One of the many (there certainly are many!) reasons why blackjack is such an extremely popular game is because it’s known for its very low house edge. Furthermore, blackjack is also one of the few casino games that does not have a fixed house edge: this percentage is dependent on rule variations, as well as the implementation of basic strategy. Playing blackjack online offers you the choice of different variations, thus allowing you to lower the house edge and increase your chances of winning. Below are some of the aspects that will affect your odds.
Dealer Hits or Stands on Soft 17
As we know, a soft 17 is a hand that consists of an ace that counts 11 points (not one). The traditional rule is that the dealer must stand on soft 17s, resulting in a house edge of 0.4%. You will, however, come across online blackjack games where the dealer hits on soft 17s, thereby increasing the house edge to 0.62%. Some people may feel that this small difference is not that much, but if you hit a drawn out losing streak, your bankroll will certainly take a harder hit if you’re playing a game in which the dealer hits on soft 17s.
Splitting and Resplitting Pairs
When used correctly, splitting and resplitting pairs can completely transform a weak hand into a strong hand. For example, if you have a pair of eights against the dealer’s up-card of six, your total hand of 16 is more likely to lose than win. If, however, you split those pairs, you’ll have more of a chance of beating the dealer. Basically, the more resplitting that the rules allow, the better for you.
Number of Decks
Always make sure to check the rules of the specific game for the number of decks used. Most games use between six and eight decks, but it makes sense that the fewer decks there are, the more likely you are to hit blackjack, therefore decreasing the house edge. With eight decks, the house edge is roughly 0.65%, but with one deck, it will be around 0.17%. While this seems fantastic, don’t forget that online casinos are still in business to make money, so they will implement other rules to compensate for their lowered advantage.
In blackjack games that allow early surrender, you’ll be able to surrender your hand before the dealer checks his hole card to see if he has blackjack. If he does, you’ll still be able to save half your wager. On the other hand, with late surrender rules, this is only an option after the dealer has checked, and it will see you losing your entire wager amount.