Blackjack Rules - How they change the House Edge


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One thing that many beginning blackjack players take for granted is that the house edge will always be the same. Assuming this were the case, you'd always be facing a 0.5% house edge by using perfect basic blackjack strategy. In reality though, the blackjack house edge can change drastically depending on what rules are involved. That said, here is a look at the main blackjack rules that casinos like to change, and which ones you should watch out for.

Natural Blackjack Payouts - The most important rule that must be in place is 3:2 natural blackjack payouts. Some casinos like to slip 6:5 payouts into the rules, which can raise the house edge from 0.5% to 2%. So it's imperative that you find 3:2 blackjack payouts when playing the game.

Dealer must stand on a Soft 17 - You should always look for tables where the dealer has to stand on a soft 17 because this prevents them bettering a hand. Furthermore, when the standing on a soft 17 rule is in place, the house edge goes down by 0.2%.

Deck Amounts - Many players search for single deck blackjack because they can actually GAIN a 0.2% edge over the casino; plus single deck games make it easier for card counters. However, favorable single deck blackjack games are very rare, and most of these games feature 6:5 blackjack payouts if you do find single deck. But if you can find 2 deck (0.2% house edge), 4 deck (0.35% edge) or 6 deck (0.4% edge), they're better than 8 deck blackjack (0.5% edge).

Doubling down after Splitting - Another rule that helps you out in blackjack is having the ability to double down after splitting a hand. For instance, if you split 7's and receive a 4 in one hand (11 total), this would be a great spot to double down. In addition to this, it's worth saying that being able to re-split aces also helps lower the house edge. Assuming you could find both of these rules at a casino, the house edge would drop by 0.2%

Now not all of the aforementioned blackjack rules will be featured at a casino because they need to keep their edge. However, you should at least make sure the dealer can't hit on a soft 17, and you receive 3:2 natural blackjack payouts.