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Last Updated: March 22, 2018

Blackjack Party

Introduction

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.

Rules

Conventional blackjack rules are followed with the following specifics and exceptions.

  1. Six decks of cards.
  2. Dealer stands on soft 17.
  3. Dealer does not take a hole card. If player doubles or splits, and dealer gets a blackjack, player loses the total amount bet.
  4. Winning player blackjack pays 6 to 5.
  5. Winning player blackjack in the form of the ace of spades and jack of spades pays 5 to 1.
  6. If the dealer draws to 22, any bets still standing push.
  7. Player 7-7-7 in the first three cards pays 6-5*.
  8. Player may double on any two cards.
  9. Player may double after split.
  10. Player may re-split any pair, including aces, infinitely.
  11. Surrender not allowed.
  12. 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%.

Strategy

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.

Analysis

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.


Written by: Michael Shackleford

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