Blackjack, for many gamblers is the only game to play in an online casino, the reason being that, with the house edge as low as 0.5% which makes it a very enticing proposition for players to come out ahead of the casino, especially if you know your game use a bit of savvy and a strategy to help your cause along. However, not all games are alike and there are many subtle differences built into the game which differ from casino to casino but which can mean that the house edge can vary from close on 0% to over 2%. At a land-based casino you are stuck with the rules of the house unless you mosey on down the road to find another casino which offers more favorable rules, but online you can find numerous different games where you can choose the variation that best suits you. Follow the pointers provided here and you will be on the road to becoming a winning player.
So, how many decks?
The number of decks is a very important factor and the long and the short of the matter is the more decks, the lower value to the player. Although there is not a much of a difference value wise, between a 4 and a 6 deck game the one or two deck game presents significant better value. If it were up to the players, casinos would offer 1 deck games because this will eat into the house’s edge and bring it down to approximately 0.25%. In reality, most online casinos will use up to 8 decks. Depending on the online casino, you may not even know how many decks are being used which in my opinion is a no-no. Depending on the rules it is not necessarily a negative factor because it is possible for a 4 or a 6 deck game to have better value than the single deck game of blackjack, so watch out.
Here’s the big difference.
If the rules stipulate “Dealer Must Hit on Soft 17, which is normally printed on the table itself, which would be an Ace and a 6, then the dealer is allowed to take another card. This practice would then increase the house edge by 0.3%. You would want to avoid the house having this added edge on you.
You want to check out the rules on doubling down.
Doubling down is when you double your bet in return for a single card. Now, most online casinos will only allow you to double down only on 9, 10 or 11. This will improve the house edge, on a 6 deck game by 0.68%. What you should be looking for is a Blackjack game where you can double down on any 2 cards.
Can you split and then re-split?
Often when using a basic strategy you would be required to split when you are dealt a pair. Let’s say that you were dealt a pair of 8’s, which according to a basic Blackjack strategy it would always be required that you split. On being dealt another 8, do you have the option to split again? In many casinos, this is not an option and you should be looking for a game that allows you to spit again and again and the limit would normally be 3 or 4 times. If you are not allowed to re-split the house has another 0.5% to 0.6% edge on you.
Would you like Insurance? No thanks!
You will be offered Insurance. This is when the dealer is showing an Ace and you can bet that dealer hits a Blackjack at 2:1. Believe me! You don’t want Insurance because it increases the house advantage to between 5 and 8%
What do you get paid when you win?
If you get Blackjack and the dealer does not, then you are paid 3:2. In other words, if you bet $20 then you get paid $30. Please see the article on the 6:5 rules at the bottom of this page
In short: What is the perfect game of Blackjack?
- A single deck game where the dealer has to stand on 17 pays 3:2 for a Blackjack.
- On a multi-deck game, you will want a game where you can double down on any card and
- re-split on up to 4 times.
- Do not take insurance (ever)
What about Card Counting, I hear you say?
Card counting is a well-known system first made famous by mathematician Dr. Edward Thorp who is considered the father of card counting, after publishing a book, Beat the Dealer in 1962. The system involves recording the number of high-value cards that have been exposed during the course of the hand. If you know that there is a large number of high-value cards remaining in the pack, it enables you to place large wagers with the expectation of being dealt a high card. This method proved to be hugely profitable if played correctly. However, it is extremely difficult to perfect and has been banned by all casinos and havening developed methods of detecting card counting, once suspected, you will simply be escorted out of the casino. Most casinos have developed countermeasures by, shuffling prematurely and frequently and have started introducing automated card shufflers which shuffle after every hand. It’s unfortunately completely useless online since the deck is virtually shuffled after every hand.