging their apps, their operations, player base, and revenues will take a beating.
Why People Think Blackjack Apps are Rigged
Our brains are responsible for all of these conspiracy ideas since there are two things our brains perform on a regular basis that drive us to believe that everything, including online blackjack, is skewed against us. Our minds like looking for patterns. Cognition is one of the cornerstones of how our brains operate, and although this is good in many situations, our brain doesn’t care whether or not there’s a pattern, as it tries to connect the dots even when there aren’t any dots to connect.
If you’ve ever found yourself counting how many times the dealer has hit a blackjack or the number of times you’ve doubled down on an 11 only to get beat, you’ll understand what we mean by pattern recognition. Another thing our brain does that makes us distrustful of casino apps is that it is continuously looking for evidence to substantiate our viewpoint. This may come as a surprise to some players, but we prefer to be right, and this is because our brains are always hunting for signs that we are right.
If you believe that blackjack apps are rigged, your brain will seek patterns and evidence to support your claim, even if it is just your imagination going wild! This is not intended to argue that no blackjack app has ever been rigged, but you must ensure that what you are seeing is true and not simply your imagination playing a trick on you.
How do casinos cheat in blackjack?
Casinos rarely cheat in blackjack. They actually don’t have to manipulate, fix, or use other nefarious ways to cheat in blackjack. They already enjoy an advantage of 1% to 2% in blackjack over the player, meaning they will eventually take $1-2 for every $100 wagered.
That’s not to say that there are no bad casinos that cheat in blackjack. In fact, some shady live or land-based casinos use the following tactics to cheat in blackjack:
The dealer dealing the second card
As you may already know, the dealer must slide the topmost card of the shoe or deck when dealing. But shady dealers will deal with the second card if the top one is unfavorable to the house. This cheating tactic is known as second dealing. If you’re not too careful at the blackjack table, you can miss it.
If the top card is a ten-card and the dealer’s up-card is an Ace, the casino is incentivized to deal the second card to the player. The dealer will get the ten-card and make a natural blackjack hand. It’s worth noting that second-card dealing is illegal.
Shoe stacking refers to the act of adding low-value cards (2 through 6) to the shoe. Similarly, deck stacking is when the casino adds these low-value cards to the deck in single-deck blackjack. There is a good reason for doing so:
- Low cards reduce the dealer’s chances of busting
- Low cards minimize the odds of the player getting a natural blackjack
Unfortunately, you might only realize that a deck or shoe has been stacked if you count cards.
Using dexterous/quick dealers or sleight of hand
This method refers to a variety of skill-based techniques used by casinos with highly skilled dealers. They could, for example, immediately pluck a card from their sleeves.
Another instance is the previously described second card dealing. In this case, the dealer tries to take the second card from the top without being seen.
These tricks need a high level of ability on the side of the casino dealer. With all eyes on them, they must be able to perform sleight of hand quickly and discreetly.
Removing some cards from the deck/shoe
Some casinos and dealers in Las Vegas have been caught cheating in the past by removing some playing cards from their blackjack shoes. For instance, they can reduce blackjack probability by removing aces, kings, queens, jacks, and tens.
Using selective shufflers
Some ill-repute casinos reshuffle their shoes when some players hit a winning streak. They can do so if they also suspect that someone is counting cards.
Shuffling cards too frequently or too quickly
This method involves a super-fast pace of blackjack play. Since the casino has a house edge in blackjack, they stand to win more money from players if they increase the pace of the game.
Other cheating methods used by casinos
They can also use the following cheating methods:
- Swapping hole cards
- Using holdout shoes
- Using cheating devices installed inside the shufflers
- Not paying winning bets – It is not a cheating method per se, but players at many casinos complain about this.
How do online casinos cheat?
From what we have seen in our experience playing blackjack and other games, legitimate online casinos do not cheat. And here’s why:
- They have an edge in every game, so they don’t have to cheat
- Legitimate online casinos are regulated by strict agencies like MGA, eCOGRA, and UKGC
- Online casinos games use RNGs, which are incredibly difficult to cheat
- Casino games at legitimate gamblings sites are audited by trusted third parties like GLI, eCOGRA, and TST
- Online casinos cannot afford to lose the trust of their customers
Is online blackjack a bad idea?
Online blackjack is a good idea. Why? Playing online blackjack provides the following advantages:
- Convenience – Online blackjack allows you to play your favorite card game anytime and wherever you may be. You can play on the go on mobile, at home in the comfort of your living room, or while commuting. It offers the ultimate convenience.
- Better odds – Most online blackjack games offer better odds because gambling sites have fewer costs to deal with. A blackjack game with a 98% RTP in land-based casinos may offer a 99.5% payback at gambling sites.
- Better money management – You can easily manage your blackjack bankroll online. You can set up deposit limits or temporarily self-exclude when things are not going your way.
- Great online casino offers – Online blackjack players can take advantage of various casino rewards and bonuses. You can claim signup bonuses, reload bonuses, free spins, cashback, and loyalty rewards to boost your blackjack bankroll and gaming experience.
- Greater variety – Online casinos offer multiple variants, rules, and types of blackjack. You can choose from virtual blackjack or live casino games with real dealers. Online blackjack can also incorporate favorable rules like five-card Charlie. The big questions is: are blackjack games at online casinos rigged?
Is online blackjack winnable?
Yes, online blackjack is winnable, although it has a house edge that favors the casino.
You can use the following tips to boost your chances of winning at online blackjack:
- Pick an online blackjack game with favorable rules – Make sure it pays 3 to 2 when you hit a natural blackjack. Look out for other good blackjack rules like the “dealer stands on a soft 17” rule, the 5-card Charlie rule, and so on.
- Use online casino bonuses – One way to win at online blackjack is to redeem bonus offers so you can play blackjack on the casino’s money.
- Never place insurance bets – They’re sucker bets that don’t provide tangible value for the player.
- Follow the basic blackjack strategy – The basic strategy chart provides a structured list of guidelines to help you win at online blackjack. It includes suggestions of when you should double down, surrender, split, hit, or stand.
- Practice, practice, practice – Online blackjack is a game of strategy and skill. You should practice using the demo version or practice apps to perfect your gameplay.