21 Duel Blackjack
Whilst there are plenty of variations to be found in the realm of land-based and online Blackjack tables, many follow quite traditional rules and bolt-on a side bet for a little extra action per hand. There are a few notable exceptions, and 21 Duel Blackjack is one such game.
The online version of 21 Duel Blackjack under review here comes from the Playtech stable, so you can be assured that it’s a very nicely presented game with easy user controls. It is blighted by Playtech’s terrible choice of background music, but this can be quickly remedied by hitting the mute button to silence this bland intrusion! With the scene set for some serious gaming, what’s so different about 21 Duel Blackjack to pique your interest?
The intriguing difference in 21 Duel Blackjack begins with the deal. After placing your Ante bet (there is an optional 2 Up side bet too, which we’ll return to later), six cards are dealt. You receiver two personal cards, only one face up, the Dealer receives two cards, both face down, and two face-up community cards are dealt to a middle position on the layout. You now face three strategic decisions.
You may choose to add one of the community cards to your upcard, doubling your stake in the process (a chip matching your Ante bet is placed on the layout to indicate your choice) or fold your hand if both potential hands are strategically weak i.e. losing the Ante bet is a better choice than playing on to potentially lose twice the Ante bet. If you don’t fold, you may then stand the hand you’ve created or ‘Hit’ it once, and once only, to reveal your face down personal card.
Once you’ve stood a hand the Dealer’s turn begins with the turning over of the first of their face down cards. They must play their hand according to the fixed House Way (shown in the game’s rules) to pick one of the communal cards to add to that card, after which they may discard or add their second personal card to get the best hand they can. The Dealer’s hand must count to 13 or more to be eligible, triggering an automatic win if it is 12 or less, or more than 22. Payouts for wins are as follows:
Dealer busts, or has a hand count lower than the Player – Ante and additional bet pay at 1 to 1.
Dealer has a hand count better than the Player but less than 13 – Ante bet pays at 1 to 1 and additional bet is pushed.
Although 21 Duel Blackjack might seem complex, a few hands in the game’s free demo mode should quickly get you into the swing of things – we certainly found it easy to pick up and soon found ourselves rather hooked on its new strategic challenges. Should you also like a little side bet, the 2 Up wager lets you stake on the outcome of the three face-up cards that are present after the initial deal. A pair will win the side bet at 3 to 1 and Three-of-a-Kind will up that return to 20 to 1.
Playtech’s 21 Duel Blackjack is quite a departure from the rules of traditional Blackjack, but makes for a fascinating game particularly if you’re also a fan of Hold ’em style poker games. Definitely an online Blackjack variant to seek out if you’re looking for something a little different to stretch your skills and inject some new life into your next session.