Maryland Says “Yes” to Hitting on 17

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore Celebrates Grand OpeningLast month decision makers in Maryland decided that it would be beneficial for local casinos to allow their dealers to hit on a soft 17. This decision will mathematically ensure that the house advantage is heightened and casinos will enjoy increased revenues. The new rule gives the house an advantage of 0.2% – an amount that will certainly add up over time.

Casinos in Maryland had been trying for quite some time to change gaming rules to allow their dealers to take a card when their hands totaled 17, but included an ace – thus making a “soft 17”. Casino operators are hoping that this increased advantage will counterbalance their payout odds of 3-to-2 on player blackjacks, which are much more player-friendly than casino payouts in other states, which are usually 6-to-5.

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission¬† approved the new rule, but the decision must be confirmed by the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review – the ultimate decision maker in the state’s battle over blackjack rules. As the new rule will increase revenues for both the casinos and the state, it is almost a foregone conclusion that it will be accepted.

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