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How to play blackjack ?

The rules that govern a Blackjack table can change from one casino to the next. In the huge gambling establishments of Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Monte Carlo or Macao, the rules sometimes differ even from one table to another. All these changes disrupt the probabilities. The house advantage is also modified. Before seating yourself at a Blackjack table, it is strongly recommended that you know which version of the game is most in your favor. In this article, we are going to introduce you to the rules that can change from casino to casino. Each time, we will detail the change’s influence on your chances of winning.

The different rules that govern Blackjack tables

When the dealer forms a Blackjack

In Europe, in order to deal himself a new card, the dealer first waits for the game participants to finish their turns. If he obtains a Blackjack, he wins all the chips wagered by the players, including the chips bet by the participants who decided to Split a pair or Double a bet.

In the United States, on the other hand, the dealer does not wait and deals himself a new card, face-down, at the same time as he deals for the players. If he possesses a Blackjack, he only gathers the initial bets when he reveals his hand.

Stand on any 17 or Hit soft 17 tables

In Blackjack, the dealer’s game is systematized. He automatically deals himself a card as long as he has not yet reached a certain minimum value. This value can differ from one table to another. For tables labeled “Hit on soft 17” (H17), the minimum value is 16. At tables labeled “Stand on any 17” (S17), it is 17. The latter kind of table is more advantageous for players because the dealer has a good chance of surpassing 21. He busts, on average, 28.2% of the time.

The number of decks in the shoe

The more decks contained in the shoe, the more the advantage is to the house because Blackjacks are produced less often. If you follow Basic Strategy, you lose .5% of the advantage. If you do not follow it, here are the house advantages you can expect, according to the number of decks contained in the shoe:

  • 1 deck: 5,882%;
  • 2 decks: 6,796%;
  • 4 decks: 7,246%;
  • 6 decks: 7,395%;
  • 8 decks: 7,470.


At certain tables, unfortunately later and later in the game, it is possible to choose to Surrender. In this case, you can recover half of your bet when the odds are not in your favor. There are two types of Surrender: Early Surrender and Later Surrender. The first type is more to your advantage than the second, which, nevertheless, still allows you to lower the house advantage.

Double after Split

Certain tables permit players to Double after Splitting a pair. These tables are labeled “Double after splitting is allowed” (DAS). They benefit the players since the house advantage is weaker. For this reason, the majority of tables do not allow this game option. In this case, tables are labeled “no DAS.”

Separating pairs

Some tables allow players to separate pairs several times. These tables are labeled “Re-split Allowed.” Unfortunately, the majority of tables prohibit this move. This arrangement is called “Split Only Once,” and it decreases the player’s chances of winning by .1%

Draw after Splitting aces

Some tables allow players to draw (Hit) several cards after Splitting a pair of Aces. These tables are labeled “Hit Split Aces” and increase your chances of winning by .19%. Unfortunately, most of the time this option is prohibited. In this case, tables are labeled “No hitting Split aces.”

Double all cards

Certain tables allow players to double any card. These tables are labeled “Double on Any Two First Cards” (DOA), and offer a superior payout rate to players. However, most tables only allow a Double with a hand whose value is 9, 10, or 11, which reduces the odds of winning by .14%; or, this option can even be restricted to hands whose value is 10 or 11, which reduces the odds of winning by .26%.

Summary table

In the following table, we summarize the contents of this article for you.

Rule Effect on odds of winning
Two decks of cards -0.32%
Four decks of cards -0.48%
Six decks of cards -0.54%
Eight decks of cards -0.58%
The dealer Hits at H17 -0.22%
Double with 11 (not 10, not 9, not 8) -0.78%
Double only with 10 or 11 (not 9, not 8) -0.26%
Double only with 9, 10, or 11 (not 8) -0.14%
No separating pairs -0.03%
Dealer wins in case of a tie -9.00%
Blackjack Naturel pays 1 to 1 -2.32%
Blackjack Naturel pays 2 to 1 +2.32%
Double any number +0.24%
Double after splitting pairs +0.14%
Late surrender +0.06%
Early surrender +0.62%
Re-splitting Aces +0.06%
Splitting Aces +0.14%