Blackjack is perhaps the only game still offered by casinos that is mathematically beatable. It was not until the mid-1950s that people discovered that blackjack is beatable. That’s partly thanks to the introduction of high computing devices like computers and calculators.
Why is blackjack mathematically beatable? It comes down to the gameplay of blackjack at most casinos. While there are many blackjack variants, most casinos don’t shuffle the deck of cards after each hand has been dealt.
That means every card that has been dealt is one card less from the deck. That alters the odds of landing certain cards from the remaining deck. For instance, if many lower value cards like 2, 3, 4, and 5 have been dealt out, your probability of getting a high-value card like an A, Q, J, or K is very high.
If you are keen and know how to count cards correctly, this can significantly improve your playing tactics. For example, you can choose to stand when there is a good chance a lower card will be dealt next. If you know a good card is most likely to be dealt, you can call hit and beat the casino.
This discovery didn’t happen overnight.
Blackjack was invented sometime in the early 1600s. It quickly found its way into early gambling establishments, where it made its owners rich. It was thought to be a game of chance for many decades.
It came as a huge shock to the gambling world when Ed Thorpe authored a book detailing how blackjack could be beaten. His explanation focuses on the fact that the composition of decks changes as cards are being dealt. Because of this, the remaining deck is sometimes favorable to the player or the dealer.
Note, however, that Ed Thorpe was not the first person to discover the art of counting blackjack cards. Some say he wasn’t even the second person to do so.
It is common for players to be asked to leave the casino in Las Vegas if the casino management suspects that they are counting cards. In some cases, you can be banned altogether from visiting the specific casino and its affiliates. Returning after being banned from a particular casino for card counting can result in an arrest.
Can you beat online blackjack? Unfortunately, you cannot count cards when it comes to playing online blackjack. Why? Most online blackjack games use random number generators instead of a card shuffle to determine each outcome.
That means the outcome of each hand of online blackjack is genuinely random and unpredictable. As such, there is not much you can do to beat the existing system. However, you can pay attention to small details such as …
- The variance of the game – The refers to how often wins come by
- Return to player (RTP) percentage – The higher the RTP, the higher your odds of winning online blackjack.
- Table limits – Lower stakes means you’ll stretch your bankroll for longer
- Winning patterns – Most online blackjack games display cards in the order in which they were dealt. You can use the pattern to predict if the next card will be of high or low value.
Is blackjack still beatable?
Yes, blackjack is still 100% beatable. As of writing, you can visit a land-based casino in Las Vegas and beat them at blackjack through card counting. Don’t forget that most Las Vegas casinos and many others across the globe don’t allow card-counting at their blackjack tables.
So, while blackjack is still mathematically possible to beat, doing so, in reality, can be tricky. First of all, some casinos use two decks of cards, making it difficult to count cards. You also risk being kicked out of the casino for the offense of counting cards.
If you are a repeat offender, you can end up being banned from playing blackjack in major gambling hubs like Las Vegas, Monaco, Reno, Atlantic City, or Macau.
There are many other reasons why blackjack is nowadays nearly impossible to beat:
- Use of random number generators in online blackjack – The RNGs make the outcome of all online blackjack hands 100% random. As such, you won’t be able to count cards.
- Frequent card shuffling — Some casinos shuffle their decks after every few hands. That renders card counting worthless.
- Shuffle machines — If you go to Vegas, you’ll find that modern blackjack tables use electronic shuffle machines. These devices are designed to shuffle the deck after each round; making counting cards an impossible mission.
- Bankroll problem — Winning at blackjack by counting cards needs a large amount of money to play with.
What is the only mathematically beatable game in a casino?
Blackjack is the only mathematically beatable game in a casino. The game already has one of the lowest house edges, so card counting is an added advantage. For instance, traditional blackjack has a house edge of 0.5 percent if you use a basic strategy, such as always hitting with high-value cards.
If you leverage proven blackjack betting strategies, you can reduce the house edge further towards zero. In some cases, you can have a negative house edge.
The most common blackjack betting systems include:
- Positive progression betting system
- Oscar’s grind blackjack betting system
- Negative progression betting system
- Martingale betting system
- Flat betting system
Other smart players use bankroll management strategies that include:
- Setting both win and loss limits
- Setting playtime
- Knowing to quit while ahead
Blackjack – A Game of Skill or Chance?
Blackjack leans both ways when it comes to determining your winning chances. As with every casino game, blackjack has a house edge and the outcomes are unpredictable, thanks to random number generators.
Be that as it may, blackjack remains one of the few games of math or skill still available at land-based and online casinos. You can use a variety of skills and strategies to beat the house edge and increase your likelihood of winning money. The most important blackjack skills include:
- Card counting
- Attention evasion skills
- Dealer reading skills
- Blackjack odds skills
That said, one of the most significant lessons we learn about gambling is that we can never beat the house, and the casino always wins in the long run. However, while playing Blackjack, you have the arithmetic on your side, whether you were brilliant at it in school or not. Card counting is a way of predicting the outcome that is strictly prohibited in many casinos. If the casino personnel notices someone counting cards, they have the power to order that individual leave and abandon the game.
However, there are publications that go into great detail about how to statistically beat Blackjack.
It takes a lot of mental effort to keep track of the cards on the table and what’s in the deck. The number of decks can either ease or complicate the operation. For example, shuffling machines make things more difficult for the players who matter since they can’t forecast what’s going to happen, but it’s attainable.
Which casino games are beatable?
Blackjack variants are the most well-known beatable casino games. But they are not the only games that are beatable. Craps, poker, and baccarat are other table games that you can beat at a casino.
A Quick Look at the Top Three Most beatable Casino Games
Pai Gow Poker
It’s not tough to gain a slight advantage in Pai Gow Poker. The traditional casino poker game has a player payback percentage (RTP) of around 97.5%. And you can increase your chances of winning by always betting on the banker. However, bear in mind that as the banker, you’ll need a sizable bankroll to pay the player’s wager. There are various betting techniques available online that will help you beat Pai Gow Poker.
Blackjack is the most mathematically beatable game across the casino divide. You may not have any control over the cards you are dealt, but you can determine your subsequent moves based on your hand and the dealer’s up card.
What’s more – you can simply reduce the house edge down to 0.5% by following the basic blackjack strategy. Other strategic tactics like card counting can eventually push the house edge to the other side, with the odds favoring the player at the end of the day. The primary goal of blackjack is to create a hand that is as close to 21 as possible without busting.
The main objective of video poker is to create a 5-card hand that is as strong as possible. Today’s video poker games use a standard pack of 52 playing cards and the outcomes are generated randomly by random number generators.
Some video poker games like Jacks or Better have some of the highest RTPs and lowest house edges. Not all video poker games are beatable, though. You must choose a low variance game that pays out frequently. The same is true of roulette. Not all roulette variants are beatable.