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February 18, 2020, 1:27 am

Some Blackjack Rule Variations

While the fundamental rules of blackjack are the same wherever it is played, there may be variations from one casino to the other. It is important for a blackjack player to know these rule variations and how they affect the house edge.

It's not hard to see which blackjack rule variations are good and which are bad. For card counters for example, it's obvious that the fewer decks used in the game, the better. Single deck is best but they are so rare and even if they are offered, the blackjack payoff is often 6 to 5 instead of 3 to 2. Players must always avoid 6/5 blackjack.

The rules for doubling and splitting are important. The fewer limits imposed on these hand decisions, the better for the player. Early surrender is better than late surrender, and some have no surrender option at all.

Now here are some blackjack rule variations and where they are found. The house edge figures assume perfect basic strategy is useds.

Las Vegas Strip Blackjack Rule Variations

These are the standard rules on the Strip.

- 4 deck shoe - Dealer must stand on a soft 17 - May double on any first 2 cards - May double after a split - May re-split to 3 hands - Dealer checks for a natural - Single bet position

House edge: 0.36%

European Blackjack Rule Variations

- 2 deck shoe - Dealer must stand on a soft 17 - Double on 9-11 only - May not double after a split - May not re-split - May draw after splitting aces - No surrender - No peek (player will lose total wager against dealer's blackjack) - Insurance not settled until hand is done - Single bet position

House edge: 0.39%

Downtown Las Vegas Blackjack Rule Variations

- 2 deck shoe - Dealer must hit on a soft 17 - May double on any first 2 cards - May double after a split - May re-split to 3 hands - Dealer checks for a natural - Single bet position

House edge: 0.40%

Atlantic City Blackjack Rule Variations

These are standard rules in Atlantic City.

- 8 deck shoe - Dealer must stand on a soft 17 - May Ddouble on any first 2 cards - May double after a split - May re-split to 3 hands - Dealer checks for a natural - May make late surrender - Single bet position

House edge: 0.36%

Now there are many other blackjack rule variations. Some are played in real casinos, others in virtual (online) casinos, or both. The key is to identify what are advantageous to the player and what are not. Also, check the table limits. The table may have a low house edge, but if the minimum bets are high, it may not be a good idea to play there. Choose your casinos and blackjack tables wisely. Most of all, have fun!

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