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Modern Blackjack nth Edition

Blackjack Rules and Variations

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I have about 140 Blackjack rules in my book. But, the variations keep coming. Ithought I would maintain a list of additional variations here. I’ll update this list as people inform me of new rules:

  • ENHC game, you can wait to buy insurance until the moment the dealer announces “Insurance closes!” and hits the upcard. This is very convenient because you have the chance of seeing more cards to make the decision. And you can buy insurance before you hit your hand and if you bust your hand your insurance still plays. (from mleancole)
  • Several casinos now allow splitting aces and then doubling down on them. Either from a defensive standpoint (getting a lousy hit and double for table min hoping to get a good card) or from an offensive standpoint where it would be a double if it had occurred on your first two cards.
  • Buster Blackjack — Side bet that the dealer will bust. There are at least four payoff tables depending on the number of cards the dealer has when she busts. The dealer will still draw cards if the player busts or gets a Blackjack. (Thanks to Mike Shackleford for clarrifying the last situation.)
  • An Argentine rule. In a face down game, player hands are exposed as they are played, no matter what.
  • Cowboys and Cowgirls is a new side bet at the Las Vegas Hilton. You bet that the dealer upcard is black (cowboy) or red (cowgirl). Payoff is even money. Suited black king or suited red queen pays 3 to2. Any color dealer upcard of 3 and both side bets lose.
  • Insure a ten pays 10:1 if the dealer has an ace in the hole.
  • No spreading hands mid-shoe: A new limit on number of hands played. This rule does not allow spread to multiple hands unless it is the first hand after a shuffle.
  • Pure Blackjack: This is a California cardroom game similar to California Blackjack, except that player tries to reach 21.5 instead of 22 and there are no jokers. BJ usually pays 6:5, if the player-banker has three 8s, everyone pushes or ties.
  • In Between: You win this side bet if the dealer’s upcard is in between the player’s initial two cards. Ace is always a high card. Jack, Queen, and King are different. Usual payoffs:

  • All 3 cards match pays 30-1
  • A one card spread pays 10-1
  • Two card spread 6-1
  • Any other spread 1-1

Burn 20 Blackjack (info from Geoff Hall)

  • “Burn 20 Blackjack” is dealt as a normal game of Blackjack, with two cards to the Player and one to the Dealer.
  • If the Dealer has an Ace to 9 as their exposed card, the game continues as normal.
  • If the Dealer has a “10” value card (i.e 10,J, Q or K) there is potential for a “Burn 20”. The game continues as normal until all Player decisions have been made and the Dealer addresses their own hand. They will then deal the second card to their hand.
  • If the Dealer’s second card is a 2 to 9, or a Blackjack with an Ace of a different suit to the Dealer’s first card, then the game continues as normal.
  • If the Dealer’s second card is a 10 value card, or a Blackjack with an Ace of the same suit as the first card , the Dealer will then place both cards in the Burn 20 area marked on the layout (marked with flames) and deal themselves two further cards, face up.
  • If the new cards are not two further 10 value cards, the game will continue as normal.
  • If the new cards ARE two further 10 value cards, the Dealer will again burn them by placing them on the flame symbol. The same applies if the two new cards make a Blackjack (regardless of suit), the two cards will be discarded.
  • This process will continue until the Dealer draws two cards that are neither both 10 value cards or form a Blackjack.
  • If the Dealer achieves a score of 20 using three cards, the game is unaffected and continues as normal. The “Burn 20” rule applies only for a two card score of 20 on the Dealer’s hand or a Blackjack formed by the new cards.
  • The only other change to the normal game is if the Dealer achieves a score of 22, in which case all remaining Player hands in the game will push, except for Blackjacks which will be paid at 3-2 as normal. (This provides the additional house edge to compensate for the Burn 20 rules favouring the Player).
  • When the Dealer has a score that is not 22, winning Player hands are otherwise paid even money as normal, other than Blackjacks at 3-2. Players may make all usual decisions to split or double on their hand.
  • As soon as two further cards that are neither two 10’s or a Blackjack are dealt to the Dealer’s hand, the Dealer will discard any ‘burned’ cards on the flamed “Burn 20” area and places them into the discard holder. They will then complete their hand as normal.

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