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Live Dealer Blackjack Rules Guide & How They Affect the RTP

Blackjack is one of the few card games where your skills influence the outcome. However, much of it still boils down to luck and the rules that tend to differ from game to game.
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Image of Live Blackjack Rules & RTP

You can’t affect luck, but you can certainly pick and choose the games based on their rules. Many of these affect the RTP, Return to Player, percentage that shows how much money you’re set to win for every $100 invested. It’s a theoretical number, but it still significantly influences how much you could win. 

With that in mind, let’s look at the most common blackjack rules and how they affect the overall RTP value. By the end, you’ll know which ones are the most favorable, so you can pick the blackjack games that have them and consequently improve your chances of winning

Most Common Live Blackjack Rules and Their Effect on RTP

Almost every rule changes the RTP of a live dealer blackjack game. This change might be the tiniest, but it adds up over time. Casinos know this, which is why many prefer games with rules that lower the RTP. 

As the player, you also need to be aware of this to avoid games with rules that damage the RTP value. 

Number of Decks

8 Deck Blackjack IconBlackjack games tend to use different numbers of decks. In general, most live dealer games use eight decks, just as real blackjack games in land-based casinos do. However, those that use only six are not few and far between.

The fewer decks of cards in play, the higher the RTP value.

  • With one deck in play, you get the baseline RTP value, but the more decks are added, the more the RTP decreases.
  • With the standard eight decks, the RTP lowers by 0.66%.

Doubling Down

Doubling down is a standard rule in blackjack that lets you double the value of your initial wager. It’s best to use it when you’re confident in your hand, as the option requires you to stand down after taking another card.

When the option exists without restrictions, it increases the RTP by 0.25%.


Spilt in Blackjack IconSplitting is a common option in blackjack, found in many live dealer blackjack variations. It provides you with more options and creates the possibility for an additional bet when used.

The way it works affects the RTP; generally, the more times you can split, the more the RTP rises. However, in most cases, this increase is too low to warrant making the additional wager.

Blackjack Paying 3:2

Image of Blackjack Payout 3:2Blackjack payouts influence RTP values the most. When blackjack pays 2:1, the positive impact on the RTP is the greatest and stands at 2.27%.

However, the standard in most live dealer blackjack games is a payout of 3:2, and it improves the RTP only by 0.32% when the player can win with a tie and by 0.31% with the 6-Card Charlie rule.

A payout of 7:5, found in some live dealer games, lowers the RTP by 0.45%. The worst is when blackjack pays 1:1, as it decreases the RTP by as much as 2.27%.

Side Bets

Image of Blackjack Side BetsMany blackjack games have side bets — wagers you can place outside the main ones you make in any blackjack game. However, these are typically not worthwhile as the chances of winning are too low to warrant making a bet, even though the payouts are often quite big.

This is reflected in the RTP as well. The average RTP of a blackjack game is around 99%, while side bets usually have RTPs of 90% or lower.

Due to this, we don’t recommend making them if you’re looking to optimize your gameplay fully. But if you’re only in it for the excitement, go ahead, as some side bets come with payouts of 1000:1.


Surrender In Blackjack IconCertain live blackjack variations allow players to surrender. The rule affects the RTP value, but only slightly.

A late surrender can only improve the RTP by 0.08%. However, an early surrender increases the RTP by 0.24% against a dealer’s 10 and 0.39% against a dealer’s Ace.

5-Card Charlie

Image of 5-Card Charlie in BlackjackThe 5-Card Charlie rule is simple — you win the game if you get five cards in your hand. It doesn’t matter if you have a poor hand, like a 15.

The rule is a great incentive to take another card even if you feel you might go bust. Moreover, it increases the RTP percentage by 1.46% in most cases. However, it’s still hard to reach five cards without busting, as the odds are around 50:1.

Which Live Blackjack Rules Are the Most Favorable?

We’ve already explained all the rules that positively affect the RTP, but here’s a summary of the best ones, so you know what to look for:

  1. Payout 2:1

  2. 5-Card Charlie

  3. Single deck

  4. Early surrender

  5. Double down without restrictions

  6. 6-Card Charlie

  7. Player wins in a tie


Almost every blackjack rule affects the overall RTP value of the game. The number of decks, payouts, and options like surrender, doubling down, and splitting can increase or decrease the RTP

The key is to remember which of these rules increases the percentage the most, so you can always play live dealer blackjack titles that have them. Using this short guide, you’ll always identify the games with the highest RTPs and avoid the rest. 


What is RTP in blackjack? RTP, or Return to Player, is a number representing the percentage of money players win from amounts invested. Most games of chance have it, including live dealer blackjack. The closer the percentage is to 100%, the more you can win.
How do rules affect the RTP of live dealer blackjack games? Every rule in blackjack can impact the RTP as it changes the gameplay, payouts, and more. In essence, adding or excluding specific rules from blackjack games can raise or lower the overall RTP value by a small margin.
Where can I find live dealer blackjack games with the highest RTPs? You should always look for the best blackjack sites on the web, as these offer the most benefits. This also includes a whole host of blackjack games with high RTPs.
What live dealer blackjack games have the best RTP? Some of the titles with the biggest RTPs include Infinite Blackjack by Evolution (99.51%), First Person Blackjack by Evolution (99.21%), 2 Hand Casino Hold’em by Evolution (99.18%), and Golden Baccarat Live by Playtech (98.77%).

About the Author

Author Hi all! My name is Jayson Peter, and I am the Chief Editor here at Casino USA. I have always been a huge fan of casinos, but I noticed that there are not a lot of websites out there that discuss the gambling industry in enough detail, so that’s how the idea for was born. With my extensive knowledge of the industry and the help of my team, I am ready to give you an insight into the exciting world of casino gambling in the United States.