How to Determine Blackjack RTP Yourself

Considering Blackjack RTP

Blackjack return to player (RTP) indicates how much money you can expect to win in the long run. For example, 99% RTP means that you’ll earn $99 back for every $100 wagered.

You definitely want to play at tables that offer high RTP. Some blackjack games can even feature over 99.5% payback.

Unfortunately, not every blackjack game provides a simple RTP figure. This is especially true at land-based casinos, which never provide any information on payout percentages.

What can you do when there’s no RTP info available?

The following guide discusses why payback is so important and how you can determine it in the absence of proper information.

Why Is RTP So Important?

Blackjack carries a reputation for being a high-paying game. However, this reputation doesn’t always prove true.

When the rules are unfavorable enough, blackjack can offer less than 97.5% RTP. This payout percentage isn’t so bad in the grand scheme of gaming, but it’s not impressive for a skill-based game.

You don’t want to go through the trouble of learning proper blackjack strategy only to attain 97.5% payback. .

Instead, you should be rewarded for becoming an expert player
Real money blackjack games with fair rules and high payback are of the upmost importance. Here’s a look at how your long-term winnings will be impacted by the RTP:

Example #1

  • You bet $10,000 over the course of a month.
  • The RTP is 98%.
  • You’ll theoretically win $9,800.

Example #2

  • You bet $10,000 over the course of a month.
  • The RTP is 99%.
  • You’ll theoretically win $9,900.

Example #3

  • You bet $10,000 over the course of a month.
  • The RTP is 99.5%.
  • You’ll theoretically win $9,950.

Understand Key Blackjack Rules

The first step to figuring out blackjack RTP on your own involves understanding the rules. Any blackjack table can differ from the next in this department.

You have no chance of determining the payout percentage by yourself without knowledge of the rules.

With that said, you should study which rules have the biggest impact on the payback.

Here are the main rules that affect blackjack RTP across the board:

  • 3 to 2 natural blackjack payout – Lowers house edge by 1.39% (compared to a 6 to 5 payout)
  • Single deck – Reduces house advantage by 0.47% (compared to six decks)
  • Double down on any two cards – Lowers house edge by 0.25% (compared to only 9 through 11)
  • Dealer stands on a soft 17 – Drops house edge by 0.2% (compared to hitting)
  • Double down after splitting (DAS) – Lowers house advantage by 0.17%
  • Re-splitting aces – Reduces house edge by 0.08%
  • Late surrender – Lowers house advantage by 0.07%

Use a Blackjack Calculator

Once you know what rules to look for, you need to do the math. Of course, this math would be incredibly difficult to perform on your own.

Luckily, you can take a big shortcut by using a special rules calculator.

Some gambling sites offer calculators that let you input various blackjack rules. These tools then provide the house edge for the game you’re playing.

Here’s an example on what info you might put into a blackjack calculator:

  • 3 to 2 natural blackjack payouts
  • Eight decks
  • Dealer stands on a soft 17
  • DAS
  • Double down on 9 through 11
  • Re-split up to four hands
  • Re-splitting aces
  • No hitting with re-split aces
  • No surrender
  • House edge = 0.47%

A blackjack calculator might seem intimidating at first glance because it has many options. However, you should be able to figure out the process in a minute or less.

Tips for Figuring Out Unknown Rules

Hopefully, you’ll be able to quickly determine the rules and enter them into an online calculator.

In some cases, though, you may not know all the rules.

Rather than watching games for dozens or even hundreds of hands, you should consider alternative routes. The following tips will help you determine unknown rules.

Search for Blackjack Surveys

Some gambling sites conduct surveys of the blackjack scene in Las Vegas and even other major gaming destinations. These guides provide common blackjack rules at land-based casinos.

Please Note:
In some scenarios, they even offer the house edge. If you already know the house advantage, then you don’t need to worry about the rules. You can just subtract the house edge from 100 to determine RTP (e.g. 100 – 1.2 = 98.8% RTP).

Even when you don’t find payout percentages in a particular survey, you can at least expect the rules to be listed. You could input these rules into the previously discussed calculator and find the payback.

Perform Other Online Research

The problem with blackjack surveys is that they don’t cover many gaming destinations. If you don’t live around Vegas or another gambling hotspot, then you may feel left out.

However, you can perform online research through other means. For example, you might simply search for “[game name] RTP” to find a certain game’s payout percentage.

Nothing guarantees that you’ll locate what you were looking for. Just a few minutes of research, though, could potentially pay dividends.

Email the Casino

Assuming you strike out with the first two tips, you can take matters into your own hands by contacting casinos. You could email one or more local casinos and ask them about their blackjack rules.

Not every casino will get back to you with a great answer. However, you’ll likely find at least a few gaming establishments that will be helpful in this regard.

With the rules in hand, you can again use a trusty calculator. Hopefully, you will be able to find the best-paying blackjack casino in your area.

Observe the Games

The last resort is to watch games and figure out the rules visually. You just need to stand off to the side of a table and observe the action to do so.

Two of the rules
Natural blackjack payouts and whether the dealer hits/stands on soft 17—are written on the table. Other rules, though, aren’t so obvious. You might have to watch the action for quite a while before figuring everything out.

With that said, I only recommend observing the games as a last resort. The hope is that you don’t need to go this route.

Know Optimal Blackjack Strategy

The rules are only part of what goes into blackjack payout percentages. You also need to thoroughly learn the strategy. Blackjack strategy seems complex at first glance. However, it becomes easier to learn with the right tools.

The quickest way to build your skills is by using a blackjack strategy chart. These charts show the optimal moves in each situation based on your score and the dealer’s face-up card.

A blackjack trainer provides a more interactive way to become a better player. It’s a program that points out your strategic mistakes so that you gradually eliminate them over time.

You won’t have any trouble finding a chart or trainer online.

With that said, you can get started learning strategy in almost no time.

Take Advantages of Comps and Bonuses

Blackjack bonuses and comps offer extra rewards based on top of anything you might win. Therefore, you should definitely take advantage of these freebies whenever possible.

Most brick and mortar and online casinos offer comps to blackjack players. You may, for example, receive 0.05% cashback on your play.

Here’s an example on how much money you could get back in this case:
  • You wager $8,000 in one night of blackjack play.
  • The casino offers 0.05% cashback.
  • 8,000 x 0.0005 = $4 in comps

This cashback rate might not seem that great. Then again, though, blackjack can feature some of the highest RTP in the casino. You should go through any necessary steps to join a casino’s VIP program.

Online casinos provide the added benefit of bonuses. Most commonly, you can look forward to deposit bonuses at online gambling sites.

Here’s an example on how a blackjack bonus works:
  • A mobile casino offers a 100% match bonus worth up to $500.
  • You deposit $200 and, thus, qualify for a $200 bonus.
  • Rollover is 100x (blackjack tends to have high rollover).
  • 200 x 100 = $20,000
  • After wagering $20,000, you get to keep winnings from the bonus.


Ideally, a casino or online developer gives you the blackjack RTP figure. This way, you don’t need to hunt for the information.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case—especially with brick and mortar casinos. Land-based venues don’t list payout percentages at the tables.

Luckily, determining blackjack RTP isn’t as difficult as it seems.

You just need to know the relevant rules and enter them into a blackjack calculator.

Assuming you don’t know one or more rules, then you can consult a survey, perform other research, or even contact casinos yourself. With hope, the online casino(s) you’re looking into will be covered by a survey and have all the info you need.


About the Author
Rick Rockwell profile picture
Rick Rockwell
Sports/Casino Writer
Blog and News
Rick has been a professional writer for over 14 years with an extensive resume spanning projects and clients from around the world. But, his passions have always been sports and sports betting. Whether it’s being a credentialed media member to major sporting events, climbing into a racecar or a pro wrestling ring, Rick’s sports and sports betting knowledge, passion and versatility is on display with each article he writes for TSG.

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