A natural blackjack is the best hand in the game. Players search for those ace-ten combinations. They love the prospect of a 3:2 payout and a guaranteed win (unless the dealer also has a natural blackjack). It’s the reason card counters keep track of the number of tens that have been played. It’s the reason we get excited by getting dealt an ace and worried when the dealer shows an ace. But how likely are you to draw a natural blackjack?
The likelihood of drawing a natural blackjack depends on the number of decks in play. Assuming an infinite number of decks, you or the dealer have a 4.73% chance of drawing a natural blackjack, which is once every 21 hands. If you’re worried about your blackjack being spoiled by the dealer also drawing a blackjack, which would lead to a push, that only happens 0.22% of the time, or once out of 450 hands.
If you or the dealer already have an ace, there is a 30.77% chance – or four out of 13 – of turning it into a natural blackjack. If you or the dealer already have a ten, there is a 7.69% chance – one out of 13 – of turning it into a blackjack.
The chances of these events happening whether at an online casino or land-based differs depending on the number of decks. In an eight-deck game, which is the most common at casino blackjack tables, there is a slightly higher chance of drawing a natural blackjack: 4.745%. In a six-deck blackjack game, you have a 4.749% chance of drawing a natural blackjack. There is a 4.756% chance of getting a blackjack in a four-deck game and in a single-deck game, the odds are raised to 4.83%. As you might have noticed, the odds increase as the number of decks decrease.
It is good to keep in mind the odds of drawing a blackjack, particularly when either you or the dealer have an ace or a ten card. Knowing your odds is key to successfully executing blackjack basic strategy.