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Last Updated: March 23, 2012

Power Blackjack

Introduction

Power Blackjack is a blackjack variation, which can be played at the Paris and Fitzgerald's in Las Vegas, as well as Internet casinos using WagerWorks software. Following are the rules.

Rules

  1. The rules are the same as conventional blackjack, except where noted below.
  2. Six ordinary 52-card decks are used.
  3. Blackjack pays 3 to 2.
  4. The dealer stands on soft 17.
  5. Double after split allowed.
  6. No surrender.
  7. If the player has specified two-card totals then he may "Power Double." In a Power Double, if the player does not like his third card, he may exchange it for the next card in the shoe. If the player invokes this option the unwanted double down card is put in the discard pile.
  8. With any other two cards, except blackjack, the player may still do an ordinary double.
  9. If the player has any hard total of 15 or 16 (for example 10 and 6), then he may do a "Power Split." A power split is just like an ordinary split, except the initial two cards do not have to be the same rank.
  10. If the dealer busts with a total of 22, then all non-busted player hands will push.

Some rules may vary, depending on where you play. Here is what you'll encounter in Las Vegas and Wager Works casinos.

Las Vegas Variant

  • Dealer hits soft 17.
  • Power doubles on hard 10 and 11 only.
  • Dealer peeks at hole card.
  • Player may do ordinary re-splits up to four hands, except no re-splitting aces.

Wager Works Variant

Note: I have an unconfirmed report that the rules below have been changed. Until I know what the new rules are, and have time to analyze them, I'm sticking with what I've got.

  • Dealer stands on soft 17.
  • Power doubles on 9 to 11, including soft 19 and 20.
  • The dealer follows the European no hole card rule. If the dealer gets a blackjack, the player loses everything he bet (including doubles and splits).
  • Player may split only once.

Strategy

The following table shows the basic strategy for Wager Works rules.

If player has three or more cards, and strategy says to double or power double, then hit, except stand on soft 18 to soft 20.

Power Doubling Strategy

Keep your original double down card if any of the following conditions are met. Otherwise, make a power double.

Vegas Rules

  1. Keep any card forming a 20 or 21.
  2. Keep any card forming a 19, except with 2-card 11 against a dealer 10.
  3. Keep any card forming an 18 against a dealer 7.

Wager Works Rules

  1. Keep any card forming a 20 or 21.
  2. Keep any card forming a 19, except with 2-card 11 against a dealer 10.
  3. Keep any card forming an 18, if any of the following conditions apply.

    • 2-card 10 against a dealer 7
    • 2-card 11 against a dealer 7
    • 2-card 9 against any dealer card except 9
    • 2-card soft 19 against a dealer 2 to 4, or 6 to 8

House Edge

The house edge under the Las Vegas rules is 0.55%.

The house edge under the WagerWorks rules is 0.23%.

Scott McIntosh, of Online Poker Room Reviews, did an independent analysis of the Wager Works rules. His house edge agrees with mine to within 0.02%.


Written by: Michael Shackleford

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