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Last Updated: August 29, 2016

Deal & Reveal

Introduction

Deal & Reveal is a blackjack variant with a few twists. The main one is that if the dealer has a 2 to 6 up, then he will reveal his hole card before the player's turn.

The game began a field trial at the Palazzo in August, 2016. It was created by Geoff Hall, of Blackjack Switch and Free Bet Blackjack fame. The game is marketed by ShuffleMaster.

Rules




Rack card

Deal & Reveal is based on conventional blackjack rules with the specifics and changes listed below. If two rules seem to contradict, then apply the one listed first.

  1. Six or eight decks are used.
  2. The dealer hits a soft 17.
  3. The dealer shall peek for blackjack.
  4. Double after split allowed.
  5. Surrender not allowed.
  6. Draw to split aces not allowed.
  7. If the player achieves a total of 21, whether by hitting or doubling, including after a split, then it shall be an immediate winner and pay 1 to 1.
  8. The player may re-split to four hands, including aces.
  9. If the dealer has an ace up, then he shall immediately peek for a blackjack. If he has one, then he shall burn the 10-point card, and replace it with the next card in the shoe. Play will then continue as in conventional blackjack, with the dealer offering insurance.
  10. If the dealer has a 2 to 6 up, then he shall reveal the hole card, as in Double Exposure.
  11. If at the end of the hand the dealer started with a 2 to 6 up, and ended with a total of 22, then any player hands still standing shall push.


Strategy



The strategy depends on whether the dealer is exposing one or two cards, because of the 22 push against two dealer cards. The first table shows the strategy against two dealer cards.

The next table shows the strategy against one dealer up card, which is the same as in regular blackjack against for four to eight decks and the dealer hits a soft 17.

Analysis



The house edge, defined as the ratio of the expected player loss to the original wager, is 1.11%.

After doubling and splitting, the average final wager will be 1.132 units. That makes the Element of Risk, defined as the ratio of the expected loss to the average total wager, 1.11%/1.132 = 0.98%.

The house edge on the insurance bet is 8.06%. This is higher than the 7.42% in blackjack with the same six decks, because in Deal & Reveal insurance is offered only after the dealer removes an extra ten from the shoe.

Methodology



In the interests of time, I analyzed Deal & Reveal in Excel, using an infinite deck and infinite re-splitting assumption. This led to a house edge of 1.165%. Then I compared my results against the math report by Daniel Dale, who did a combinatorial analysis. Our house edge and strategy were very close and I assume any differences were due to my infinite deck assumption. The strategy and house edge quoted here are from Daniel, whose work I trust.

Acknowledgement



I would like to thank ShuffleMaster for sharing their math report on the game. I would also like to thank Daniel Dale for his help in clarifying the rules to the game.



Discussion about Deal & Reveal in my forum at Wizard of Vegas.


Written by: Michael Shackleford

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