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Differences in Blackjack Variations

When a player looks for a blackjack game online, they will have the option to select from dozens of variants. Understanding the differences in these variants will help players find the blackjack game that suits them the best.

Number of Decks

One of the factors that changes from variant to variant is the number of decks used in the game. This can vary from between one and eight, and each deck removed from the shoe slightly increases the odds for the player. The difference in odds from an eight deck game to a single-deck game can vary as much as 3%, but the payout tables are often adjusted to compensate. Players should look for a game that combines a low number of decks with a high payout.

Hitting on 16, Standing on 17

Though most online blackjack variants allow the player to decide when to hit and when to stand, most of them have special rules that apply only to the dealer. In most games, the dealer is required to hit until they reach 16 but stand when they reach 17, regardless of the player's score. Some variations, however, allow the dealer to hit on 17, thereby increasing the house edge by as much as 1%. Games in which the dealer is required to stand on 17 are the best bets.

No Hole Card Rule

The most common rule that applies to the dealer's hole card states that the dealer will receive his hole card before he or she checks for blackjacks. When this happens, both the player and the dealer have their initial two cards, but no actions can be taken just yet. Therefore, if the dealer has a blackjack, he or she automatically wins. Players should look for games with a No Hole Card rule to ensure that they have an opportunity to tie the dealer for a blackjack and have their bet 'pushed'.

These three rules commonly fluctuate throughout the blackjack variants. For the best experience and the lowest house edge possible, players should stick to variants that follow the rules outlined in this document.

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