No matter what, blackjack will always be one of the best casino games in terms of house edge. In fact, most people expect to lower the house edge to 0.5% while using only basic strategy. However, the 0.5% figure is a little off when you’re dealing with the average casino blackjack game. This being said, let’s discuss what to expect from brick and mortar blackjack action as well as the rules you should be looking for.
In the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, most casinos were rather generous with their blackjack rules. There were single deck games, 3:2 natural blackjack payouts, dealers stood on a soft 17, players could double down after splitting, and late surrender was an option. Assuming a player used perfect basic strategy, they could trim the house edge to just 0.12%. Of course, there was a reason why casinos were willing to combine so many favorable rules – people were really bad at blackjack!
But as time went on, the average player became much better at the game, which really cut into casino profits. After all, good players could play blackjack for hours and lose less than $1 on average. So casinos began to alter rules to increase their house edge and make more money from the games they were offering.
Bringing this to the present, the average casino blackjack game looks far different today from a rules standpoint. Six decks are used, dealers hit on a soft 17, players cannot double down after splitting a pair, there is no late surrender, and players can only split aces once.
Now you’ll normally receive 3:2 blackjack payouts and be able to split any two cards. However, the other rules lead to a 0.78% overall house edge, which is far worse than what we discussed before. But there are still casinos that are willing to offer a decent amount of favorable rules as we’ll explain next.
Rules that can help
Your chances of making profits in casino games obviously increase when you can find the best rules. That said, it certainly pays to play at casinos where you are given the best opportunity to make money. So you definitely want to play blackjack at tables where the dealer has to stand on a soft 17 because this lowers the house edge by close to 0.30%. Look for a sign on tables that says something to the effect of “Dealer Must Stand On All 17.”
The number of decks being used is extremely important in any casino blackjack game too. If you were to move from the aforementioned six-deck game to a single deck table, the house edge would drop by 0.26%. However, it’s important to note that many casinos try and slip 6:5 blackjack payouts into single deck games, which increases the house edge by a whopping 1.4%. So be very careful when you see single deck blackjack offered.
One more common rule that makes a difference is when gaming establishments allow you to double down after splitting a pair. When this is in effect, the house edge drops by another 0.18%. Be aware that you may have a tough time finding single deck games where both doubling down after pair splitting and dealers standing on soft 17’s are rules.
Play Online Blackjack to find Good Rules
Rather than traveling around the world to find good casino games, most people prefer to just stay at home and play online blackjack. Online casinos don’t carry the heavy operating costs that brick and mortar venues do, so they can afford to offer favorable rules that give players a better opportunity to make profits. When you throw in the fact that internet casinos also pay out bonuses to frequent players, there is even more incentive to play online blackjack.
Now this isn’t to say you can’t still enjoy the casino blackjack experience from time to time. However, it’s just much easier to move from casino to casino when you’re on the internet. So if you’d like to take advantage of the best games available, play online blackjack where you are guaranteed to find good rules.