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Last Updated: June 26, 2015

Player's Edge 21

Introduction



I first saw Player's Edge 21 on June 5, 2015, at the Palace Casino in La Center, Washington. The game is exactly the same as Spanish 21, except (1) two suited and ranked face cards are an automatic winners and (2) the insurance bet pays 5 to 1 for a suited blackjack.

Rules



Player's Edge 21 is played like blackjack with the following rule changes:

  1. The game is played with six or eight Spanish decks. A Spanish deck consists of 48 cards — the regular 52 cards less the four tens.
  2. Two suited and ranked player face cards are an automatic winner. This includes beating a dealer blackjack.
  3. Late surrender is allowed.
  4. The player may double at any time. This includes on any number of cards, after splitting, and after doubling. The maximum number of double per hand is three.
  5. Re-splitting aces allowed.
  6. A player 21 always wins.
  7. Player blackjack beats dealer blackjack.
  8. Player may hit and double down after splitting aces.
  9. Player may surrender after doubling, known as "double down rescue." The player forfeits an amount equal to his original bet.
  10. A five-card 21 pays 3 to 2, a six-card 21 pays 2 to 1, and a seven or more card 21 pays 3 to 1. These bonuses not offered after doubling or splitting.
  11. A 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 of mixed suits pays 3 to 2, of the same suit pays 2 to 1, and of spades pays 3 to 1. These bonuses pay after splitting but not after doubling.
  12. Suited 7-7-7 when the dealer has a seven face up pays $1000 for bets of $5-$24 and $5000 for bets of $25 or over.
  13. The insurance bet shall pay 2 to 1 for an unsuited blackjack and 5 to 1 for a suited blackjack.


Strategy



The following table shows the basic strategy for Player's Edge 21, which is the same as that for Spanish 21 when re-doubling is allowed.

House Edge



The house edge under the basic strategy above is 0.27%. In case you're wondering, the rule that two suited and ranked player face cards are an automatic winner lowers the house edge by 0.l5%.

Insurance



The following table shows the probability and contribution to the return for the insurance bet, based on six decks. The lower right cell shows a house edge of 5.92%.

Insurance — Six Decks

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Suited blackjack 5 18 0.062718 0.313589
Unsuited blackjack 2 54 0.188153 0.376307
All other -1 215 0.749129 -0.749129
Total 287 1.000000 -0.059233


With eight decks the house edge for the insurance bet is 6.01%.


Written by: Michael Shackleford

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