Effect of rule variations on blackjack

Blackjack is blackjack, right? Wrong. Though the basics of the game, and therefore the strategy, stay pretty much the same, not all blackjack games are created equal. Even if you avoid a blackjack variant where the gameplay is changed such as perfect pairs or double exposure, individual rule variations in the standard blackjack game greatly alter the odds.

Even seemingly minor things greatly affect the odds of the game, such as the number of decks. The best odds are with a single-deck game, as long as it still pays out 3:2 for a blackjack. However, those are increasingly difficult to find, both online and in a brick and mortar casino. Finding a single-deck blackjack game in Las Vegas is virtually impossible. For each deck that you add, the odds tilt slightly in favor of the house. Though the base game can have a house edge of only 0.5% when you utilize basic strategy, playing with two decks adds 0.31% to the house’s advantage. Playing with four decks give an additional 0.48% advantage to the house. Six decks provides the casino with an additional 0.52% advantage. Finally, eight-deck games are the worst, increasing the house edge by 0.55%.

It’s not just the number of decks that affect the odds, though. Whenever you play a blackjack game for the first time, make sure you know of any minor rule variations they have. For stance, if they don’t allow a resplitting of pairs, that adds a 0.03% edge to the house. A table where the dealer hits a soft 17 increases the house advantage by 0.20%.

Conversely, there are some rule variations that help the player. For example, a blackjack game with late surrender increases the player’s odds by 0.02% and a game with early surrender increases those odds by 0.62%. A blackjack table that allows you to double after splitting increases the player’s odds by 0.14%.

With all of those variations and more affecting the odds of a traditional blackjack game, it is best to know all of the table rules before you play. That is especially true of an online casino or land-based casino with multiple blackjack options available. You want to be sure you are playing a game that gives you the best chance of making money.

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