Why Does the Dealer Beat Me in Blackjack? I Have All the Advantages

If you’re a new blackjack player, one of the greatest mysteries is why the dealer beats you. This is such a mystery because, on paper, it seems like you have a huge edge. Let’s look at some advantages that you have in a standard blackjack game: You receive 3:2 or 6:5 payouts on your natural […]

blackjack-dealer-advantage-1If you’re a new blackjack player, one of the greatest mysteries is why the dealer beats you.

This is such a mystery because, on paper, it seems like you have a huge edge.

Let’s look at some advantages that you have in a standard blackjack game:

  • You receive 3:2 or 6:5 payouts on your natural blackjacks. The dealer receives an even 1:1 payout.
  • You can stand on a soft 17. The dealer often has to hit in these situations.
  • You can double down (usually on any two cards).
  • You can split hands if you’re dealt pairs.
  • Sometimes you can double down after splitting.
  • Some games allow you to use the late surrender option.

Just looking at all of these edges you have on the dealer, how can they possibly win!?

The answer is simple: they act after you.

This is a big asset because if you bust, the dealer automatically wins no matter what hand they wind up with.

To illustrate how big this is, let’s look at an example using a land-based blackjack game:

  1. You’re dealt a 12 and the dealer has 8. Common blackjack strategy says to hit in this situation.
  2. You hit and draw a 10 (22 total), thus busting out and automatically losing.
  3. The dealer continues drawing because there are other players at the table.
  4. They draw a 6 and an 8 (22 total), thus busting out, but still beating you.

In a completely fair game, you’d both lose and the bet would be a push. But since this is a house-banked game, the casino needs some sort of edge.

Mimic the Dealer Strategy

blackjack-dealer-advantageSome players mistakenly assume that they can beat the house edge by doing whatever the dealer does. After all, the dealer holds an advantage, so it makes sense to mimic them.

But based on what we covered, you’re merely playing into the casino’s hands by mimicking the dealer’s strategy.

In fact, you’re giving up an even greater edge because you not only act first, but you’re also forcing yourself to hit on soft 17, and reach a hard 17.

Here’s how the math works out on mimic the dealer:

  • You and the dealer bust out 28% of the time when using the same strategy.
  • You and the dealer will bust out at the same time on about 8% of hands.
  • Given that you bust out first and lose, this gives the house an 8% edge.

What to do about the Dealer Acting Last

There’s really nothing you can do about the dealer acting last. But what you can do is shoot for the best rules possible and lower the house edge.

You can see here that Drake Casino’s best blackjack game is the single deck version, which only has a 0.38% house edge.

This is slim enough that you should win plenty of hands and sessions while playing the dealer. And with some luck on your side, you might even win a lot of money!

 

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