14 Nov

Blackjack Rule Variations and Effect on House Edge

Evaluating the best blackjack rules for minimal house edge.

Best Blackjack Rules Blackjack is beloved by strategic gamblers for its ability to present a supremely low house edge of under 0.3%. But not all games are created equal. There are many blackjack rule variations that can alter the payback percentage. Knowing what to look for, and what to avoid, will help you squash the house edge to an absolute minimum.

This won’t be an easy, one-and-done task. Simply reading this article and knowing which rules benefit players isn’t going to make your bankroll blossom. From here, it’s up to you to compare the rules available at different live and online casinos to find one with the best overall rule set. Then, you must apply a perfect strategy to achieve that house edge.

If you think you’re up to the task, pay close attention to the following rule variations. Memorize the good versus the bad. This is only the first step in a long road to a professional blackjack career.

Best Blackjack Rules & House Edge Effect

Every single rule applied to a blackjack game will have an effect on the house edge. Some are very minimal, while others can be significant. Some benefit the player, while others benefit the house. The following lists contains all common rule variations, and their effect on the house edge.

Note: Positive integers benefit the player. Negative integers benefit the house.

Number of Decks

The number of decks used can have a large impact on the house edge in blackjack. A shoe can contain anywhere from 1 to 8 decks. The golden rule here is to play with the least number of decks possible.

Number of Decks House Edge Effect
1 Deck 0.48%
2 Decks 0.19%
4 Decks 0.06%
6 Decks 0.02%
8 Decks 0.00%

Payout for Natural Blackjack

The payout for a natural blackjack can be one of the most significant differences in game. A 2-to-1 payout is best, but extremely rare. You should generally look for the standard 3-to-2 payout. Anything less will decimate the house edge.

Natural Blackjack Pays House Edge Effect
2 to 1 2.27%
3 to 2 0.00%
7 to 5 -0.45%
6 to 5 -1.39%
1 to 1 -2.27%
Blackjack Tie Pays 3 to 2 0.32%
Blackjack Tie Pays 1 to 2 0.11%

Other Blackjack Rule Variations

Next up is a list of all common rule variations that don’t fall into the above categories. That doesn’t make them any less important, though. Play close attention to all rules that deliver an added advantage to the player.

Remember: Positive integers benefit the player (decrease the house edge). Negative integers benefit the casino (increase the house edge).

Common Rule Variations House Edge Effect
5 Card Charlie 1.46%
Early Surrender against Dealer’s Ace 0.39%
Early Surrender against dealer’s 10 0.24%
Double on Any Number of Cards 0.23%
Draw to Split Aces 0.19%
6-Card Charlie 0.16%
Double Down Rescue 0.10%
Late Surrender 0.08%
Resplit Aces Allowed 0.08%
Late Surrender against Dealer’s 10 0.07%
Split up to 3 Hands -0.01%
Double Only on Total of 9-11 -0.09%
Split up to 2 Hands -0.10%
European Blackjack (No Hole Card) -0.11%
No Double after Split -0.14%
Double Only Total of 10-11 -0.18%
Dealer Hits on Soft 17 -0.22%
Dealer 22 (Bust) is a Push -6.91%

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