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Blackjack house rules affecting house edge

 Previously we talked about the different blackjack strategies that could help you curb the house edge all casinos have at the blackjack tables and today we will take a look at some of the house rules one should avoid or seek out, which could benefit or hurt your chances of winning when playing this fun casino game. We all know the rules of playing blackjack and you can read more about what to expect, as far as odds of winning are concerned, at our blackjack main page. But in addition to the basic rules of blackjack, many casinos will often employ additional "house rules", which will either improve the house edge or improve your odds of winning. Which one of those will be depends on which house rules the casino has decided on using.

 What are the house rules? Simply, they are rules which are specific to a particular casino (or a blackjack table at a casino), unlike the basic rules of the game. For example, part of the basic blackjack rules dictate that an Ace and a 10 equals blackjack, this is uniform and applies to all tables and casinos. On the other side, some casinos may decide that the dealer should hit soft 17s, while other casinos will not. Hitting soft 17s is a house rule, rather than a game rule, since it is elective, depending on the casino. If the casino has a rule that the dealer will hit soft 17s - the house edge has increased by 0.20%, in other words you would lose 50 cents for every $100 wagered, based on this house rule alone. Now, this may not seem much, but when you add a few of those house rules and pair them with the already tilted advantage towards the casino, and you have yourself a really bad game coming.

 Since there are many house rules that the casinos can take advantage to increase their house edge, with new ones coming out all the time, we simply cannot point out all of them, but below you will find some of the most popular house rules that could affect you either negatively or positively. Yes, there are house rules that could actually help the player in the long run, although far and few in-between. But let's begin with the house rules that can improve your odds of winning at blackjack.

 The most popular one and fortunately the one that can help you the most to improve your odds of winning at blackjack is the "Blackjack pays 2 to 1" house rule. You will find this house rule present at almost any offline and online casino, when playing the regular blackjack tables, that is, just pure and simple blackjack, no variations of it. This house rule alone account for 2.32% improvement over the house advantage present at the blackjack table. Thus when you see the "Blackjack pays 2 to 1" written on the blackjack table - you have already improved your chances of winning by quite a bit. Unfortunately, this is as big as your advantage can get from the house rules, the rest improving your chances marginally. Some of the other more popular house rules affecting the house edge in a negative way (i.e. good for the player) include the option to re-split Aces: once you have split a pair of Aces and you get another Ace, if the house rules govern that you can split again, that will give you 0.06% advantage. The option to double down after splitting pairs will decrease the house edge by 0.14%, the same percentage you would receive if you are allowed to draw more than one card after splitting Aces. And if you can double down at any time - your advantage will increase by 0.62%.

 Now for the bad news - the house rules that increase the house advantage when playing blackjack. The worst house rule for the player to have at the blackjack table is that the dealer wins all the ties. You will rarely see this rule at any casino and we can say we have never seen it at any online casino, but if you ever do - run away and never come back. This rule alone will increase the edge the house has over you when playing blackjack by the whopping 9%! And just as the blackjack paying 2-1 rule gives you 2.32% edge, blackjack paying even money raises the house advantage by 2.32%, so be mindful of this house rule, as well.  We already mentioned that if the dealer hits the soft 17s it increases the casino's edge by 0.20%, but if the casino allows you to double down only on 11 - you are 0.78% worse than before. And if you cannot split pairs again, after already splitting them once - the casino has just added 0.03% to their house edge.

 We will close this blackjack guide by answering one of the most asked questions - how does the number of decks affect the house edge in blackjack. As you may have already guessed - the more decks the casino uses at the blackjack tables - the worse for the player. If we take one deck as a basis, which is how the blackjack odds and house edge is calculated most of the time, when the casino uses two decks, the house edge increases by 0.32%, four decks will raise the house edge by 0.48%, six decks - by 0.54% and if the casino is using eight decks at the blackjack table, the house edge will be 0.58% higher.

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