Players face the most unfavorable set of rules in the game of Blackjack.

Blackjack rules at Alamo

When it comes to playing in a casino, I can confidently say that blackjack usually takes the lead as the go-to game. Nevertheless, it's important to keep in mind that certain rules can significantly alter the game's appeal. In a particular scenario, implementing a rule change can ironically make blackjack less favorable than playing triple-zero roulette. These unfavorable rules encompass a range of aspects, such as obligatory side bets, antes, payouts of 6/5 instead of the usual 3/2, restrictions on doubling down after splitting, limitations on the number of hands that can be doubled, the allowance of splitting only once, and the introduction of carnival blackjack variations that carry a noticeably higher house edge.

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Mandatory side bets

In Las Vegas, there are some blackjack games that I would definitely consider the worst. These particular games have one thing in common: mandatory side bets. To make matters worse, these bets are not optional, so you have no choice but to partake in them if you want to play. One example of these games is found at Binion's, Four Queens, Fremont, and Golden Nugget. At Golden Nugget, in particular, the mandatory side bet amounts to $2 on every single blackjack table on the casino floor. It's quite frustrating because it feels like an extra expense that you didn't sign up for when you sat down to play.

Rules for Bonus Spin Blackjack

At Golden Nugget, in the front pit, I like to play the Lucky Cat variant with a $5 flat bet. It gives me a little extra excitement. But here's the thing, the house edge on this game is almost 9%. That means the odds are not exactly in my favor. Now, if I decide to go for the $10 6/5 games, I have to make a $2 mandatory side bet. The house edge on these games is slightly better at 5.5%, but only if I stick to the minimum bet. It's all about finding that balance between risk and reward.

The rest of the gambling establishments mandate a $1 wager for the optional side bet. The range of the house edge at these gaming tables falls between 2.64% and 3.91%.

Blackjack antes

Several casinos in California and Oklahoma, including Mystic Lake, have a mandatory ante at certain or all of their blackjack tables.

Before getting into the specifics, let me tell you that this situation is far from ideal. In fact, it's even more unfavorable than the obligatory additional wager mentioned earlier. The reason for this is that the money you're putting into the pot is essentially going straight to the casino, without any chance for you to win it back. It's what we call "dead money" in the gambling world. So, let's say you're placing a $10 bet, and on top of that, you have to pay a mandatory $1 ante. This seemingly small amount actually has a significant impact on your chances of winning, as it increases the casino's advantage by roughly 9%. And mind you, this is even before considering any other rules that may work against you.

Blackjack rewards with a 6 to 5 payout or an equal amount of money.

Considering the payout on a blackjack is crucial when it comes to evaluating the rules. The ideal payout should be 3/2, but unfortunately, certain casinos have decided to reduce it to 6/5. This modification actually raises the house edge by 1.4%, which is not in the players' favor. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to come across video blackjack games that offer a 6/5 payout. Additionally, there are electronic blackjack games, often found on Game King machines, that only pay even money. Opting for these alternatives increases the house advantage by 2% when compared to the more favorable 3/2 payout.

Raiders Blackjack pays 6:5

Inconvenient regulations regarding doubling down

Doubling down is a significant aspect of blackjack, as it allows players to increase their bet and receive an additional card.

One of the most unfavorable scenarios in a game is when the option to double down is prohibited, which consequently grants the house an additional 2% advantage. Usually, this restriction is only applicable to the Game King blackjack machines. Furthermore, there are other detrimental rules such as the prohibition of doubling down after splitting, limitation to doubling only on hands totaling 9-11, or solely on hands amounting to 10 and 11.

Bad split rules

In Pennsylvania, it's quite common to find casinos that restrict players to splitting pairs only once. However, most casinos, both physical and online, are more generous and allow players to split pairs up to four times. This rule also extends to aces in many establishments. It's worth noting that video blackjack games, in particular, can be a bit stingy when it comes to splitting. Some versions don't even allow players to split at all. Unfortunately, this limitation gives the house a greater advantage, adding approximately 2% to their odds of winning.

In most cases, aces are limited to only one split. This means that each hand will receive one card and will not be eligible for additional hits. However, it's worth noting that there are exceptions to this rule, such as in variants like Spanish 21, Super Fun 21, and Most Liberal 21. Moreover, certain Game King video blackjack games also permit hitting split aces. Additionally, you may find that some casinos allow aces to be re-split into as many as four separate hands. Typically, re-splitting aces is more commonly offered in six-deck and eight-deck games, although there are a few double-deck games in Nevada and Mississippi that also allow it.

Dealer pushes on 22

I've come across various blackjack variations that implement a unique rule: if the dealer gets a 22, players who don't have a blackjack will simply push. Curiously, this particular rule actually gives the house an additional 7% advantage. It's fascinating how this rule is consistently used to counterbalance the more favorable rules found in these blackjack variants. In all my experience, I've never encountered a blackjack table where the push on 22 rule didn't come with a plethora of player-friendly rules as compensation.

I once visited Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the world, and discovered an interesting rule called "push on 22" at certain blackjack tables. This rule, which can be found at games like Blackjack Switch and Free Bet Blackjack, adds a unique twist to the traditional blackjack gameplay. However, this rule is not exclusive to these games alone. In fact, there are other variations of blackjack from the past that have incorporated the push on 22 rule, such as Burn 20, Down Under Blackjack, Power Blackjack, Triple Attack Blackjack, and Zappit 21. While these games may not be as prevalent in Las Vegas anymore, they can still be found in different gaming markets and online casinos. It's fascinating to see how the world of blackjack continues to evolve, offering players new and exciting ways to enjoy this classic casino game.

Player loses ties

Double Exposure Blackjack table

At The Strat, formerly known as Vegas World, you'll find a thrilling game called Double Exposure Blackjack. It's a unique variation that allows the player to see both of the dealer's cards before making a decision to hit or stand. However, there's a catch—the player loses all ties, except when it comes to blackjack. This seemingly small rule change actually increases the house edge by around 8%. Despite the player-friendly aspect of exposing both dealer cards, it's not enough to offset the disadvantage of losing on ties.

Studying it first is crucial, as the strategy for Double Exposure Blackjack differs greatly from the traditional game of blackjack. Although with flawless play, the house edge stands at nearly 2%, most players tend to lose a greater sum without familiarizing themselves with the intricacies beforehand. It's important to note that this variant presents a challenge, requiring a unique approach to optimize one's chances of success.