Blackjack odds when cards are removed

Online blackjack is a great game because of the low house edge and the fact that you need skill and strategy to be successful without needing to know too much strategy. Not all blackjack games are the same, though. As you surely know if you read this blog, there are countless blackjack variations. One type of variation is achieved by removing a certain card.

There are a number of blackjack games that involve removing cards. Some games remove the ace, some remove the tens. In fact, for every card in the deck, there is probably a blackjack variation somewhere in which that card is removed. If you are not up on your statistics (and I certainly can’t blame you), you might not know how that affects your odds, though.

As a general rule, always remember that high-value cards are good for the player. That’s why players who count cards want to increase their bets when the deck is rich in tens. The reason high cards favor the player is that aces and cards with a value of ten can be used to make a natural blackjack. While the dealer could also draw that hand, the advantage for the player is that if you draw it, the house pays you 3:2. That higher payout for a blackjack is one of the things that tilt the scale toward the player. Therefore, you should be wary of any blackjack game where high cards are removed. For example, removing aces from a deck increases the house edge by 0.59%. Considering basic strategy on the standard game reduces the edge to only 0.5%, that’s a pretty big jump.

Once you remember that, you might want to learn the rest. While high cards are good for the player, low cards are bad for the player. They lead to a lot of stiff hands, for one thing. Therefore, losing low cards is good for you. For example, removing twos from the deck increases the player’s odds by 0.4%. That 0.4% reduction in the house edge means that if you follow basic strategy, the house edge would only be 0.1%.

Here is the rest of the card-removal odds in chart form:

Card Removed Effect on House Edge
2 -0.40 (player advantage)
3 -0.43
4 -0.52
5 -0.67
6 -0.45
7 -0.30
8 -0.01
9 +0.15 (casino advantage)
10, J, Q, K +0.51
Ace +0.59

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