4

I am hosting a casino-night party. These are not money games, but there are prizes at the end of the night for whoever wins the most chips overall. I will be dealing blackjack. I want my players to have fun, and winning is fun, so I would like to adjust the rules a bit to improve player edge. None of the players are gamblers, and some will be playing for the first time, so their play will be far from optimal.

What would be some good rule changes to increase the players winning?

Increasing blackjack payouts to 2:1 seems like an obvious choice. Anything else I should consider?

Note: I WILL make it clear to my players that the game they are playing is rigged in their favor and is NOT the same as they would find in a real casino.

3 Answers 3

6

In blackjack, the house edge over an inexperienced players is around 2% [source]. Thus any small rule-adjustment will do the work.

My suggestion is not to change the rules but to simply remove half of the 2-6 from the deck. Card-counting players are waiting for exactly this situations, known as hot-deck, then they know that they have the edge over the house thus they shift from 1$ bets into 10K$ bets.

To put it simply, if cards of smaller ranks (2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) are dealt and removed from the deck, their removal will have a positive effect on your expectations. In other words, their removal increases your advantage. As for the cards of higher ranks (10, J, Q, K and A), their removal has a negative effect on your expectations. It simply means that odds of creating a blackjack hand when these cards are removed from the deck for the player are lower. Finally, the removal of 7, 8 and 9 has almost no effect on your expectations.

EDIT: removing all of the 2-6 is too big of an advantage, I think it is better to remove just half of the 2-6. This is because removing all of the 2-6 will create wired situations where players almost know that the dealer will go bust.


Other rules-adjustments that can move the edge to the players:

  1. Players win ties.
  2. Dealer stand on 18 instead of 17

Suggestions from a variant called Player's Edge 21:

  1. blackjack payouts to 2:1
  2. Two suited and ranked player face cards are an automatic winner. This includes beating a dealer blackjack.
  3. Late surrender is allowed.
  4. The player may double at any time. This includes on any number of cards, after splitting, and after doubling. The maximum number of double per hand is three.
  5. Re-splitting aces allowed.
  6. A player 21 always wins.
  7. Player blackjack beats dealer blackjack.
  8. Player may hit and double down after splitting aces.
  9. Player may surrender after doubling, known as "double down rescue." The player forfeits an amount equal to his original bet.
  10. A five-card 21 pays 3 to 2, a six-card 21 pays 2 to 1, and a seven or more card 21 pays 3 to 1.
  11. A 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 of mixed suits pays 3 to 2, of the same suit pays 2 to 1, and of spades pays 3 to 1. These bonuses pay after splitting but not after doubling. Suited 7-7-7 when the dealer has a seven face up pays $1000 for bets of $5-$24 and $5000 for bets of $25 or over.
4
  • 2
    Upvoted specifically for the first suggestion. The other suggestions might do the trick as well, but I appreciate that removing 2-6 will let players experience the game very much like it would normally be played, except with a lot more moments of achievement and success. In combination with what the questioner said about clearly educating players that this isn't what they should expect at a real table (and perhaps by player's choice eventually including those cards again), this sounds like a very good method of bringing fun to a table of non-casino-regulars. Nov 20, 2023 at 9:24
  • I'd be careful with changing deck composition. Removing some of the low cards from the deck without telling players cloud also lead to a very bad player experience, as it also punishes inexperienced players who like to make reckless moves (like hitting on a 17)
    – Zags
    Nov 21, 2023 at 17:18
  • 1
    Thank you. This gives me lots of options to work with. Very helpful.
    – Noel
    Nov 22, 2023 at 0:16
  • @Zags, of course, you must tell the players of any modification you do as a dealer. I would start by saying: have you guys seen the movie 21? So what happened is that a crew of very smart people from MIT count +1 for every low card and -1 for every high card and they found out that this deck is HOT +20 and calls you high rollers to win big time!
    – Cohensius
    Nov 22, 2023 at 7:35
1

In some casinos the house rules say the Dealer must:

  • draw on 16 or under
  • stand on 17 or over

You could raise that to:

  • draw on 17 or under
  • stand on 18 or over

to increase the chance of the Dealer going bust.
Or even higher.

0

Could you simply have the dealer play by all the same rules as each non-dealer player? Rather than have the player always act first, rotate the start player among different hands like you do in poker. And allow the dealer to decide whether to hit or stand rather than have a rule about when they have to. Essentially, "the dealer" becomes irrelevant; it's just multiple people playing against each other with all equal rules and odds, and one of those players happens to be the house.

3
  • 1
    If this is a bad idea, I'd love to hear feedback on why! I admin I don't know a lot about Black Jack, so I definitely may have overlooked something here.
    – GendoIkari
    Nov 21, 2023 at 20:34
  • I think it is an O.k idea that could work. The thing is that it will change the dynamics of the game, because everybody are against the dealer there is some dynamics that all the players are together, you can see in casino people cheer each other and happy that other players beat the dealer. This will be lost in a free-for-all variant.
    – Cohensius
    Nov 22, 2023 at 7:41
  • 1
    @Cohensius See that's something I didn't know about black jack! I thought the best hand won; I didn't realize that anyone who beat the dealer won.
    – GendoIkari
    Nov 22, 2023 at 14:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .