Better Blackjack Rules to Look For

Home » Recent Posts » Better Blackjack Rules to Look For
Share this on:

Brian Christopher at a blackjack table

Over time, Blackjack rules have evolved, creating more ways for casinos to introduce changes that increase their house advantage over a player. Knowing what rules to look for can help you avoid playing sub-par games, especially when better rules may lurk just around the corner.

So in this post, we’ll go over some of the rules that can be helpful for players and ensure the best overall payback chances.

3:2 Blackjack Payouts

One of the rules that can have the most impact on overall Blackjack return to player is the payout of Blackjacks themselves. Many casinos, particularly on lower minimum tables, have shifted to a 6:5 Blackjack payout over the traditional 3:2. On occasion I’ve even seen even money payouts. 

How does this impact you as a player? Let’s use the example of a $10 per hand bet. You would get paid the following under each rule set:

  • 3:2 Blackjack: $15
  • 6:5 Blackjack: $12
  • Even Money: $10

While it may not seem like a lot of additional money in an individual payout, players are expected to get a few Blackjacks an hour, on average. Presuming you’d average four per hour, the difference of $12 between 3:2 and 6:5 is more than one hand’s worth of play every hour. That adds up!

Some casinos will have 3:2 and 6:5 in different parts of the casino floor with otherwise many of the same rules, so it always helps to check the various areas to determine what’s available at what bets. If a 3:2 table exists with a minimum that’s comfortable for you, it’s definitely better to play there than at a 6:5 table.

Dealer Stays on Soft 17

This is another rule that’s important enough that you’ll often see it printed on the felt. Either the dealer hits on soft 17, or it stays on all 17s. If a dealer stays on soft 17, that’s favorable to the player, as it forces the dealer to keep more weak hands relative to the hit on soft 17 rule.

The paradoxical thing about a dealer hitting on soft 17s is it creates both more bust scenarios and more improved hands. But the frequency with which the dealer improves its hand is higher than its increasing odds of busting, so when a dealer hits on soft 17, it’s a rule that overall increases the house advantage vs. a player.

Ability to Surrender

Another rule that can be favorable to players is the ability to surrender. This rule is designed around the idea to cut your losses – such as, say, a player holding a 16 with a dealer showing a 10.

With surrender, you give up your hand in exchange for losing only half your money. It’s a money-saving scenario but it can improve a players’ overall return when employed correctly.

Traditionally a surrender scenario, when allowed, only occurs after the dealer checks their other card, known as a late surrender. But there’s also the concept of an early surrender, which allowed a player to surrender even before a dealer checked their cards. But the player advantage improved so much under those rules that it was done away with at the casinos that offered it before too long.

Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to surrender when you’re confronted with a situation where you have a less than 50 percent chance of winning your hand vs. the dealer’s up card.

Double Down After Split

When you have the ability to double down after splitting your cards, that’s a rule that’s favorable for a player vs. the casino, and can really up the potential of a positive outcome for a player.

Generally speaking, double down rules allow players to double their bet on hands that have the best chances of winning for them, such as having an 11 against most dealer up cards. When you split, you double your bet, by breaking up a pair of cards and now effectively playing two hands.

Let’s say you get a pair of 9s and a dealer is showing a 6. This is a good time to split, as the most likely outcome is to draw two 10s, getting 19 on each hand. But let’s say you got a 2 instead – now you have an 11 against a dealer 6. That’s a great time to double, as the dealer has a high risk of busting and you have a strong chance of getting a face or 10 to make 21.

Takeaway

Blackjack is not a one-size-fits-all game. When sitting down to play, be sure you know what the rules are, and that you’re getting the best gamble for your money. Like checking video poker pay tables, you could be literally leaving money on the table by playing a subpar game vs. what else is available.


Share this on:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Play Online Casinos

Sign Up with BetMGM Casino and get a Deposit Match up to $1,000, plus $25 in Site Credits on the house! Available in MI, NJ, PA & WV. US promotional offers not valid in Ontario.

Use code SWITCH2500 for a 100% deposit match up to $2,500, and 2,500 Reward Credits, with $25+ in wagers placed (MI, NJ, PA & WV).

New sign-ups with DraftKings Casino in MI, NJ, PA & WV will receive $35 Casino Credits, plus Play $5 and Get $50 Back in Casino Credits Instantly!

Sign Up and deposit $10+ at FanDuel to get a Welcome Offer of a $20 Bonus + Up to $1,000 Play it Again based on your net losses in the first 24 hours in MI, NJ, PA & WV!

Play Social Casinos

Ready to give Show Me Vegas Slots a try? Get 10 million coins to play Show Me Vegas Slots with promo code SWITCH!

New players to 88 Fortunes Slots receive 5 billion coins as a thank you for signing up!

Sign Up and get a Welcome Bonus of 2,000,000 FREE Gold Coins & 2 FREE Sweeps Coins. Get started today!

Sign Up for LuckyLand Slots and get a Welcome Bonus of 7,777 FREE Gold Coins & 10 FREE Sweeps Coins!

Online Game Spotlight
Dragon Jin Long Jin Bao

Super Tall Bonus Reels at Stake

Double Patriot

Classic Everi Three-Reel Slot with a Fresh Twist

Play Online Sportsbooks

Sign Up to get a Bet $5, Get $150 in Bonus Bets if your bet wins!

Use code SWITCH1000 to get your first bet back in Bonus Bets, up to $1,000, if you lose.

​SIGN UP to get $150 instantly in Bonus Bets* (NC, $5+ bet required) or up to $1500 in Bonus Bets* Back if Your First Bet Doesn't Win (All Other Eligible States)!

New Players get a $1,500 No Sweat Bet, a $50 Bonus Bet with $5 deposit, & Get a No Sweat NBA SGP Every Day of NBA Playoffs! New players outside MA also get 20% Match up to $1,000 (25x PTR).

Social Game Spotlight
Kronos Unleashed Slot

Frequent Feature Livens Up Super Tall Reels

Dragons vs. Pandas Slot Machine

Two Sets of Reels Battle it Out