I spotted Blackjack Party at the Casino Bregenz in Bregenz, Austria. It sets a new low for the worst blackjack rules I have ever seen, which are as follows.
Conventional blackjack rules are followed with the following specifics and exceptions.
- Six decks of cards.
- Dealer stands on soft 17.
- Dealer does not take a hole card. If player doubles or splits, and dealer gets a blackjack, player loses the total amount bet.
- Winning player blackjack pays 6 to 5.
- Winning player blackjack in the form of the ace of spades and jack of spades pays 5 to 1.
- If the dealer draws to 22, any bets still standing push.
- Player 7-7-7 in the first three cards pays 6-5*.
- Player may double on any two cards.
- Player may double after split.
- Player may re-split any pair, including aces, infinitely.
- Surrender not allowed.
- Betting limits at the Casino Bregenz were 2 to 120€
*: I assume that the 7-7-7 must be the original hand. A 7-7-7 after splitting does not qualify. I assume that a player 7-7-7 against a dealer blackjack loses.
The game also offers the following side bets:
- Insurance: Pays 2 to 1. House edge of 7.40% on average, depending slightly on player cards.
- Bust pays 5 to 2. House edge of 1.33% on average, depending slightly on player cards.
- C3. House edge of 10.86%.
Following is the basic strategy.
Given the high house edge, I would recommend betting the "bust" bet only, if they let you. I've never seen a game where the base bet had a house edge six times as high as one of its side bets.
According to my analysis, the bottom line is a house edge of 8.04% (ouch!). The effect of the 7-7-7 rule is 0.02% in the player's favor and the ace and jack of spades rule is 0.03%.
At a house edge of 8%, this is by far the worst blackjack variant for the player I have ever seen. In all fairness, casinos lose money in conventional blackjack, including the cost of labor, at bets under approximately $50, so they argue that games like this allow players of lesser means an opportunity to play, while still making economic sense for the casino.
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Written by:Michael Shackleford