Right now blackjack at the new Pennsylvania casinos is at its best. Players are currently enjoying a house edge of 0.4% if they play according to basic strategy, which is lower than the typical basic strategy blackjack house edge. But such a house edge may not last, and speculation is already building on what will change.
With the opening of any new casino, the games are highly likely to have more player favorable rules and therefore lower house edges. This is done primarily to bring new players in and get them comfortable with the casino in hopes that they will return even if the rules change.
And the rules almost always change.
When the Gaming Control Board of Pennsylvania fist set down the blackjack rules, they did so with the intention of meeting a few months after the casinos had been open to discuss possible changes. The few months is drawing to a close, and member of the Gaming Control Board are not commenting on the possibility for changes to the blackjack rules.
And naturally the casinos are not going to mind changes to the blackjack rules as long as they are favored in the changes, which is likely. The casinos will present and promote the potential of gaining more through taxes with changes to the rules. And the need for revenue was the whole reason for legalizing casinos and blackjack and other table games in Pennsylvania. So I am guessing that if they learn that they could make more for changing a couple of rules, I am willing to bet they would make the changes.
So the state would get more revenue. The casinos would get a lot more in profit. And blackjack players would be left will less money in winnings in the long run.
What rules would be changed?
The Wizard of Odds is banking on them allowing dealers to hit soft 17s and that the natural blackjack payout be changed from a 3-2 payout to a 6-5 payout. The change in payout alone would increase the house edge by 1.4% alone. But both rule changes combined would raise the house edge to 1.9%. Again, that is if you are playing according to basic strategy, and with rule changes like that on the horizon, you had better be playing according to basic strategy.
Now no rule changes have been made yet. But gaming professionals have seen rules change after a casino has been open for a few months, and they have seen which rules change the most often. This is what makes them think that the good blackjack rules Pennsylvania players are enjoying now could be shuffled along for house friendly blackjack rules.
If you live in Pennsylvania you had better get your blackjack in now should the rules change.