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Best of Mark Pilarski
Super Fun 21 does have some tough edges28 November 2005
I was playing a form of blackjack that had a bit of a twist to it when it came to the rules. I don't remember its exact name, but I do remember that a blackjack in diamonds paid two-to-one. Do you know what version of blackjack I was playing? I actually won some money. Ed M.
Seeing that you scored some scratch, Ed, you will most likely appreciate its name, Super Fun 21. Although the object of the game remains the same — beat the dealer's hand by getting as close to 21 as you can without busting — this mutant of blackjack incorporates a number of liberal rules and bonuses not found in conventional blackjack.
Here are some of Super's specifics and rule changes compared against those of commonplace blackjack.
The game is usually played with one deck, but sometimes two.
And finally, that one rule that popped up in your question letting me know exactly what version of blackjack you were referencing: a blackjack in diamonds pays 2-to-1 compared to all other blackjacks that only pay even money — that rule can make for some fun. But Super Fun, Ed? Hmmm.
Being that the casino isn't in the business of giving Ed free money, the kicker(s) are that all non-diamonds blackjacks pay only even money, and the dealer usually hits a soft 17.
For those of you accustomed to a 3-2 payoff for your snappers, expect even-money payoffs on 15 of every 16 blackjacks, as only 1 of those 16 happy blackjacks, on average, will be in diamonds.
As to the dealer hitting a soft 17, this gives the house an edge of 0.94% compared to 0.75% if the dealer were to stand. When two decks are used, and the dealer hits a soft 17, the house edge is 1.16%.
These two house rules give the casino an advantage higher than in most everyday multi-deck blackjack games, even when incorporating perfect basic strategy. Nevertheless, if you get a hoot and a holler out of playing Super Fun 21, and are willing to give up an extra few tenths of the house edge in exchange for finally getting paid for a Five-Card Charlie, go have some fun, Super Fun.
Intriguing item, Donald, and my readers thank you. Actually, things have evolved. There are 39 Catholic churches in the greater Las Vegas area now compared to over 80 casinos. But, that still doesn't change the fact that "Chip Monks" do the collection sorting.
Gambling Wisdom of the Week: "Why is it that the people who come down hardest on luck are usually the ones who've already gotten theirs?" -- The Good Luck Book
Best of Mark Pilarski