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Last Updated: July 2, 2017

Half Back Blackjack

Michael Shackleford: Hi, this is Michael Shackleford at the 2015 Cutting Edge Table Game Show at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and I’m here with my favorite dealer in Las Vegas, Angela Wyman. Nice to see you again, Angela.

Angela Wyman: It is always great to see you Mike.

Michael: You make all these shows so much fun.

Angela: [laughs] I just wait for you to come.

Question 1 - [00:25]

Michael: Wow, you are too kind. What game are you doing this year?

Angela: This year I’m doing half back Blackjack. So, it’s a Blackjack variant, the idea is that you start with two equal mandatory bets. If your first two cards are 13 through 16, the dealer offers you the opportunity to pull back half of that bet so it gives you the opportunity to make your card better. Then to balance that on the dealer side, if the dealer first card is three through six I pull it off and I play the next card in the shoe.

Question 2 - [00:52]

Michael: The main benefit to the player’s hand is basically he can surrender and still play out his hand?

Angela: Exactly.

Question 3 - [00:59]

Michael: Angela, how is the strategy in this game different from conventional Blackjack?

Angela: Well, being able to pull half your bet back obviously is completely different. It starts to get a little bit different when it comes to splits. You don’t have to put any additional money on the table, your first split is paid for by the two bets that are already on the table. Any additional splits after would require more units to come out. Then with doubling, you are actually only doubling the contract bet or the main bet, but you don’t double both of them.

Question 4 - [01:27]

Michael: Okay, so the doubling is kind of like a half double and so I would imagine there is going to be less doubling going on. And would you happen to have a basic strategy for the game available?

Angela: I do, absolutely.

Question 5 - [01:38]

Michael: Yes, this does look much like the conventional basic strategy for hard hands, there is less doubling going on and there is more splitting going on. Much like in regular Blackjack, you are splitting out the cards but you are not putting out new money on the table. Does that help or hurt the player?

Angela: It can potentially be either; I think mathematically its advantage to the casino not to the player.

Michael: Thank you very much for showing me the game.