Blackjack Variations: Removing Cards

The nature of blackjack’s simple game makes it perfect for a wide variety of rule changes. Whether playing a friendly game in your house, at a casino, online, or on a cruise ship, there are a number of blackjack variations that you could see.

For the most part, the blackjack variations favor the house, which is why I recommend sticking to the standard game. Also, it’s easier to remember the basic strategy for one game rather than the standard game and all of its variations.

One blackjack variation that is pretty common is the removal of one or more cards from the deck. Traditionally, blackjack is played with a standard 52-card deck, with face cards counting for 10 points, an ace standing for one or 11 points and everything else having its face value. However, it’s fairly common to find a game where all of the tens are removed or all of the sevens are taken out of the deck.

In the game of blackjack, high cards favor the player and small cards favor the dealer. Therefore, any blackjack variation where the high cards are removed tilts the odds farther in the house’s favor. In contrast, any variant where small cards are removed tips the odds in the player’s direction.

Below is a complete list of how each card being removed from the deck affects the house edge. The percentages given are the amount that is added to or subtracted from the house edge. For example, removing all twos from the deck reduces the house edge by 0.40% and removing all aces from the deck increases the house edge by 0.59%. Keep in mind that in the standard game of blackjack, playing perfect basic strategy reduces the house edge to 0.50%.

Removed Card = House Edge
2 = -0.40%
3 = -0.43%
4 = -0.52%
5 = -0.67%
6 = -0.45%
7 = -0.30%
8 = -0.01%
9 = +0.15%
10, J, Q, K = +0.51%
Ace = +0.59%

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