Typically, winning bets on blackjack are paid even money.
Let’s say you score 20, and the dealer has 19. If you’ve put $30 on your box, the dealer will pay you $30. Easy as that.
However, if your first two cards are a “blackjack” (an ace and a picture card, or a ten), then the payout will be 3 to 2.
Unless the dealer has a blackjack as well, in which case it’ll be a stand off — you’ll keep the original bet.
How to calculate blackjack 3 to 2 payouts
To calculate a 3 to 2 payout as quickly as possible, you want to multiply each digit by one and a half times, then add them up altogether. For example, if the bet is $38, that would be 45 (30 times 1.5) plus 12 (8 times 1.5).
Any bet that’s a nice even number can be worked out instantly, but what if you need to calculate the blackjack of, say, $159?
You could divide 159 by two, then add whatever you get to 159, but it can get very confusing.
Instead, by breaking up the original number into three parts — in this example, 100, 50, and 9 — all you need to do is add 150, to 75, to 13.50.
Still difficult for a beginner, but overall the easiest and fastest way.
3 to 2 payout table
Once you learn the 3 to 2 payout for the very first numbers, you won’t even need to work it out.
By the way, this is one of the first things blackjack dealers learn during their training course.
Besides dealing the cards and adding up the scores, obviously.
Here’s a table for numbers 1-9 (same for 10-90, 100-900, and so on).
- Payout for $49. Just add 60 and 13.50 (9 one and a half times). The payout is $73.50.
- Payout for $133. One hundred would pay 150. We know 30 pays 45, and 3 pays 4.50. So we add 195 and 4.50, and the result is $199.50.
- Payout for $807. Easy, this would be 1,200 and 7 one and a half times — 10.50. The payout would then be $1,210.50.
- Payout for $2,375. Four digits this time, but same strategy. Two thousand would be three thousand. The remaining numbers, multiplied by 1.5, would be 450, 105, and 7.50. Add them up and the payout is $3,562.50.
Other blackjack payouts
Old school blackjack tables had seven blackjack boxes, or spots, and that was it. That was the only possible bet.
Then casinos got smarter, and started offering side bets too.
Although the payouts look nice, the house edge is much higher for side bets.
On the other hand, side bets do spice up the playing experience a bit, and most blackjack players enjoy betting on them.
Note: typically, you can put your chips on a side bet only if you’ve already bet on the standard blackjack box.
Side bets examples
- Perfect pairs. If you are dealt two cards of the same value, and you’ve put a chip on the perfect pairs box, then you’ve won! The standard payout is 5 to 1 but will be higher if your two cards are of the same color (usually 10 to 1) or the same suit (usually 25 to 1).
- Straight flush. This refers to your two cards and the dealer’s first card. If you are dealt, say, a queen and a jack of hearts, and the dealer shows the ten of hearts, the three-card combination will be a straight flush. The payout could be up to 100 to one or more depending on where you play.
- Jackpot. Some casinos will have a side bet jackpot where if you are dealt, say, two seven of spades, and the dealer also shows a seven of spades (what are the chances of that?), then you’ll win the jackpot. Super rare, but the bet could be only $1 and the payout could be tens of thousands.
As we’ve seen, side bets usually have a much higher house edge.
So statistically, it makes sense not to play those as you’ll lose quite a bit in the long run.
Your best bet, literally, is to just play on the blackjack box, and use what’s called basic strategy.
In short, you want to take a card when the dealer shows a high card (such as a ten), and stay if the dealer has a weak card (such as a five or a six).
This is because a low card means the dealer is more likely to bust — go over 21 and lose.
For the actual strategy (what to do depending on your cards, and the dealer’s), you can have a look at the table below.
It refers to blackjack played in the UK and it doesn’t cover all scenarios, but it gives you a pretty good idea of what basic strategy looks like.
H stands for hit (take a card), while S means stand (do not take a card). D is for double down.
Keep in mind: any blackjack strategy that doesn’t involve some kind of cheating, such as card counting, cannot win in the long run.
Casinos are a business and anything that lowers the house edge to the point where the player has an advantage, even if tiny, will not be allowed.
Basic strategy allows you to lower the house edge significantly, but not completely, and you’ll never get kicked out for using it.