While slot machines and online slots in virtual casinos are the perhaps the most accessible of casino games one of the most widely played table games in the world is Blackjack. It’s easy to learn rules, the fast pace of the game, the low house edge and the fact that there is an element of skill required to win make it extremely appealing to gamblers of all ages.
In all forms of Blackjack the end goal is exactly the same, try to reach a total of 21 or a higher total than the casino dealer without going bust or allowing the dealer to bust as they draw the totals set by the casino rules. The difference comes in these rules as altering certain ones will allow a casino to increase its edge over the player, sometimes quite dramatically.
If you learn and employ the perfect Blackjack strategy then the house's advantage over you would be less than 1%, a major reason why this game is so popular! The most common rule variation is the number of decks used at one time. Having just one deck of card in play, an extreme rarity, gives the house a 0.17% advantage but adding an extra three decks to this one increases that edge to 0.66%.
After the number of decks used the most prevalent rule change is the payout when a player hits Blackjack. The vast majority of live and online Blackjack casinos pay out at odds of 3:2 when a player hits a natural Blackjack but some casinos actually change this payout to 6:5, which does not sound too drastically different but it adds an extra 1.4% advantage to the house. If you find a game that only offers 1:1 for hitting Blackjack then walk away because the house now has an extra 2.3% edge over you and they will more than likely be using other rules to extract more cash from you.
Basically, before you wager any money on a game of Blackjack you should always as the dealer to clarify the rules the house is playing to. Most will display the information on the table but some you will have to ask for. Specifically ask if you will only receive one card after splitting aces (if you can receive more than one you have an extra 0.13% edge) and if you can double-down on a split pair (another 0.12% in your favour if you can).