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* Dealer stands on all 17s * Double down on any first two cards * Double down after splitting pairs * Natural pays proper 3 for 2 odds
Many games have subtle variations of these rules, some of which help player and others which hurt player. Taking above rules as baseline, here are common variations you will find and how each one affects house edge. Positive values add to house edge and negative values decrease house edge.
Eight decks: +.02% Natural pays 6 to 5: +1.45% Dealer hits soft 17: +.20% Double down on 9-11 only: +.09% Double down on 10 or 11 only: +.22% No double after splitting pairs: +.13% Double down on any number of cards: -.21% Resplitting of Aces: -.06%
Of course, your goal is to avoid unfavorable variants (one which add to casino's edge), such as: Naturals pay 6 to 5, or Dealer hits soft 17. To calculate edge against you in any blackjack game, simply take baseline edge of .5% and add or subtract values of variants.
For example, assume you find a 6 deck game in which Dealer hits a soft 17 and you can only double down on a two card count of 10 or 11. This game has a house edge of: .50% (baseline) plus .20% (for dealer hits soft 17) plus .22% (for double down on 10 or 11 only), for a total house edge agains you of .92%.
Your job is to look for those games with rules that give you best odds. Good luck, gamble responsibly and always remember that it's just a game - so have fun!
Tom is the webmaster for www.Blackjack-For-Everyone.com, which is a website dedicated to the beginner all the way up to serious recreational Blackjack player.