Description: An unbiased account of how Bodog Blackjack stacks up, including an analysis of the Bodog House Rules for the two Blackjack games offered.
With its Internet presence first established in 1995, Bodog has become one of the world’s most popular and trusted online casinos; its reputation for fairness is impeccable. The web site relies on RTG (RealTime Gaming) for its table game software, and two versions of Blackjack are offered: the standard casino 6-deck version and European Blackjack. These are provided as part of the downloadable casino application as well as in Instant Play mode, both with real money and practice options available.
In practice mode, no sign-up or account is required to play and no money needs to be deposited. A bankroll of $1,000 in non-redeemable “play” credits is issued. In real money mode, the table stakes are from $1 to $500. In both modes, the game is played heads up with the dealer, and there is no option for multiple hands.
The graphics used for Bodog Blackjack are simple—none of the fancy new 3-D effects and dealer’s avatar to face. Audio is limited to the sounds made by cards and chips—no canned music to contend with. The clean, no-frills appearance of the table is conducive to professional-level play and a convenient “Enlarge” toggle allows the layout to be expanded to almost full screen.
Only six controls need to be manipulated: Surrender, Split, Double, Stand, Hit, and Deal/Rebet. A separate pop-up appears for the Insurance option, when available. The hands come quickly out of the shoe when then the Deal/Rebet button is pressed. One player reported that it is possible to get in 1,000 deals an hour—about one every three or four seconds—which has been confirmed by testing.
Bodog Blackjack House Rules Analysis
Other than a player’s ability to play Blackjack according to basic strategy, the single factor that has the most impact on winning and losing is the set of House Rules that are employed. At Bodog, the rules have been set to favor the casino slightly more than might be desired, but not enough to put a good player off his/her game. Following is an independent analysis of how the Bodog Blackjack Rules stack up.
• Six decks of cards are used – Better than eight but not as good as four or fewer.
• Cards are re-shuffled after each hand – More random hands, disables card counting.
• Dealer hits Soft 17 – Benefits the casino, not the player.
• Player can double on any two cards – Benefits the player.
• Player can split up to three hands – Better than two, but not as good as four.
• Player can surrender any first two cards – Standard, but typically not a good play.
• Split Aces receive only one card – Favors the casino, not the player.
• No re-splitting of Aces allowed – Also favors the casino, not the player.
• Claimed House Edge = 0.6%
• Estimated Actual House Edge = 0.79%
As can easily be seen, there are some areas that cry out for improvement, but even though the estimated House edge is about 30% higher than claimed by representatives, it is still not bad at all compared to what’s offered elsewhere on the Internet. Essentially, any margin less than 1% is good, and only sites that offer the ability to re-spilt Aces or hit them more than once will have a House edge of 0.45% or lower.
For the European Blackjack version, the House edge is actually better—closer to 0.66%. That’s because although doubling down is allowed only on 9, 10, or 11 to the player’s disadvantage, the dealer must stand on soft 17, which more than compensates for the shift in margin.
Blackjack Promotion of Historic Proportions
As a testament to the popularity of Bodog Blackjack, in late February 2011, the web site celebrated its one billionth Blackjack hand—allegedly the first online casino to reach such a milestone. The occasion was celebrated with a variety of promotions, not the least of which being two opportunities to win a “once-in-a-lifetime billionaire’s experience.”