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BLACKJACK BASICS

Where To Play Blackjack

Starting Advantage

The following tables show the starting advantage or disadvantage enjoyed by basic strategy players under different rules for different numbers of decks.  To start, the fewer number of decks the better.  Single deck offers the best starting advantage by far, but most casinos compensate by offering rules that recover most of their advantage.

While interpreting these numbers, you must remember that they are based on basic strategy play.  Certain rules would allow the card counter even greater advantage if decisions like surrender or double down are altered with the count.

Starting Advantage by Number of Decks

Decks

Player Advantage

%

 1

+0.02

2

-0.31

3

-0.43

4

-0.48

5

-0.52

6

-0.54

7

-0.55

8

-0.57

Rule Variations have a large effect on your starting advantage. Adjust your starting advantage with the rule variations that apply for the number of decks.

Effect of Rule Variations on Starting Advantage


 

Number of Decks

Rule Variation

    1

    2

    3

    4

   5

   6

             

No double down on 11

-.820

-.775

-.760

-.753

-.748

-.820

No double down on 10   

-.510

-.480

-.470

-.465

-.462

-.460

No double down on 9    

-.130

-.103

-.094

-.090

-.087

-.085

No soft double         

-.130

-.107

-.099

-.095

-.092

-.091

Dealer hits soft 17    

-.190

-.205

-.210

-.213

-.214

-.215

No re-splitting non-aces

-.014

-.027

-.031

-.033

-.034

-.035

No hole card

-.100

-.108

-.110

-.111

-.112

-.113

Double after splits    

+.140

+.140

+.140

+.140

+.140

+.140

Double any # of cards

+.240

+.232

+.230

+.229

+.228

+.227

Double 11 after split  

+.070

+.070

+.070

+.070

+.070

+.070

Double 10 after split  

+.050

+.050

+.050

+.050

+.050

+.050

Re-split aces

+.030

+.055

+.063

+.067

+.070

+.072

Draw to split aces     

+.140

+.140

+.140

+.140

+.140

+.140

Late Surrender              

+.024

+.054

+.065

+.070

+.073

+.075

Late Surrender(hits soft 17)

+.030

+.065

+.077

+.082

+.086

+.088

Early surrender

+.630

+.630

+.630

+.630

+.630

+.630

Early surrender (hits s17)  

+.730

+.730

+.730

+.730

+.730

+.730

2 to 1 for Blackjack  

+2.320

+2.320

+2.320

+2.320

+2.320

+2.320

P.S.  If you ever see a game offering 2 for 1 payment on blackjack then it would be very advantageous to play.  I have seen it offered as specials in some online blackjack games.

An example:    Atlantic city - 8 decks

8 decks:
double after splits:

 

-0.57
+0.14 %
-0.43 %

This example shows that a casino playing with 8 decks would have an advantage of just under a half percent (over a player playing perfect basic strategy).

              

Where to Play Blackjack

Las Vegas is by far the best place to play, for counters and non-counters alike.  Las Vegas offers many single and double deck games, which offer a natural advantage over multiple deck shoe games.  Competition is Vegas is strong, meaning that casinos attempt to attract players with better rule variations.

Atlantic city offers only 6 and 8 deck shoe games.  I recommend only playing there when you cannot get to Vegas.  Local games are now worth playing.  These games are good for low stake practice under conditions that resemble a casino, and allow you to make a little money at the same time.  The conditions in the Caribbean and Europe vary widely, but in general, it would not be worth your while to plan a trip with the sole purpose of playing blackjack.

Most casinos vary their minimum bet amounts with player demand.  As a result, it is easier to find low minimum game during the week.  Unless you have a huge bankroll, you should stick to lower minimum tables which allow you to keep a good spread between your minimum and maximum bets.  The non-peak hours also allow you more flexibility in switching tables or finding a seat at the table of your liking.  Saturday nights are the worst as well as certain holidays like New Years eve.

 

Where to Play Blackjack - Rule Variations

Where to Play Blackjack

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