Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in the world, and it is by far the most popular card game in the casino. Despite this, the owners of those casinos are not entirely happy with this game, at least not in its most basic form.
Simply put, the game of blackjack has a very low house edge and therefore doesn’t earn them as much money. When you include the fact that tables can also lose a lot of money to card counters, that they need to pay the wages of dealers, pit bosses and the eyes in the sky, then their takings on this game are very low when compared to slot machines.
In an effort to turn things back to their favor, there are a few methods that they employ that might not be noticed by amateur players.
An actual “Blackjack”, which is where you get a score of 21 from your first two cards (via an Ace and a picture card) is one of the many ways that can help players to stay on top. If you remove this, then that slight edge that players gain from understanding the ins and outs of the game, is no more. Casinos can’t just remove this, as few would play and many would complain, but there are ways that they can lessen the impact that it has.
A true game of blackjack should return odds of 3:2 for a blackjack, which should be written on the middle of the table. An increasing number of casinos pay 6:5 though and there are even some that offer Even money. 6:5 doesn’t look too bad compared to 3:2, at least from an amateur’s perspective, and that’s what the casino is relying on. However, its all about marginal numbers and ensuring they fall in your favor, and such a small change can shift the edge to the house, even with professional players.
This is a popular game and one that many casinos prefer to blackjack. They will try to tell you that it is easier to play, that it is more fun and even that you can win more money, but none of those are true. The main reason that casinos prefer Spanish 21 to blackjack is that the house edge is significantly weighted in their favor. Very few blackjack players will even entertain the game of Spanish 21, and if you’re dedicated to getting one over on the casino, then you need to avoid this game as well.
Insurance and Side Bets
Blackjack professionals will tell you to never take insurance, and they are right to tell you this. The casino is the only one winning if you continue to take insurance. The same applies to many side bets. If you want to get an edge in a game of blackjack then you need to play tight, keep the odds in your favor. Opting for small lotteries is not a good way to do this, and that’s all that most side bets are.
Even casinos that do allow games of blackjack instead of Spanish 21, still try to trick their customers into playing games that have a high house edge. There are many variants out there and whilst most of them sound promising, the only ones winning are the house. Stick to Classic Blackjack with Las Vegas rules, and try to play games that have single decks or double decks. 4 decks should be your maximum, unless you plan on counting cards in Atlantic City, where they use 8 decks and are not allowed to ban you for card counting.
Blackjack Double Down and Blackjack Switch are the only variants that may actually increase your chances of winning, but your play often needs to be tweaked to suit these games, especially in the case of Blackjack Switch.