Rule Variations and Their Percentages

The basic rules of blackjack are the same no matter where you play. However, there are rule and deck variations that can change from casino to casino, whether you are playing online or off. Some of these rule variations work in the player's favor, while others give the house more of an edge. Read on to learn about these variations and how they can affect the odds and percentages in your blackjack game.

The first thing that you should take into consideration when playing a game of blackjack is how many decks are in play at the table. In a single deck game the house has no advantage. However, as the number of decks increase, so does the house edge. In a 2-deck game the house edge is 0.35%; in a 6-deck game the house edge is 0.58%; and in an 8-deck game the house edge is 0.61%.

Aside from the number of decks, there are several other rule variations that can change the house edge in a game of blackjack. There are rules that favor the player and rules that favor the house.

Rules that Favor the Player

  • Late Surrender – Some casinos allow you to surrender your hand, giving up only half your bet instead of the whole thing, after the dealer checks for blackjack. At casinos that do not allow late surrender, players must surrender before the dealer checks for blackjack. When late surrender is allowed, the house edge is cut by 0.07%.
  • Doubling After Splitting – Some casinos allow players to double down after splitting. This reduces the house edge by 13%.
  • Re-splitting Aces – Many casinos allow players to split a hand only once. However, some casinos give players the option to re-split Aces if they receive another Ace on their split hand. This reduces the house edge by 0.08%.

Rules that Favor the House

  • Double Allowed Only on 10 and 11 – Some casinos offer players the option to double down only if their initial hand is a value of 10 or 11, rather than allowing them to double down on any hand. This rule increases the house edge by 0.25%.
  • Dealer Hits on Soft 17 – In most casinos, the rules state that the dealer will stand on any hand of 17, be it hard 17 or soft 17. However, some casinos play by a rule variation that states that the dealer hits on soft 17. This rule variation increases the house edge by 0.22%.
  • Blackjack Payout of 6:5 – Most casinos pay 3:2 for blackjack. However, some casinos pay $5 to $6, which increases the house edge by a whopping 1.40%. This rule variation is one of the worst you can find in a game of blackjack and should be avoided at all costs. Stick to blackjack games with a 3:2 payout for blackjack to maximize your wins.