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Last Updated: December 18, 2014

Blackjack Challenge

Introduction

Blackjack Challenge is a blackjack variant I noticed at the Star City casino in Sydney, Australia in December, 2014. It was asked about on my Wizard of Vegas forum as early as February 2013.

The game is based on blackjack with some nice rules thrown in. The best ones are:

  • Five-card Charlie (non-busted five-card hand automatically wins).
  • 21-point hand automatically wins.
  • Blackjack pays at least 2 to 1 and up to 5 to 1.

The player pays for these rules by otherwise losing on ties. Please go to the rules section for full coverage of the rules.

Rules

The rules of Blackjack Challenge are the same as blackjack with the following exceptions and fine points:

  1. Six 52-card decks.
  2. Dealer stands on soft 17.
  3. Player may double on any two or three cards.
  4. Player may double after splitting.
  5. Player may re-split any pair, including aces, up to three hands.
  6. Player may hit and double after splitting aces.
  7. A ten and ace after splitting counts as a blackjack.
  8. Any non-busted five-card hand is an automatic winner (known as a five-card Charlie or five-card trick).
  9. Any 21-point hand is an automatic winner.
  10. Blackjacks are an automatic winner.
  11. A blackjack against a non-blackjack pays 2 to 1.
  12. If the player and dealer both have a blackjack, then the rank of the ten-point card shall be used to break the tie. The win shall pay as follows when both the player and dealer have a blackjack:
    • Player has higher blackjack: 5 to 1
    • Blackjacks are of equal value: 4 to 1
    • Dealer has higher blackjack: 3 to 1
  13. The dealer shall not take a hole card. The player shall be paid on a total of 21 or five-card hand automatically, even if the dealer has a potential blackjack.
  14. If the player is still standing with a non-blackjack and the dealer gets a blackjack, then the player shall lose an amount equal to his original wager, plus any wagers already lost due to splitting and busting (known as the OBBO rule, which stands for Original and Busted Bets Only).

Strategy





Key:
H = Hit
S = Stand
D = Double
P = Split

House Edge

According to my analysis, the house edge under the basic strategy above is 2.53%.



Written by: Michael Shackleford

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