Why Blackjack Rules Matter

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If you're new to the game of blackjack it is important to note that not all blackjack games are created equal and that the rules of a particular variant may differ from one casino to the next ‐ even if you're playing the exact same game of 21!

So why do the rules of the game matter? The answer is quite simple ‐ the rules influence the house edge that a casino has over a player. It is therefore extremely important to know how the different rules (or lack thereof) can affect your game and your chances of winning.

Here we will take a look at the various blackjack rules and how they may be changed to alter the game odds so that you know what to look out for the next time you play.

Blackjack Payouts

When it comes to payouts, the house is obviously affected by the size of the payments players receive for wins. As a player, look for games that payout 3:2 for natural blackjack and try to avoid games that pay out at 6:5 as this increases the house advantage by more than 1.3%.

A quick way to ascertain what a game pays out for natural blackjack is to have a quick glance at the blackjack paytable which indicates payouts for all winning hands.

Does the Dealer Hit or Stand on Soft 17?

The blackjack rules list will also indicate whether or not the dealer stands on soft 17. If the dealer does hit they will generally be able to achieve a higher hand total, giving the house an added 0.2% advantage.

It is however advisable to look for games where the dealer stands on soft 17.

Number of Decks

The majority of blackjack games are played with six or eight decks which maintain the house edge at 0.5% when the player plays according to perfect blackjack strategy.

Single deck games on the other hand carry a 0.18% house advantage but when you find these you have to check to ensure that they don't carry a 6:5 payout or allow the dealer to hit on soft 17 because these rules will counter the favourable house edge, something which casinos hope novice players won't pick up on.

Restrictions on Doubling Down

Another subtle way that casinos gain the upper hand in blackjack rules is to restrict players from doubling down on 10 and 11.

This simple rule increases the house advantage by 0.2% because it removes the opportunity to double down at favourable times when facing weak dealer upcards.

Splitting Aces

Usually in the game of blackjack, when playing strategically Aces should always be split. However some game rules prohibit players from doing so, thus removing the strategic advantage for the player and instead giving the house an added 0.06% edge.

This may seem insignificant, but all of the slight percentages in favour of the casino do add up and can make a difference to your bankroll over the long term. So rather know what you're looking at before playing so that you can choose the best blackjack game variant which is always the one with the most favourable rules.