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Pennsylvania Casinos Start Table Games Play, Offer Some of the World’s Best Blackjack Odds

Jul 9, 2010

While citizens of Pennsylvania may celebrate a recent law that allows table games including blackjack and roulette in the state’s casinos and racetracks as of July 8, players all over will soon be made happier with the news that the odds at the state’s blackjack tables are better than those in Las Vegas.

According to rules approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for the six casinos which have introduced blackjack or will introduce it later this month, the house advantage is under 0.4% on the state’s games. This house advantage beats the odds offered in two-thirds of blackjack variations offered in Las Vegas.

Key rules made standard in Pennsylvania-based casinos include blackjack is paid at 3:2; double down allowed on any two cards, including after splitting pairs; and late surrender is allowed. This last rule was particularly sought after, as land-based casinos located in neighboring West Virginia do not offer the surrender option at all.

The big difference in Pennsylvania casino rules, however, is that the dealer *must stand* on soft 17. Most Las Vegas casinos allow the dealer to hit soft 17, an option that increases the house advantage by nearly 0.25% and makes blackjack strategy that much more difficult.

One can never be sure if Pennsylvania’s blackjack rules were incorporated purposely to divert attention from longer player odds in New Jersey, West Virginia and even Las Vegas, but Pennsylvania casinos will surely be getting business from the serious U.S. blackjack player soon – clearly the point of the enterprise.


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