We believe at this point that you now know the basics of how to play blackjack and you should also have a basic understanding of the strategies you can use to play out your hand. Let us now look at how the variations in the rules of the blackjack can affect you and the game.

single deck blackjack | American Casino Guide Book

Remember we mentioned earlier that some of these variations are good for you while others are just not player-friendly. An example of a break-even game of blackjack is a single-deck game that allows you to double down on any of your first two cards, but not after splitting, and the dealer stands on a soft 17. This blackjack game gives no advantage to the casino. 

Let us see a chart below that shows how rule changes can help or hurt you. The plus sign before a figure means you gain an edge by that amount, while a minus sign signifies an edge for the casino.

Rules that hurt you                  Rules that help you

Two decks     -0.35%                     Double after split  +0.13%

Four decks     -0.48%                   Late surrender    +0.06%

Six decks      -0.54%                   Re-split Aces      +0.14%

Eight decks    -0.58%                     Double anytime    +0.20%

Dealer hits soft 17  -0.20%           No soft doubling   -0.14%

As we can see from that above chart, it is always to your advantage when you play against a lesser amount of decks, with a single deck being the best game offered.

blackjack shuffle | American Casino Guide Book

The house edge rises 0.35% from 1 deck to 2, but an even more dramatic change of 0.54% is noticed when moving from 2 to 6 decks, but it is hardly noticeable when moving from 6 to 8. It is also clear that you would prefer not to play at all in a casino where the dealer hits a soft 17. This gives the dealer a slight edge over you. You will also prefer to play in a casino that allows you to double down on your soft hands.

This chart also shows you that you’ll want to play in a casino that will allow you to double down after splitting your cards and also allow you to surrender.

blackjack double down | American Casino Guide Book

The other two rules that help the player are rare but we have put it here to show you how these variations have an effect on your odds in the game. When you draw an Ace again to your original split Ace pair, some casinos will allow you to re-split. This works very much to your advantage. An interesting rule to find is one where a casino will allow you to double down on any number of cards instead of just the first 2 cards. For example, let’s say for your first 4 cards You have a 4-2-3-2, you will be allowed to double 11 as your total before receiving your 5th card.  This rule is offered in very few casinos in the U.S. as it is very advantageous for the players.

We have shown you these charts to help you know that you have the choice to select the casino with the rules that favor you the most to play in. So you don’t get stuck in a disadvantaged position without knowing that there are better variations out there that help you tilt towards winning.

blackjack dealer busts | American Casino Guide Book

Okay, having covered the basics of how rule variations affect the casino’s mathematical advantage over players, let’s now move on to Part 5:  How to Become a Blackjack Card Counter.

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