Blackjack is a game that, though rather simple in its basic form, has enough variations to make it complex and constantly evolving. All the time I am learning about new rules or side bets offered at certain blackjack tables. Each rule change carries different odds, though, and affects the house edge. Before playing any blackjack game, whether at an online casino or the brick and mortar variety, it is important to know what your odds are and how the game is played.
Doubling rules are common variations for blackjack games. While the most beneficial rule is that the player can double down on any hand (as long as he hasn’t already doubled), sometimes only certain hands can be doubled. Any blackjack games that only allow certain hands to be doubled are said to use “Reno rules.”
The most common Reno rules are that you can only double on hands of nine through eleven or ten and eleven. At these blackjack games, you can only double down if your first two cards fall within that range. If you can only double a 9-11, that increases the house edge by anywhere from 0.09% with an 8-deck game to 0.15% fir a single-deck game. This rule is fairly common with online blackjack.
If you can only double down on a hand of 10 or 11, the odds are even worse. Those blackjack games increase the house edge by anywhere from 0.17% with an 8-deck game to 0.26% with a single-deck game.
Whether you are playing online blackjack or blackjack at a brick and mortar casino, it is important to know all of the rules ahead of time. It helps you to know which decisions to make and it can also help you decide whether you want to play at all. Believe me, there are some blackjack games where the rules are so bad I would never consider playing. For that reason, always make sure you know the rules ahead of time and if you have a variety of blackjack games to choose from, pick one with rules that are the most beneficial to the player.