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Last Updated: March 22, 2015

Blackjack Plus

Introduction

Blackjack Plus is a blackjack variant I noticed at the Queenstown casino in New Zealand in December, 2014. It can also be found at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia. It was asked about on my Wizard of Vegas forum as early as December 2011.

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).
  • Blackjack and 21-point hand automatically wins.

The player pays for these rules mostly by pushing if the dealer otherwise has a 22. A blackjack also pays even money only.

Rules

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

New Zealand Rules



  1. Six 52-card decks.
  2. Dealer hits on soft 17.
  3. Player may double on any two-card hard total.
  4. Player may double after splitting.
  5. Player may not re-split.
  6. Split aces get one card only.
  7. Any non-busted five-card hand is an automatic winner (known as a five-card Charlie or five-card trick).
  8. Any 21-point hand is an automatic winner.
  9. Blackjacks are an automatic winner and pay even money.
  10. 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.
  11. 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).

Australian Rules



I have an unconfirmed report that the rules in Melbourne and Perth are quite a bit different, as follows. Changes compared to the New Zealand rules are in capital letters.

  • Game is played with six 52 card decks.
  • Dealer STANDS on soft 17.
  • Player may double on ANY two OR THREE card total LESS THAN 21.
  • Player may double after splitting.
  • Player MAY RESPLIT ONCE ONLY.
  • Split aces get one card only, CANNOT RESPLIT ACES.
  • Any non-busted five-card hand is an automatic winner.
  • Any 21-point hand is an automatic winner.
  • Blackjacks are an automatic winner and PAY 3 TO 2.
  • The dealer shall not take a hole card.
  • 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).
  • If dealer hand equals 22 the remaining player hands are a standoff. (21's and Blackjack's have already been paid)

Strategy



House Edge

According to my analysis, the house edge under the basic strategy above is 6.36% (ouch!). This makes 6-5 blackjack seems like a great bet in comparison. This the highest house edge I've ever seen on a blackjack variant, which usually doesn't creep much above 1%.

  • Crown Melbourne Rules (PDF) — Rule document from the casino website. Start at page 60. Online Blackjack — This website claims the house edge is 5.5%, based on a different set of rules they claim are used in Melbourne.
  • Online Blackjack — This web site claims the house edge is 5.5%, based on a different set of rules they claim are used in Melbourne.


Written by: Michael Shackleford

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