The five worst blackjack rules!!!
  • Blackjacks pay Even Money
    This one stinks. Normally the casino pays 3 to 2 when a player gets a blackjack hand (and the dealer doesn’t also have blackjack). Getting paid 1 to 1 may not seem like a big deal but it is because the casino’s edge goes up by 2.3% (ouch).

    Normally blackjack games that offer an even money payoff also have several other player favorable rules as a come on. A good example is SuperFun 21, which is offered in many casinos in Las Vegas. The game uses only a single deck of cards with liberal rules such as surrendering anytime including after hitting, doubling, or splitting. But the liberal rules do not come close to negating the 2.3% edge the house enjoys when it pays even money on blackjack hands. The bottom line is be very cautious when a casino only offers even money on a blackjack.

    Blackjack pays 6 to 5
    Oh come on, no casino would pay 6 to 5 for a blackjack hand you say? Well guess what? Walk up and down the strip in Las Vegas and you’ll find this game all over the place. The come on is that it’s advertised as a single deck game, which usually implies a good game for the player. But getting paid 6 to 5 on a blackjack is a much worse deal than getting paid the normal 3 to 2. How much less? For every $10 you bet and get a blackjack you’ll get paid $3 less. This increases the house edge by 1.2%.

    What’s ironic is that these same casinos that offer this 6 to 5 abomination game also offer plenty of multiple deck games with a much lower house edge (partly because blackjacks are paid at the standard 3 to 2). Yet the last time I visited Las Vegas I observed all the 6 to 5 single deck tables packed with players while the multiple deck tables where much less crowded. I finally asked one player who had quit playing the 6 to 5 single deck payoff game why he choose to play it rather than the better multiple deck game. His response was that he thought 6 to 5 was a better payoff than 3 to 2. So much for the math skills of the average blackjack player (which is probably why the casinos in Las Vegas are blazingly getting away with offering this game to clueless tourists).

    Doubling Down only on 11 or 10 or just 11
    Often you’ll see this rule in single deck games where a player is restricted to doubling on a two card 10 and 11 (or just 11). This means you can’t double down on 9 or any soft hand (that’s not good). The house edge goes up by about 0.7% when you can only double on 11 and by 0.25% when you are restricted to just doubling on only 10 and 11.

    Using 8 decks of Cards
    Compared to a single deck game, the casino’s edge increases by 0.61% when 8 decks of cards are used. You would need several liberal rules to offset the 0.61% edge to make the game playable. At the minimum make sure the dealer stands on soft 17 and doubling after pair splitting is offered (ideally also late surrender).

    Dealer Hits Soft 17
    Many casinos (especially on the Las Vegas strip) have changed the dealer rule regarding soft 17. It used to be pretty standard that dealers must stand on all 17 hands (which includes a soft 17 hand). Nowadays, however, more casinos are changing to hit soft 17. That’s not a good change for the player because the casino edge increases by 0.20%. Given a choice you are better off playing where the rules require that dealers must stand on soft 17.

    Probably the worse blackjack rule that I ever saw was dealer winning all ties. Yes, I know that’s the way you play it with your buddies when you get together for a friendly game of blackjack and poker. But in a casino, you should never play any blackjack game where the dealer wins ties. The standard casino rule is when your hand totals 21 or less and the dealer ends up with the same total, it’s a tie or push and you don’t lose or win your bet (but remember that a dealer blackjack hand beats a player’s three or more cards 21 hand). By winning tied hands the casino edge zooms by about 9%.

    There are two things to keep in mind when you play blackjack. First, there has never been a game with exotic rules that has a lower house edge than the standard game. So before you decide to try a SuperFun 21 or other “new” game you better check the rules.

    Secondly, you should always try to pick your games carefully so that the overall mix of rules leads to a casino edge that’s as low as possible for the game you are playing (this of course assumes you know the basic playing strategy – if not, learn it!).
  • Sometimes something is so big that you just do not see it till it is brought to your attention.
    Why does blackjack pay you 3/2 and not the dealer, why can you double or split but the dealer can not? Why after putting these player favorable rules in place does the house still have the advantage?

    The biggest negative rule in blackjack, the one never mentioned, the one you can not easily see but is always there----------If both you and the dealer bust, YOU LOSE!!!!!!

    There is no bigger bad rule, it is what makes blackjack a game that the casinos can offer. Without it, there would be no game. Without it, 6/5 would be a great game.

  • Taking Ihate17's comments a little further....The correct hit/stand decisions will reduce the HA by 3.25%. Yes, even more important than the 3:2 BJ benefit (2.25). The player bust rate would be 28% if you played like the dealer vs about 15% (correct play) and that is a big difference.

    Have you ever had (4-5) 15/16 vs anything in a row? Sure you have and on days like this when you get more than your share, going first is damn near impossible to overcome.
  • Hey Learningtocount. If you're going to copy Henry Tamburin's article word for word, can't you at least credit him?
  • Hey Learningtocount. If you're going to copy Henry Tamburin's article word for word, can't you at least credit him?

    Agreed. This is known as leeching. A 'Thanks to Henry Tamburin' is the least one needs to do.
  • actually it is known as "plagiarism"... :)
  • Not on the internet M8. Here it is known as leeching. If learingtocount's post is published then it is plagiarism. :-)
  • taranga said:
    Not on the internet M8. Here it is known as leeching. If learingtocount's post is published then it is plagiarism. :-)

    Actually it _was_ published. Just electronically. :)

    Anything one writes is automatically subject to copyright laws. This post, in fact, is legally something I own the copyright to (the part I am writing, not the part you wrote, where that is what you hold the copyright to). Taking text written by someone else and then passing it off as written by you is plagiarism. This holds for exams, for papers, for articles, whether or not they are formally printed...
  • Of course, had I know that I was talking to a master blackjack player who is also a bloody lawyer, I'd of kept my mouth shut. LOL

  • I "publish" a lot. In journals. As book chapters. In conference proceedings. Etc. One _must_ know the rules about copying text from others to avoid a great deal of difficulties in life. :)

    I'm not a lawyer at all. But I have to occasionally attend mandatory sessions with them as they discuss changes in patent/copyright/student-privacy laws...

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