The majority of the time casinos will offer an honest blackjack game, meaning they are not trying to pull anything sneaky. Just the standard blackjack rules that might scoot the edge more in favor of the house, such as hitting soft 17s. But sometimes you cannot help thinking that the casino is pulling a fast one when you are on a bad losing streak.
Again, majority of the time you will find honest blackjack games. But sometimes shoes malfunction or a really seedy casino might with hold cards. What does such a thing do to your blackjack odds?
Well if the missing cards are queens or another of the cards worth 10 it can hurt your odds badly. And thinking realistically, a card worth 10 would be the most likely card to be removed from the deck, not just because it favors the player, but because there are more 10 value cards in a deck and is less likely to immediately be noticed.
So what does a missing 10 value card do to your blackjack odds?
Quite a bit actually. Ten value cards are one of the cards that favor players, the other being Aces. The hit to your blackjack odds is 0.49, just shy of half of a percent. Keep in mind all the rounds of playing perfect basic strategy to lower the house edge to that 0.5% and you can be hit with the same amount from having just one card removed.
The reason for the hit is that with less ten cards, such as a single queen being removed, cuts down on the chances of a player being dealt a natural blackjack and on being paid that 3-2 payout. It also cuts down on the number of strong hands, such as 20s from double downs, pairs of 10s, and three or more cards adding up to 21.
So since removing a single 10 value card from a deck cuts down on the number of player blackjacks and strong hands, the player’s blackjack odds are hit hard. Thankfully the large majority of casinos offer honest blackjack games.