One of the biggest things that beginning blackjack players should know is that blackjack rules aren’t always the same in every casino. And this is the case even if you’re playing the exact same game of ’21’ in different casinos. The main reason why casinos change rules is to increase their house edge over the player. With this being the case, it’s really important that you understand how the different rule changes can alter your chances of winning. The following will show the main rules that are changed, and keep in mind that you may find none or all of these rule changes in effect.
The house edge is most affected by how large of blackjack payouts you receive. The ideal is 3:2 payouts for a natural blackjack, while 6:5 payouts are what you want to avoid because they raise the house edge by over 1.3%. The blackjack table should clearly display which payouts you’ll be getting, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Dealer Standing or Hitting on Soft 17
Another blackjack rule that will be displayed on the table is whether or not the dealer stands on a soft 17. Assuming the dealer can hit, they’ll be able to get a higher score total (on average), which gives the house an extra 0.2% edge. Long story short, look for tables that say the dealer stands on a soft 17.
The large majority of the time, you’ll be playing on blackjack tables with six or eight decks, which keeps the house edge at or above 0.5% when perfect blackjack strategy is used. However, you can lower the house edge by finding tables that use less decks in the blackjack shoe. Assuming you find single deck blackjack, the house edge is just 0.18%; however, watch out for single deck games with 6:5 blackjack payouts and dealers hitting on a soft 17. Casinos slip these rules into single deck blackjack to fool novice players.
Double Down Restrictions
A more subtle way that casinos get the upper hand on players is by restricting them to only doubling down on 10 and 11. This increases the house edge to 0.2% because it takes away some of the favorable times when you can double down with other totals against weak dealer upcards.
A pair of aces is an automatic split from a blackjack strategy perspective. However, if casinos don’t allow you to split aces, then this advantage gets taken away from you. Furthermore, it increases the house edge by another 0.06%. Sure this may sound small, but it adds up for frequent blackjack players.