Prominent Blackjack Rule Variations
The casino blackjack rules are normally determined by the laws and regulations applicable to the corresponding places of play. The casinos can have their own specific rule variations depending on those laws and regulations. Any such rule variations are specified clearly ‘on’ or ‘near’ the respective blackjack tables. If not, the casino staff are expected to provide them to the players upon request. There are more than a hundred different casino blackjack variations in play. Let’s take you over a few of the prominent ones as follows:
Later or early surrender
The blackjack games that allow players to surrender their hands don’t usually permit them against dealers’ blackjacks. So, if a dealer’s first card turns out to be a 10 or an ace, the players can’t surrender their hands before checking of the hole card (to ensure that it’s not going to make a blackjack). This type of rule is referred to as a ‘late’ surrender.
‘Early’ surrender is an alternative to this rule and it gives players an option to surrender their hands before checking for the blackjack. Quite evidently, early surrender is far more favorable to the players compared to the late surrender.
Dealer wins ties
Many casinos make it a rule that the hands tied with the dealers are considered lost by the players, rather than getting pushed. Such a rule is catastrophic for the players and is not too commonly used in the standard blackjack. However, it’s often seen in several ‘blackjack like’ casino card games, especially in some of the prominent charity casinos.
Dealer hits or stands on soft 17
Every blackjack game has its own rule related to the dealer hitting or standing on a soft 17. This rule is generally printed on the blackjack table’s surface. How you can make it out is that: the dealer hits soft 17 rule is abbreviated as ‘H17,’ and the dealer stands on soft 17 rule is shown as ‘S17.’ The S17 rule benefits the players more as it decreases the house edge by around 0.2%, compared to the H17.
Re-splitting of cards
In case a player gets the same value cards after opting for a split, he/she is generally allowed to split them again (called a re-split). The player must place an additional bet on the split cards and the dealer deals a card each to make two new pairs. While some blackjack games permit unlimited re-splitting, others limit it only to a specific number of hands, for example ‘re-split to 4.’
Number of decks
Keeping all things equal, using a fewer number decks in a blackjack game automatically decreases the casino’s or house’s edge. It significantly increases the chances of players getting a blackjack, especially if they get a 10 as their first card. The chances of drawing an ace as the next card becomes significantly higher in fewer number of decks. It also decreases the probability of a blackjack-blackjack push.
Casinos hosting blackjack tables with fewer decks normally compensate such loss of edge by introducing other tightened rules in the game. For instance, the casinos usually disallow the doubling option after a split or in case of soft hands, to keep the players from re-splitting. Furthermore, they may also reduce the regular blackjack winning ratio (of 3:2) and/or increase the minimum bet amounts.